Gretchen Buchenholz: Founder & Executive Director, Association to Benefit Children (ABC)

My NativeAdVert:

Gretchen Buchenholz, MA, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Association to Benefit Children (ABC), which was established in 1986 with the immediate goal of alleviating the suffering of New York City’s most vulnerable children and protecting their families from the crushing devastation of hunger and homelessness. A fearless and passionate advocate for change, Gretchen Buchenholz has undertaken numerous vital advocacy campaigns that have altered the national landscape for America’s most marginalized children saving many thousands of lives and achieving broad reforms in education and healthcare policy.  She has been hailed as one of the leading advocates in twentieth century America and has been recognized with multiple prestigious awards including the Thomas Jefferson Award, the first Robin Hood Hero, East Harlem Woman of the Year, one of President George H.W. Bush’s earliest Point of Light Awards, The New York Women's Foundation Celebrating Women Award, Children’s Defense Fund Humanitarian Award, CUNY Award for Human Service, Daily News Woman of the Year, and the Morton Deutsch Award for Social Justice.   

My Goal of the Day: Kindle the light in every child.

My Thought of the Day: Each child is a universe.

My Action of the Day: Signing the lease on the new East Harlem headquarters for ABC’s Family Preservation Program, All Children’s House.

My Deed of the Day: On the first Tuesday of every November I vote

My Tip of the Day: One person, with enough passion and grit, can make all the difference…imagine if it were all of us!

My Pic of the Day:

(Photo Credit: My Daughter Nicole Buchenholz)

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The diversity, the energy, the spirit, the promise, and the probability that around any corner there will be something amazing.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Two eggs over easy with sausage or bacon, avocado (as an antidote), OJ and coffee, a lightly toasted English Muffin with butter and marmalade at my local coffeeshop, The Mansion Diner, shared with a friend.  

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Hitting the snooze alarm to get an extra ten.

10:00 AM – On any given day, at 10:00 AM, I might be enjoying ABC’s children flying high on swings at Jefferson Park, or Carl Schurz, or Marcus Garvey; or I might be on the 4 train, way up on the El, above the South Bronx, heading to ABC’s Fast Break or All Children’s House, or on the Q heading to City Hall or Wall Street, or to the U.N. or walking from Echo Park to the ER at Harlem Hospital to visit a child, or up five flights of stairs to see the beautiful new baby of a migrant family who lives tripled up with two other families in a two-bedroom apartment. I love 10:00 AM.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Lunch with our preschoolers in the Penguin Room at ABC’s Cassidy’s Place or Dinosaur Room at the Graham School, two of ABC’s five early childhood programs. If I’m lucky they’re having pasta with Bolognese sauce, spinach and a salad.  If I skip lunch I share a snack in the garden of ABC’s Merricat’s Castle School.

7:00 PM – Enjoy the collegiality of an evening with fellow “social entrepreneurs” for the camaraderie, courage and creativity shared.

11:00 PM – Finally finished with all emails (I hope) and unwinding, half watching MSNBC, Blue Bloods if I can find a rerun, and reading the Times  - all at once.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

After my cup of coffee, very light and very sweet, at breakfast I drink lots and lots of water.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

My camera app is used most and my favorite Instagram account is ABC’s (@assoctobenefit).

What should everyone try at least once?

Taking a stand on behalf of the voiceless, the most vulnerable, even when you might be going up against friends and allies.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Anywhere in the City on foot or using public transportation.