Explore Our History

From our founding 50 years ago, to our many expansions over the years, to the recent COVID 19 crisis, we invite you to explore a timeline of some of the most defining moments and achievements in Raphael House’s history.

Our History

1988
Average Length of Stay for Families Shortened

Average Length of Stay for Families Shortened

  • Due to better city programs and foundations grants, the average length of stay at Raphael House returns to its low of 15 days, down from 26 days a few years prior.
  • All staff, including degreed professionals, continue to work as unpaid volunteers, living at Raphael House as members of Christ the Saviour Brotherhood (previously known as The Holy Order of MANS). 
1989
Adopt-A-Family Holiday Program Introduced

Adopt-A-Family Holiday Program Introduced

  • Raphael House begins a Christmas Adopt-a-Family Program where 100 former resident families receive gifts and necessary items provided by the local community.
  • The Raphael House Thrift Store—which helps fund many of Raphael House’s services—moves to its location on Sutter Street.
1991
Raphael House Becomes a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

Raphael House Becomes a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

  • Raphael House incorporates separately from Christ the Saviour Brotherhood as a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
  • Fr. David Lowell (pictured at right) becomes Executive Director.
1992
Honoring the Life of Ella Rigney

Honoring the Life of Ella Rigney

  • Mrs. Ella Rigney dies peacefully at Raphael House, a few months before her 100th birthday. “A Century of Service” banquet is held at the Grand Hyatt in celebration of her life. 
  • A new community-based Board of Directors is formed with Dr. Francis Rigney, Jr. (retired Chief of Staff at Presbyterian Hospital and son of Ella Rigney) as the Chairman of the Board. 
  • Twenty years after Raphael House opened its doors, staff members receive their first paychecks on July 1, 1991. 
1993
Corporate Chefs Volunteer Program is Created

Corporate Chefs Volunteer Program is Created

  • The Corporate Chefs Program is created. Its function is to generate opportunities for groups of individuals to volunteer at Raphael House by preparing and serving dinner for families. The first corporation to participate is Charles Schwab.
  • Raphael House begins the first comprehensive AfterCare Program (previously known as the Follow-Up Program, and known today known as our Bridge Program) for former residents.
1995
AfterCare Program Expansion

AfterCare Program Expansion

Raphael House expands our AfterCare Program into the building next door, incorporating adult education, expanded computer lab and training, domestic violence support group, and an increase of events and outings for former resident families.

1996
Raphael House Recognized for Its Impact

Raphael House Recognized for Its Impact

Raphael House receives three prestigious awards:

  • The John R. May Award from the San Francisco Foundation for innovation in the face of a pressing social need
  • The Management Center’s Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management
  • The Sara Lee Leadership Award for the impact Raphael House has in creating a supportive model that has shaped the program designs of other shelter and transitional housing programs in the community at large.
1997
Average Length of Family Stay Increases

Average Length of Family Stay Increases

  • Due to the very high rent and move-in costs, families now need to stay four to six months at Raphael House in order to save up to the several thousand dollars needed before signing a lease. 
  • Because many families can no longer afford to live in San Francisco without subsidy of some form, Raphael House begins actively helping families relocate to other communities, within and beyond the Bay Area.
  • AfterSchool Tutoring Program for children increases in size. All school-age children at Raphael House participate. 
  • Raphael House hosts its first annual Gala to support our programs and services.
1999
A New Tutoring Center + Brother Juniper’s Restaurant Closes After 20 Years

A New Tutoring Center + Brother Juniper’s Restaurant Closes After 20 Years

  • The new AfterSchool Tutorial Center opens in November of 1999, providing a bright open area for after school tutoring, art projects, music, and computer training. 
  • Brother Juniper’s Restaurant closes after 20 years as one of the most affordable and popular breakfast spots in town. Although Brother Juniper’s consistently net-profited $20,000, the need to modernize the kitchen makes continued profitability uncertain. 
2000
Plans to Purchase the Building at 1065 Sutter

Plans to Purchase the Building at 1065 Sutter

Raphael House leadership proposes that we purchase our buildings at 1045 & 1065 Sutter Street. A Capital Campaign Committee is created and it commences, under the leadership of Larry Stupski, Doug Engmann and the Board of Directors, the task of raising funds.