TheVillage was founded as The Presbyterian Orphanage in 1877 by a group of concerned Presbyterian women. They responded to the growing number of homeless children in the Philadelphia area by creating an institution that housed orphans and “near orphans.” The orphanage was located in Southwest Philadelphia until 1960, when it moved to the Rosemont estate donated by Samuel Robinson, co-founder and once CEO of Acme Markets. The agency changed its name in 1943 to Presbyterian Children’s Village as it continued to expand the scope of services, continually adapting to meet the changing needs of dependent and/or at-risk children and their families.
By the late 1970s, in response to nationwide trends toward “de-institutionalization” of children’s services, it transformed itself from a conventional orphanage into a treatment center for emotionally-troubled children and hurting families. TheVillage serves a diverse population with a wide range of ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. (See our Programs and Services page for a description of today’s services.)
The Rosemont campus now supports three residential programs. The Preheim Center, which opened in Southwest Philadelphia in 2003, serves as the hub of operations for theVillage’s non-residential programs, including foster care, adoption, after-school programs, parent education, and mental health services. It was named for Loren Preheim, who was executive director of the agency from 1975 to 2007. TheVillage also partners with social service, health, and educational institutions in order to make its services more accessible at a variety of locations.
The Board of Directors voted in 2013 to change the name to theVillage, an outgrowth of an extensive strategic planning effort. Once a specific place with a focused service, over time theVillage has expanded geographically and diversified the ways we serve. Our Rosemont campus remains a village in a more literal sense — a caring, therapeutic place where residents find a safe haven. As we have expanded our services in the Philadelphia region, the notion of ‘village’ has become more metaphorical, but still rings true. We are theVillage in our communities, providing a continuum of services.
Because marketplace awareness is important to our purpose, we have chosen to modernize our name to bring it into alignment with the scope and spirit of who we are today. We reaffirm our faith in the worth of every child and the possibility that we can have a lasting, positive impact. As theVillage, we move forward with a clear purpose and message. TheVillage is a name that respects the past while it welcomes the future. Our tag line adds an important element: Hope in Action since 1877.