The Poughkeepsie Orphan House and Home for the Friendless was dedicated on February 23, 1857. The building had no water except from rain, no blinds, no means of meeting expenses, and a mortgage of $2,000. In June, the ladies held a strawberry festival to finance the blinds, with entertainment provided by the children. Then Matthew Vassar gave $1,000, the first contribution to a permanent endowment. During the first year, 30 children were cared for, 40 the second, and 55 the third.