Today Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood announced its Expanding Access* Meeting Needs Capital Campaign to raise $1.692 million to finance the relocation of UHPP’s Albany health center and administrative offices. Now located on Lark Street, UHPP plans to move to a new location at 855 Central Avenue in order to improve and expand service to the community.
Honorary Campaign Co-Chairs Phoebe Powell Bender and Charles M. Liddle, and Campaign Committee Chair Dr. Mary C. Kahl—all three well known Capital District philanthropists---stood with UHPP President/CEO Patricia McGeown and UHPP Board Chair Geoffrey Moore to announce the public phase of a campaign that has already brought in $1.282 million in individual gifts, pledges and grants.
“Each of us understands the critical role of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood in ensuring that all men and women of reproductive age have access to quality, affordable reproductive health services” stated Liddle. “As a longtime supporter of UHPP, I am delighted to serve as Honorary Co-Chair of this important endeavor. This fall, UHPP will move its Albany offices to 855 Central Avenue where the agency will occupy 18,000 square feet of completely renovated space, increasing our capacity by 50%. The new expanded space will enable UHPP to see more patients and to educate more young people in a comfortable and client-oriented environment.”
Phoebe Powell Bender noted the high rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among young people in the Capital Region, and particularly in the city of Albany. She referred to a study by the Guttmacher Institute showing that while UHPP currently serves over 8, 000 patients in its Albany health center every year, an additional 12,000 women living in Albany are in need of free or low cost contraceptive services. “UHPP must move to an updated, expanded facility, stated Bender, “in order to respond to increasing community needs.”
Christine Pluviose, UHPP Vice President for Patient Services, spoke to the improvements awaiting patients at the new location. According to Pluviose, “the new UHPP Albany health center is designed to let our patients know just how much we value their decision to come to us--their decision to take personal responsibility for addressing their own health care needs. We celebrate each person who comes through our doors and believe the design, comfort, and expanded capacity of our new center will communicate this message.”
According to Pluviose, the new center will allow UHPP to increase the number of family planning visits and the number of screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It will provide clients with spacious, comfortable reception areas and private recovery spaces. The center has substantially increased parking and is located on a bus route which will improve access for patients, staff and volunteers.
Local Albany teens and particularly those high school students who serve as peer educators for UHPP’s S.T.A.R.S. (Seriously Talking About Responsible Sex) program can’t wait to see the new dedicated “Teen Room” at the Central Avenue site, according to UHPP Education Director, Meaghan Carroll. Carroll described how the teens spent several hours at the Lark Street location each week converting the Board room into a comfortable, teen-friendly waiting room for those coming to the agency’s Teen Clinic. “Now the teens will have a space of their own—to decorate, to store tools and resources, and to use for a variety of educational activities. The space will convey, without the need for words, just how much UHPP values and supports the teens that come here.”
Dr. Mary C. Kahl, a past Chair of the UHPP Board of Directors and the author of a book on the agency’s history entitled Controversy and Courage: Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood from 1934 to 2004, noted that the agency has made many moves over its long history, each time looking to grow and adapt to a changing health care environment and ever increasing community need. “Historically, when Planned Parenthood in Albany moved from its original South End center to Lark Street in 1964 - just down the street from here - the effect was transformational. It put Planned Parenthood in the mainstream and dramatically increased our patient base. The move to our current building in 1977 provided more space and allowed us to add more services, but after about 35 years here, once more the demand for services has outgrown our physical plant. “
“This is our 76th year of service in the Capital Region,” stated Kahl. “The success of our mission depends on the active support and involvement of local residents, which we know runs wide and deep in the Capital Region and so we are turning to our supporters—both long time and new—to help us raise the final $400,000.”
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood (UHPP) is a community-based non-profit organization providing advocacy, education and medical services for reproductive health care since 1934. In 2009, over 14,000 patients made 24,975 visits to UHPP health centers located in Albany, Hudson and Troy. UHPP health educators present over 300 education programs reaching over 5,000 youth and young adults. UHPP services are delivered with special concern for the underserved.