We are devoted to our mission because so much is gained by sharing in the lives of special needs children.

Cradle Beach Visit



The Children’s Guild Foundation is a non-profit organization which operates as a private operating foundation with a mission to advocate and fund rehabilitative healthcare, research, education and therapeutic recreation programs for special needs children.




To support and advocate for health care, research, education and therapeutic recreation for children with special needs.

To be a catalyst of demonstrable change for children with special needs and their families by funding opportunities that will allow them to achieve their highest potential.

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In the summer of 1909, a small group of women gathered to open a private summer retreat for disabled children in Fort Erie.  This group of women were innovators, risk-takers, advocates, but most of all, they cared about the current conditions under which handicapped children lived, so they set out to make a difference.

It was January of 1910 when the group purchased their first home at 127 College Street for seven children, and only a year later when they bought their second home at 487 Niagara Street for fifteen children. As the years went by, their numbers grew to forty, and when Polio hit from 1916 to 1938, the community turned to The Guild for their help and guidance in dealing with this devastating disease. Buffalo News Founder, E.H. Butler Sr, gave a gift of $5,000 to The Guild that allowed for house renovations and expansion. Nine years after inception, The Guild had grown in stature and reputation.

The Guild was self-supporting and operating as an inpatient facility by 1935, with medical personnel and social workers renowned regionally and nationally. They affiliated themselves with The Joint Charities and Community Fund for assistance with financing their home and through a generous donation, The Guild was able to expand yet again to the corner of Delaware and Hodge Avenues. They completed construction on a one hundred vacancy home in only three years.

For the next twenty years, an array of diseases sifted their way through the Guild's corridor and were being addressed by the staff. When the Salk vaccine came to air in 1958 preventing further spread of Polio, the Guild foresaw the change in health care delivery and began to revamp their mission; they would become the first U.S. Outpatient Rehabilitation Center!

A partnership between The Children's Hospital of Buffalo and The Guild formed in 1959 when they began to provide medical and direct professional services while The Guild provided the building, it's maintenance, and substantial financial support. Over the years, The Robert Warner Rehabilitation Center expanded and the Speech, Language & Hearing Center and Robert E. Cooke Genetics Division took up residence in The Guild Building along with several Early Childhood and Family Services programs. When the turn of the century came, The Guild also provided funding to additional non-profits in the areas of healthcare, education, recreation and research through grant programs. They had come full circle and, in the process, changed the lives of many children and society’s way of dealing with disabling conditions.

In 2004, The Guild found an opportunity to once again improve conditions and the delivery of services for special needs children by operating solely as a Foundation dedicated to serving the community through advocation and support. To complete this maturation, The Guild officially changed their name to The Children's Guild Foundation, and their real estate at 936 Delaware Avenue went up for sale. This change in the funding model and focus on the mission led to the propagation of funds as grant awards to non-profit organizations serving this special group of children.

The Children's Guild Building was sold in 2006, and the programs moved to locations within the Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo and The Kaleida Health System. Proceeds from the sale of their building were added to the endowment, providing additional funding for programs and services. Over the last 20 years, The Children's Guild Foundation has contributed over $20 million to programs, services and research projects focused on improving the lives of children with special needs.

The story of The Children’s Guild Foundation, although entrenched deeply in our community’s heritage, is by no means complete. Our focus has been constant, a commitment to children with special needs through support and opportunities, so they may achieve their full potential. We remain devoted to our mission and the premise that the success of tomorrow depends on the preparedness we are making today.

As we embark on our 103rd year of service in Western New York, it is our goal to increase public awareness and bring forth knowledge of the challenges faced by this group of individuals, and the successes they achieve. We hope to better educate and engage our community so that they may embrace these children and continue the spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy. The Children's Guild Foundation enters this next century with plans for greater involvement, expanded services and programs, and a renewed commitment to this special group of children.

Our commitment continues...


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Chair - Colleen P. Fahey

Vice Chair - Renee A. Filip

Secretary - Margaret M. Zak

Treasurer - John H. Edholm, Jr.

Directors -
James A. Bourne
Daniel K. Comerford
Geoffrey R. Fenn
Susan G. Koessler
William J. Loecher
Wendy T. Stahlka
Sarah L. Tasker

Directors Emeritus -
Penny M. Munschauer
Robert J. Truesdell

President - Catherine A. Gura

Catherine Gura

Email: cgura{at}thechildrensguild.org
Office : 716-362-9650 ext. 201


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Aspire of WNY
Autism Services, Inc.
Bornhava Adaptive Physical Education Program
Buffalo Hearing & Speech
Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center
Camp Special Place, Town of Tonawanda
Cantalician Center for Learning
Cattaraugus Rehabilitation Center - Mental Health Coordination Program
Centaur Stride
Center for Hospice & Palliative Care (New Perinatal Service)
Child & Family Services
Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled
Cradle Beach Camp
E. Ann Yeh, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Co-Director, Pediatric MS and Demyelinating Disorders Clinic
Disability Education Forum of NY
Early Childhood Direction Center
Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted, MD Center for the Visually Impaired
Employment and Disability Institute
Excalibur Leisure Skill Center (Program Operational Support)
Greater Niagara Frontier Council Boy Scouts of America
Hauptman – Woodward - Medical Research Institute, Inc.
High Hurdles Therapeutic Riding Program
Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center (Scholarship Support)
Medaille College - Library Technology Program
Mental Health Assoc. of Erie County
Mid-Erie Counseling and Treatment Services Therapeutic Recreation Program
Moving Miracles Dance
New Directions Youth & Family Services
Olmsted for Sight
Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity
Parent’s Anonymous Recreational Activity Program
People, Inc. and Buffalo Public School District
Robert Warner Rehab Center Adolescent Summer Adolescent Program
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
St. Amelia Special Education Program
School 84
Sister’s of Charity Hospital of Buffalo, NY
Spina Bifida Association of Western New York
St Bonaventure University
Summit Educational Resources
SUNYAB School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
The ARC of Orleans County Camp Rainbow
The Center for Sports Therapy Research, Inc.
The Children’s Guild Foundation Autism Spectrum Disorder Center of Excellence
The Hunter James Kelly Research Institute
The Parent Network of Western New York
The Rehabilitation Foundation
The Robert Guthrie Biochemical Genetics Laboratory.
The University of Chicago - Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo
University of Buffalo Center for Children & Families
University of Buffalo School of Engineering -Disabled Interactive Coordination Sensory Opportunities System (DISCO)
University of Buffalo School of Research & Biomedical Sciences
Upstate New York Transplant Services - AUTISM TISSUE PROGRAM
Westminster Early Childhood Program
Wild Spirit Education, Inc.
Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo/Kaleida Health
Young Audiences of Western New York


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