AboutOur Story


In 1907, Alice Graham Baker hosted a meeting of twelve influential, like-minded women to address the living conditions of families in Houston’s Second Ward (today’s East End).

What grew out of that meeting was the Houston Settlement Association, which later became BakerRipley. They moved forward with the foundational purpose to provide Houston’s underserved population a welcoming place for education, career and social aid so that they could build a better life. Alice knew that social mobility is the foundation for societal vitality and growth.


"During the Depression, the best meal of the day for us kids was always at Rusk. Sometimes it was the only meal of the day." - Felix Fraga

In 1934 Mrs. Alice Baker Jones, daughter of Alice Graham Baker, stepped up to co-chair a new settlement project--the development of Friendship House. During the Depression, many men were out of work and had empty hours to fill. Friendship House offered a cadre of activities that appealed to different age groups and members of the family.


Decades later, prominent Houston philanthropist, Edith Ripley honored the memory of her late husband, Daniel Ripley, by forming the Ripley Foundation and establishing a generous endowment to benefit women and children in Houston.


Following President Roosevelt’s declaration of war, Franklin Harbach became director of the Houston Settlement Association. Over time he positioned the Houston Settlement Association not simply to cope with change, but to act as the catalyst that drove it.

As the neighborhood’s needs changed due to the war, Ripley House offered an activity for every family member almost every day: day care, clubs, recreation, English language classes, crafts, and more.


Following a 1945 polio scare, the Houston Settlement Association joined forces with the Houston Health Department to show health movies in Spanish every Tuesday night. The effort brough audiovisual education to hundreds of people in the neighborhood.

Ripley House also offered preventive medical screenings through a liaison with the Baylor College of Medicine, as well as lectures on diabetes, tuberculosis, and cancer.


Day care was always important to the Houston Settlement Association. At the end of the war when the federal government stopped day care funding, the Houston Settlement Association filled the gap by taking over operations of 20 centers in the city.

A Family Day Home Program developed by the Houston Settlement Association was the first in the nation to offer both on-site day care and group day care in approved home settings.


Born and raised in Houston's Third Ward, Barbara Jordan was an African-American attorney who was hired as an aide to Harris County Judge Bill Elliott. Jordan was a pioneer of civil rights and the rights of women.

She served on the board of the Day Care Association before eventually being elected as a Texas State Senator and later as a United States Representative.


Neighborhood Centers-Day Care Association partnered with Houston Lighting & Power to create SHARE, a unique partnership to assist seniors, people with disabilities, and others with special hardships who could not pay their electric bills.

Houston Lighting & Power customers donated to the fund through their monthly bills, and the electric company matched those funds. By 1988, Houston Lighting & Power had generated $3.3 million for SHARE recipients.


In 1990, Neighborhood Centers, Inc. was awarded the Child Care Management Services contract, the largest of its kind in the nation. Through this Texas Department of Human Services program, federal and state dollars helped eligible families pay for low-cost, quality child care in the setting of their choice.

Parents who qualified were either working, in school, or moving toward self-sufficiency. Through this program, Neighborhood Centers, Inc. administered subsidies for more than 10,000 children in more than 700 private child care facilities every day.


In August 2017, after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston, BakerRipley implemented shelter operations at the NRG Center in response to the request from Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

A mere 8 hours after this request, a core team at BakerRipley came together, planned for, and opened the NRG Center shelter to the public, providing assistance to thousands of residents who were impacted by the storm.


During the Coronavirus Pandemic, BakerRipley worked overtime to help our Neighbors prepare, recover, and adapt in order to build long-term resiliency for our region..

Through educational programs, meal delivery services, drive thru food fairs, PPE distribution, small business support, and other vital services, BakerRipley was able to create pathways of opportunity to empower our Neighbors to achieve their aspirations


On Tuesday, January 24, 2023 an EF-3 tornado touched down in Pasadena and Deer Park, Texas, leaving behind a path of destruction. The tornado downed powerlines, overturned vehicles, and ripped roofs from businesses and homes.

Thousands were left without power for days, and many of those who were affected still need access to basic necessities. BakerRipley Pasadena Campus hosted a Red Cross emergency shelter along with hosted a resource fair, food fair and provided utility and tax preparation assistance. Even after the storms moved out of the area, BakerRipley continued the long and complicated recovery work of restoring our Neighbors and our community.

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