Mission & History

Mission of The Havens Relief Fund Society

To support the self determination of at-risk New York City individuals and families by engaging a network of volunteer community leaders and professionals to make modest one-time grants designed to address a personal financial crisis, improve quality of life, or increase opportunities. 

History of The Havens Relief Fund Society

The Havens Relief Fund Portrait of Charles HavenSociety was founded in 1871 by Charles Gerard Havens, who was born in Suffolk County, Long Island, in 1808. At age 14, he moved to New York City, finding work as a clerk in a real estate office. Later he became a lawyer, investing wisely in real estate.

Mr. Havens believed that the vicissitudes of life could temporarily derail almost anyone of limited means, and that a modest grant at the right time might help set things right. To test his theory, he gave sums of money to five of his trusted business associates, asking them to be on the lookout for people who were on the precipice of a financial catastrophe that could be solved with a one-time grant. They carried out his wishes with enthusiasm and success.