Our volunteers make our mission of bringing resources, education, and connection to emerging neighborhoods possible.
In 1907, Alice Graham Baker hosted a meeting of twelve influential, like-minded women to address the living conditions of families in Houston’s Second Ward (today’s East End).
What grew out of that meeting was the Houston Settlement Association, which later became BakerRipley. They moved forward with the foundational purpose to provide Houston’s underserved population a welcoming place for education, career and social aid so that they could build a better life. Alice knew that social mobility is the foundation for societal vitality and growth.
"During the Depression, the best meal of the day for us kids was always at Rusk. Sometimes it was the only meal of the day." - Felix Fraga
In 1934 Mrs. Alice Baker Jones, daughter of Alice Graham Baker, stepped up to co-chair a new settlement project--the development of Friendship House. During the Depression, many men were out of work and had empty hours to fill. Friendship House offered a cadre of activities that appealed to different age groups and members of the family.
Later, prominent Houston philanthropist, Edith Ripley honored the memory of her late husband, Daniel Ripley, by forming the Ripley Foundation and establishing a generous endowment to benefit women and children in Houston.
"The quality of the care given children in the Houston-Harris County Community by the Day Care Association is unquestioned. The Day Care Association of Houston is a source of enthusiastic pride for all of us concerned with the welfare of children." --Barbara Jordan, Houston Day Care Association Board Member
Born and raised in Houston's Third Ward, Barbara Jordan was an African-American attorney who was hired as an aide to Harris County Judge Bill Elliott. Jordan was a pioneer of civil rights and the rights of women. She served on the board of the Day Care Association before eventually being elected as a Texas State Senator and later as a United States Representative.
In 2017, to honor Alice and Edith’s legacies, Neighborhood Centers was renamed BakerRipley.
What started as a single house that offered food, child care, economic support, and basic necessities for aspiring working-class citizens has grown into expansive organization serving more than 600,000 people per year.
Today, we are focused on developing generationally-thriving communities by deploying a holistic, “wrap-around” approach at 60 community centers across the region.
Our strengths-based ideology has guided us as we build on a community’s existing strengths to create programs and services that continue to empower our Houston Neighbors and allow our region to thrive. So much has changed over the last 100 years, but our foundational belief remains the same: social mobility creates the greatest opportunity to change lives and, by extension, make our Houston region a healthier, more robust home for all of us.