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. We never stop believing in them. In many cases, the Villa is their last hope.
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. Villa staff brings expertise from many fields to help them build upon their strengths and thrive in the community.
We have served 57 localities throughout Virginia since 2015, and impact the lives of more than 3,000 children and families 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. We have not closed for a single minute 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. St. Joseph’s remained open during the Civil War, taking in more children and establishing hospitals to care for soldiers on both sides.
In 1898, a bequest by former Union doctor 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 a 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.