Maria Swenson used to tell her daughter Ingrid what it was like growing up as an immigrant in New York City in the 1930s. Maria's father was the first member of the family to make the journey from Slovakia to the U.S. He worked in the building trades in order to sponsor his wife and children. Once here, both of Maria's parents worked multiple jobs with long hours, leaving Maria on her own in busy New York at a very young age.
The school Maria attended had a partnership with Children's Aid, and she recalled that as a 6-year-old, we provided her with emotional support, medical and dental care, as well as safe experiences in nature. Maria said that all of this helped her as an adult.
Maria grew into a brave and adventurous woman, always open to new possibilities. Shortly after she graduated from vocational high school with a certificate in secretarial studies, Maria married and traveled to Europe, where her husband was stationed in the military. After his tour ended, she and her husband returned to the U.S. and moved to many different states for his work. Maria embraced life and tackled the challenges and rewards of creating a loving home for her family. She retained her love of nature, especially bird watching, and shared this passion with her children.
Maria eventually started a new life chapter in California with her youngest daughter, Ingrid, who pursued a career in public accounting and investment management. As Ingrid's career developed, she had the opportunity to contribute financially to worthwhile charities. Because Children's Aid had been such a lifesaver in Maria's childhood, both Ingrid and Maria agreed that Children's Aid was deserving of generous support.
During Maria's twilight years, it became apparent that she needed more care. Ingrid answered that call and took an early retirement. When Maria passed away in 2019, Ingrid wanted to honor her mother's strength and resilience, so she decided to make one of the most powerful investments a supporter can make — committing to a legacy gift for Children's Aid. Ingrid shared that she "wants to create a brighter future for the next generation of New Yorkers and their families, just like my mother experienced."
If you were a Children's Aid kid, please tell us your story. We would love to hear from you. If you are interested in the many ways to leave a legacy of support for Children's Aid, contact Danny Stern at 646.459.8408 or giving@ChildrensAidNYC.org today.