Our History

Our History

When a small group of women dedicated to caring for orphaned children opened the Rochester Orphan Asylum in 1837, they could not have imagined that their founding efforts would grow to serve thousands of families and children through more than 100 programs each year.

More than 180 years later, Hillside has grown dramatically in size and reach — from helping a handful of children in a single small building, to bringing hope, assistance and support to thousands of youth and families in diverse neighborhoods and regions throughout much of New York State and Maryland.

Through our pioneering legacy, a culture built on compassion and driven by research, and the sustainable success of our evidence-based programs Hillside remains a leader in the community and our field, developing innovative services and strategic partnerships that change lives and break cycles of poverty by bringing assistance to those in need.

  • 1837: Rochester Female Association for the Relief of Orphans and Destitute Children is founded


Information about those who lived at Hillside prior to the 1960s is housed by the University of Rochester Library system. Use the link below to connect with the reference librarians at the University of Rochester to help in your search.