Jean Papaj
Director of Communications & Marketing / 215-386-2984

Ralston Center Hosts 200th Anniversary Tea

Organization created by women for women recognized by Pennsylvania state and local officials

Philadelphia, Pa., January 10, 2017 – Earlier today, Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey’s office and Philadelphia Councilman-at-Large David Oh joined other public officials, partner organizations and community members for high tea to kick off Ralston Center’s 200th anniversary year.

The event program featured Theresa Snyder Ph.D., author of a dissertation on “Old Age Homes in Philadelphia.” Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Hardie Williams and Philadelphia Councilman-at-Large David Oh presented Ralston Center with a Senate Proclamation and Philadelphia City Council Resolution, respectively, as a sign of Ralston’s commitment to improve the health and quality of life for older adults in Philadelphia. In addition, Pennsylvania State Representative James R. Roebuck, Jr.; Imani R. Johnson of Senator Pat Toomey’s office; Crystal Tann-Roberts of Philadelphia Councilman Curtis Jones’ office; Fred Hess of Philadelphia Councilman-at-Large Al Taubenberger’s office; Glenn Bryan, City of Philadelphia’s President of the Board of the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging; and Lydia Hernández Vélez, City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director for Aging.

“For 200 years, we’ve been focused on quality of life in aging, an issue more relevant now than ever before,” said Ralston Center Board President Neville Strumpf, Ph.D., FAAN. “Over time, the needs of older adults have changed, and we’ve changed with them.”

Following the program, Ralston Center unveiled a “timeline wall” marking the storied and robust history of the organization. In addition, Theresa Snyder provided attendees with a guided tour through the historic building, located on Chestnut Street in the heart of West Philadelphia.

“As Pennsylvania’s oldest, non-denominational nonprofit dedicated to the elderly, this is a great day for Ralston Center and for older Philadelphians,” said Ralston Center CEO Joseph A. Lukach, MSW, MBA, M.Div. “Over the course of our history, Ralston Center has developed countless programs that aid our elders in both comfort and access to much-needed services.”

Founded by Sarah Clarkson Ralston in 1817, Ralston House was built by the Indigent Widows and Single Women’s Society to provide a home for aging women who had fallen on hard times. Today, Ralston House serves as the headquarters for Ralston Center, providing space for Ralston Wellness programs.

For more information about Ralston Center, go to


About Ralston Center

Ralston Center is the nation’s oldest, nonprofit non-denominational organization, offering services to help people age in their community since 1817. Ralston Center’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life for older adults in Philadelphia. Our programs include Ralston My Way; Ralston’s Age-Friendly West Philadelphia Initiative; Wellness classes with fitness, social  programs; Joseph J. Hill Ralston Mercy-Douglass House, a 55-unit independent living apartment building for seniors developed in partnership with the HUD 202 Supportive Housing Program; Ralston Awards for Caregivers and Gerontology Student Nursing Excellence. We are located in Ralston House, a historic facility and former residence for elders on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit or call 215-386-2984.