Myers Family Donates $1 Million to Benefit JESPY House Aging in Place Program

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From JESPY House:

SOUTH ORANGE – The Myers Family, one of the founding families of JESPY House, recently donated $1 million to the Go Big for JESPY Campaign. Their funds will be earmarked to expand JESPY’s Aging Place Initiative, which includes additional housing, programming, and services. JESPY House provides comprehensive programs and services to over 300 adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) so that they can live independently. JESPY developed its Aging in Place Initiative in 2019 to help its clients, as they age, continue to live in the community they know and love.

The Go Big for JESPY Campaign will develop new residential opportunities for clients including aging in place, affordably-priced, and young adult housing. All of these programs currently have waiting lists. JESPY will also expand and enhance its program and service space, including recreational, health and wellness, technology, clinical, and work readiness. The significance of the gift highlights the importance of the Go Big Campaign to the Myers Family. The Myers’s $1 million donation will be matched by the Cooperman Family’s $13.25 million pledge made earlier this year. JESPY continues to seek donations to achieve this important goal.

“Through our donation, we are proud to support JESPY’s Go Big Campaign and its incredible efforts to create additional residential options and programs to serve the important needs of JESPY’s aging population for many years to come,” shared the Myers Family. “We further hope that our leadership gift will inspire others to recognize the importance of this effort and join in support of JESPY’s bold vision to expand its programs and services for its clients.” 

Helene and Marty Myers (center and right) are shown with their son and JESPY client Steven.

“We are so thankful for the Myers Family’s incredible generosity,” exclaimed Audrey Winkler, JESPY’s Executive Director. “Even decades after founding JESPY House, the Myers remain involved and innovative. Our Aging in Place Initiative is one of our newest programs and the Myers Family understands how critical it is. Some of our clients have been with us for decades. As our clients aged, they needed additional supports to maintain their independence. Adults with IDD can show signs of aging in their 40s and 50s that many of us associate with adults in their 60s and 70s. JESPY had to respond quickly to serve our clients so that they could stay in the community that they call home.”

The Michael Och House – A Center for Aging at JESPY – was built in 2019 specifically for older clients in need of additional support services. “I feel good about the Aging in Place program and my time here at The Michael Och House,” said a resident and long-time JESPY client. “I feel comfortable living here rather than living in my own apartment. I enjoy being around other people and doing my responsibilities around the house, my volunteer job on Mondays, and participating in JESPY’s Day Program.” 

A JESPY aging in place client, Steven participates in a variety of JESPY programs, activities, and services.

JESPY client Debra D. expressed her enthusiasm for the future Aging in Place housing supported by the Myers Family. “I will get the help I need to stay in my new home and be with my friends that I dearly love. I absolutely would be able to grow old with grace and with dignity living in JESPY Aging in Place housing!”

“We need Go Big so that JESPY can continue to provide comprehensive and exceptional services to our clients, which help them live independently,” said Sophia Gershman, JESPY Board Vice President and parent. “After 45 years, we need to address some of our critical infrastructure needs. Some of our buildings are over 100 years old and limit our ability to deliver fully accessible programs and services. Go Big will provide the foundation for JESPY’s sustainable future.”

“Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are living longer,” noted Dr. Ahadi Bugg-Levine, JESPY’s Board President. “Clients and their families are thankful for JESPY’s Aging in Place Initiative because it helps our clients continue to thrive far into their senior years. They no longer have to ask, ‘Where will I be when I am older?’ The Michael Och House first expanded our programming to address the multi-faceted needs of our clients as they age. Now, we have a waiting list for these services. The Myers Family has jumped in once again to help lead the charge to raise funds to support our clients so that they can have vibrant and engaging lives in their senior years. We are so incredibly thankful for the Myers and their tremendous generosity!”

The Myers Family’s $1 million gift will aid in expanding JESPY’s Aging in Place initiative.

About the Myers Family

The Myers Family includes Marty, Helene, Steven, Jonathan, Herb, and Susan Myers as well as six grandchildren. Marty and Helene Myers raised their children Steven, Jonathan, and Herb in New Jersey before retiring to Florida. When founding JESPY House, Helene and Marty wanted to ensure that their son, Steven, and others with IDD could thrive in a safe environment that was supportive, encouraging, and provided opportunities for them to maintain a sense of independence throughout their lives. Committed to JESPY’s sustainability, Helene and Marty later established The Helene Myers JESPY Endowment Fund to support JESPY’s mission and clients well into the future. The Fund is managed by JESPY and is dedicated to ensuring the financial health and stability of JESPY to allow for responsible growth and long-term resilience.

Starting with four clients, JESPY now serves over 300 adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. “We are thrilled with the accomplishments and growth that JESPY has achieved,” expressed Marty and Helene. “We are proud of the many lives JESPY has positively impacted and we hope that JESPY will inspire other communities around the world to follow our successful model.” 

About JESPY House

JESPY House helps more than 300 adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to advance independence in South Orange, New Jersey. JESPY’s comprehensive programs and services include clinical and behavioral health, vocational, day program, recreational, athletics and wellness, case management, daily living, and aging in place. Starting as a Jewish agency, and continuing to uphold Jewish values, JESPY serves clients from all backgrounds who need our services.

For additional information about the Go Big for JESPY Campaign, visit:

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