St. Joseph’s Villa provides children with special needs and their families the opportunity to succeed through innovative and effective programs.
We serve children and families facing homelessness, autism and developmental disabilities, mental illness, special education needs, and other challenges. Our passion is helping them reach their potential and live fuller, more independent lives. No matter what, we never stop believing in them.
Our wraparound approach to education, therapy and care addresses individual needs, and leads those we serve to recognize that they are valued. Vulnerable children and families grow stronger as they gain skills for long-term success and stability. Villa staff brings expertise from many fields to help them thrive in the community.
We have served 57 localities throughout Virginia since 2015, and impact more than 3,000 lives each year.
St. Joseph’s Villa is the longest continuously operating children’s nonprofit in the United States. We were founded in 1834 by the Daughters of Charity, a religious order of women called to care for Richmond’s orphaned and impoverished children. Our doors have been open 24 hours a day, 365 days a .year since then.
The Daughters of Charity arrived at Rockett’s Landing by steamboat to found St. Joseph’s Academy and Orphan Asylum at Fourth and Marshall Streets. In 1898, a bequest by Dr. Daniel Hopkins Gregg supported the purchase of Hollybrook Farm north of the city to provide the orphans with a summer haven, fresh air and food. The new campus for St. Joseph’s was developed on the Hollybrook property in 1931 when Major James H. Dooley left a bequest of $3 million. The Italianate architecture and home-like setting inspired the name change to St. Joseph’s Villa. As community needs changed, the Villa transitioned from an orphanage to 501(c)(3) nonsectarian nonprofit organization in 1977.
Even as the Villa lived through wars, economic recessions and dramatic social changes, our mission remained steadfast as has our belief in those we serve. Each day we live out the Villa’s founding purpose: to change the lives of most marginalized and underserved members of our community.
The effects of childhood trauma echoed through the years for Caroline. She moved in with her 70-year-old grandmother after enduring neglect by her parents, but had trouble managing her emotions
When we first began planning our new Sarah Dooley Center for Autism, Odell led a series of charrettes with faculty, parents, and public school partners to make sure we got