Our Name

Leake & Watts is Now Rising Ground

For nearly two centuries, we have been about helping our neighbors. The ways in which we help, just like the needs of the people we support have changed over time. We began in 1831 as the Leake and Watts Orphan House and have evolved today to be a vital positive part of the lives of literally thousands of New Yorkers. Our new name is designed to better convey this work and its impact.

As we looked at how to better tell the story of our work — so that we may more readily attract support for our efforts and that those we support may more easily identify our services — we ultimately decided to change our name, logo, and tagline as well as to modify our mission and vision statements and revamp our web site — to effectively rebrand.

We examined the wide range of work we do and asked what is it that unites these very different aspects of this multi-service organization. The notion of “Rising” emerged — a consistent theme of people moving forward and upward in their lives along paths they choose . . . toward goals they have set for themselves. It became even clearer as we thought more about that ours is a message of hope and opportunity and the possibility of positive change. Toward that end, through our work we are providing a foundation — a solid ground from which to move forward, grow, and move forward — skills, concrete assistance, and a network of supports.

There you have it — a solid foundation and this upward trajectory. This is who we are, and it is what we work toward. And it’s time we have a name that reflects this and that we are even clearer in our hopeful message.

And thus our new name — Rising Ground. We are excited about rebranding because we have a great story to tell, and we have not undertaken this change lightly. We remain committed to the work we started in 1831, helping New York’s children, adults, and families to rise above adversity, providing them with the foundations upon which to make positive change possible in their lives.

Alan Mucatel
Executive Director

“Without letting go of our rich and inspiring history, our new name connects to and clearly communicates the underlying positive themes inherent in our work. We offer a solid foundation of support, providing people with the resources, hope, and opportunity to move forward and up as they reach their goals.”

About Rising Ground

Rising Ground, formerly Leake & Watts, is a leading nonprofit human services organization, providing the children, adults, and families in the Greater New York City area with the resources and skills needed to rise above adversity and positively direct their lives.

Rising Ground delivers: innovative educational programs from early childhood through high school; dedicated support that facilitates safe environments for children and helps families thrive; result-focused programs that help youth involved in the juvenile justice system change the trajectory of their lives; caring services that help promote independence for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and pro-active community health initiatives that foster physical and emotional well-being.

Founded as an orphanage in 1831, Rising Ground has been at the forefront of evolving community needs and has become a leader in utilizing result-driven, evidence-based practices. Today, the organization’s work is a positive force in the lives of more than 12,000 individuals annually. The organization was honored as the Gold Winner of the New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards.

FAQs About Our New Name

What is the new name?

Leake & Watts has a new name, Rising Ground. As of April 2018, we will begin using the new name in all marketing, fundraising and client communications as well as all new contracts and documents. While the corporate name has changed, we will retain our tax identification number so our status as a nonprofit organization does not change.

Why was the name changed?

In almost 200 years of service, we’ve changed a lot — we have a broader mission and expanded services to new communities. We need a name that better communicates what we do. We want people to know what we stand for, and to find us easily as they search  for support. Our new name also eliminates some of the issues with the name Leake & Watts.

How did you select the new name?

The new name was chosen after a lengthy process that included interviewing stakeholders — staff, clients, board members and donors — conducting focus groups, and discussions among staff and board members. These interviews and discussions helped us focus in on the core values of our organization and the concepts we want people to associate with our work.

Are there any other organizational changes that come with the new name?

No. We are not changing the organizational structure or the way we do our work as a result of the new name.

Has the mission or values of the organization changed?

While the essence of what we do and why we do it has not changed, we have updated some of our language to better describe what we currently do. Just as the name will make it easier for people to understand what we do, new messages better convey our purpose and make it easier for people to tell others about our work. Our new brand messages include: Mission that describes our overall work. Vision we hope to achieve for those we support. Boilerplate for use in written materials. Elevator speech so you can easily explain what Rising Ground does. We also have a new logo that conveys our new identity.

How are you honoring your history and heritage?

Our history and our heritage are the foundation of the services we offer today. Our almost two centuries of commitment to the community is a hallmark of our agency. As time passed though, people weren’t sure who our founders, John George Leake & John Watts, Jr. were. Our new name, logo and messages clarify our place in the community and make our organization easier to find and remember. Honoring our past, our new website has a section that showcases our extensive 187-year history, our tagline reflects our founding date, and we have named our campus and two programs after Leake and Watts.

Success Stories

Rising Ground helps children, adults, and families rise above adversity. Meet the people we have helped.

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