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History
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The Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA) is a leading statewide policy analysis and advocacy organization working to shape policies to improve health, welfare, and human services for all New Yorkers, especially those who are disenfranchised.

Pioneering social reformer Louisa Lee Schuyler started SCAA on May 11, 1872 as the State Charities Aid Association in response to the deplorable conditions she observed in hospitals and almshouses in New York City.

A great granddaughter of both General Philip Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, Schuyler used her social standing and keen organizational skills, honed by her Civil War relief efforts, to enlist New York’s most influential minds to serve on the Board including Theodore Roosevelt, Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles Loring Brace, Professor Theodore Dwight, William Cullen Bryant, Grace Dodge, Joseph H. Choate, Josephine Shaw Lowell, Gertrude Stevens Rice, and Mrs. Hamilton Fish. Some of SCAA’s earliest financial benefactors were women, including Anna Harkness and Margaret Sage.

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Miss Schuyler’s plan was a simple one: to form in each county a committee of citizen volunteers charged with visiting the county poorhouse, detecting and correcting abuses, securing the moral and physical welfare of the “inmates”, and raising institutional standards of care. These citizen volunteers reported to the central association of members representing the most influential policymakers and reformers of the time.

As its name connotes, the State Charities Aid Association’s mission was to promote an active interest in New York State institutions of public charity, and aid the state in the administration of its public charities. It was organized as a nonprofit, nonsectarian, and independent organization and remains so today. In December, 2000, SCAA changed its name to the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, to reflect its expanded mission to analyze and inform public policy and to acknowledge in a permanent way the organization’s indebtedness to Louisa Lee Schuyler for her vision and action.

RESOURCES:

Louisa Lee Schuyler a Pioneering Social Reformer

A Trailblazer article about Louisa Lee Schuyler and SCAA in the Fall 2010 NYS Library newsletter. 

A 40-page Finding Aid for the SCAA archives housed in the Manuscripts and Special Collections unit at the New York State Library.

History of Poverty & Homelessness in New York City website with a description of SCAA’s beginnings and reform impacts.