in Scholarships Awarded
With a vast history beginning in 1909, Our Foundation has made a dramatic impact in the local Brooklyn Norwegian community, our national diaspora, and globally – bringing future leaders through college through our scholarship fund.
The goal of the Scholarship Fund is to aid the next generation and prepare them to go on to accomplish great things; to give them opportunities that may have been originally and unfortunately taken away from them at some time in their early lives; and to invest in their future.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Norwegian population in New York more than tripled from 11,387 to 37,405. But with greater numbers come more numerous problems, and it soon became apparent that—due to miseries such as illnesses common of the time, injuries, and unfortunate labor-related deaths—there was a growing number of Norwegian children left parentless, destitute, or in some need of a home or family. And this is how the idea came about for an adoption of an association specifically dedicated by Norwegians, for Norwegians.
When the clergymen took notice to the growing problem, they took action and began looking for good homes for the children, but the problem was prevalent throughout New York and not only in the Norwegian population, so there were extensive waiting lists and other obstacles in the way of getting these children in a home. The need for a new solution was becoming evident and the first steps in the founding of what would later become the Norwegian Children’s Home Association, Inc. were taken.
J.T. Tengelsen came to the United States from Norway in 1889, and soon became a prominent druggist in New York City in 1908. When he brought the matter of needy children to the attention of the Norwegian National League in April, it was met with enthusiasm and reciprocal feelings of the need for an addition. A committee was formed, and the first level of financial support was received. Members included: (in alphabetical order) Mrs. Emilie Andersen, Mr. Juell Bie, Mr. A. A. Johnsen, Mr. L. M. Johnsen, Mr. Theo Kartevold, Mr. A. F. Myhr, Mrs. Marie Olsen, Mr. G. A. Roberg, Mr. J. T. Tengelsen, and Mr. G. T. Ueland (Chairman: J.T. Tengelsen, Secretary: A. R. Johnsen, and Treasurer: Mrs. Marie Olsen). And in 1909 The Norwegian Children’s Aid Association of New York was officially created.
The Association first worked on getting the existing Norwegian Children in need accepted into other homes through the generosity and sense of cultural duty of many Norwegian families in New York. Then, on October 19th (now known as Anniversary Day) of 1909, it was unanimously decided that the goal of the organization should be to establish a Children’s Home of its own, and the name of the organization was changed to what it is today; created with the goal, “To establish and maintain a Norwegian Children’s Home for the care and maintenance and rearing of children who through loss of parents or from other causes, are or may become destitute, helpless, or needy, and in other ways to interest itself in promoting the welfare of destitute, helpless or needy children”.
By March of 1912, the first plot of land was purchased on Dubner Street in Dyker Heights, New York. The association continuously received generous donations and the project moved along swiftly. The building was finished and ready to turn into a home in December of 1914. However, events then took a turn when the city of New York reclaimed the land and several other nearby properties to make room for an expansion of a park. The Association was paid restitution for its troubles, but now a new location was needed.
On October the 4th, 1929, the association decided to buy a new plot of land on 84th street between 13th and 14th avenues in Brooklyn, New York. When all of the land was finally purchased, in included over 20 city lots worth of space, which brought the total cost at the time to $32,797.65 and the dream for a children’s home pushed on.
The new building in Brooklyn was completed and turned over to the association on Sunday November 18th, 1932. By this time, the association and the Home were well known throughout the Norwegian community of New York and the new building captivated them all. Throughout the many years after it’s construction, the Home served its purpose beautifully. Constant improvements and additions were made, and at any one time, it was full with children whose lives had been changed forever by the kindness, and the perseverance of the Association. Because after all, the Norwegian Children’s Home was created, developed and supported as a concrete expression of the caring love for children not lucky enough to belong to a family and home of their own.