A family fabric woven with unconditional love
When Governor Hugh Carey of New York sold Covenant House a New York City property for just $1 back in 1979, it was the start of a family commitment to young people overcoming homelessness and survivors of human trafficking that, so far, spans four generations of Carey family members.
Governor Carey’s gift was a leap of faith in the 1970s, a gift made when Covenant House was just beginning to build our mission, consisting at that time of our New York site alone. That site, Covenant House New York, became our flagship in a movement that today reaches youth in 34 cities in six countries. Governor Carey’s gift has impacted countless young lives, but it did not end with him.
“I’m so proud of my grandfather,” says Donald Carey Jr., who has been an active supporter of Covenant House for more than a decade. “As a devout Catholic and faith-centered person, he was drawn to Covenant House to help the sick and the poor and to empower talented people to create a community with lasting impact.”
Donald has carried on his grandfather’s legacy, serving for six years as chair of our associate board of young professionals and joining our Sleep Out movement and spending a night on the pavement in solidarity with our youth a total of 11 times.
“But also,” he quickly adds, “my father, my brother, my wife, and other family members have all been active in supporting Covenant House with donations, service opportunities, and mission work.”
During the COVID pandemic, Donald’s parents, Donald Carey Sr. and Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey of Carey Health Solutions, ensured support and testing for our young people and staff at Covenant House New York. They helped us avoid an outbreak of the deadly illness throughout the past three years.
“It’s a commitment that even flows to my 6-year-old nephews and godsons, Luke and Hugh. This winter they went with me to buy socks, winter clothes, and Christmas gifts, and together we brought them to Covenant House New York for the young people there,” Donald shares.
Family is how Donald thinks about Covenant House. He is especially grateful to outgoing president, Kevin Ryan, who, he says, has woven a “family fabric” into the essence of the Covenant House mission. “Covenant House is one big family, and that is so important because of the young people we serve. They often have to leave difficult situations in their own families, and they get to come and be a part of the Covenant House family,” Donald says.
He appreciates that Kevin has been “a very devoted leader, caretaker, and steward. Being a true leader, Kevin has built a terrific team,” he underscores, “and it is this team, including the new president, Bill Bedrossian, that will continue this work and lead Covenant House forward.
“After a 50-year partnership supporting this mission, the Carey family is incredibly devoted to seeing Covenant House continue its work addressing the youth homelessness crisis that we continue to face in our country and world.”