History

Prepared by Robert B. Immordino

1951 to 1980
To accommodate the growing needs of the YMCA and Family Service Association, the Board of Trustees in 1950 funded extensive modernization and renovations of Dorothea's House. The subsequent construction of the Princeton Italian-American Sportsmen's Club soon became the focal point for Princeton Italian-American community activities. However a number of Italian-American lodges and clubs continued to meet at Dorothea's House, and continue to do so today.

Under Frank Clark's dynamic leadership, many early YMCA programs originated at Dorothea's House, along with continuing expansion of the Y's youth work. The Dorothea's House Board of Trustees provided critically needed funds to help purchase land where the proposed YMCA building was to be constructed. Dorothea's House also provided office space for the YMCA Building Fund's campaign. Additionally, Dorothea's House made a generous contribution to the building fund.

In 1974, with the new YMCA functioning well, and its use of Dorothea's House declining, the Board of Trustees decided to gradually reduce its annual contributions to the YMCA in order to meet its own financial obligations. Eight years later, the annual contributions were discontinued. In over 40 years of its association with the YMCA, the Dorothea's House Board of Trustees provided significant direct financial support, and exclusive use of space at Dorothea's House.

Over the years, the Board of Trustees has also made financial contributions to a variety of Princeton organizations and institutions falling within the purview of the Dorothea van Dyke McLean Association. The largest single contribution was made in 1964 to the Princeton Hospital expansion project to purchase a conference and library room in the hospital's radiology department. A plaque that states "In memory of Dorothea van Dyke McLane" was erected in the room.

In October, 1962, the Board of Trustees considered and approved a suggestion for a scholarship program. Two Princeton High School students, Mario Venta, and Nick Borelli, were selected as the first recipients after the Trustees consulted with the high school. Mr. Venta went on to attend Rider College, and Mr. Borelli attended Rutgers University.

A year later, the Board of Trustees formally established an annual scholarship program. Among the first three students awarded the scholarship that year was Anthony Cifelli, who, 21 years later, became a member of the Board of Trustees, and in 1989, became the vice president of the board.

From 1963 to 1989, 224 scholarships have been awarded to high school students. The highly succesful scholarship program is another example of the determination of the Dorothea's House Board of Trustees to continue implementing the function of the Association through changing conditions and needs.

In 1969, the Board established an annual Dorothea van Dyke McLane Award to be presented to a Princeton High School student for proficiency in the study of the Italian language.