About Corner House: Mission & History
Through leadership, prevention, treatment, and outreach programs, Corner House promotes the health and well-being of Princeton area young people and their families, as they confront substance abuse and other emotional issues
CORNER HOUSE: THEN AND NOW 1972 – 2015
In the summer of 1972 Nancy Gryzbek and Dr. Shirley Van Ferney opened the doors of Corner House Counseling Center. Situated at the “corner” of Witherspoon and Henry Streets, the agency was started by a group of Princeton residents hoping to find a way to help the youth in their community deal with substance use and abuse issues.
A hybrid from the beginning, Corner House was originally funded by Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, along with a treatment grant from Mercer County. The Princeton Medical Center, concerned with the rising drug and alcohol problems in Princeton, leased the little corner house to the agency for $1 per year. Conceived of as the Princeton Drug Program, Corner House was so-named because its founding “parents” proposed a “non-defining” name. Most importantly it was to be defined as a “place where caring people-professional[s] and non-professionals [would] offer a variety of services to drug users and their families.” The central intention from the beginning was to build a cooperative network of services.
In 1972-1973 the entire budget for the agency was $32,500. While the town council dealt with the budgetary concerns of the new operation, the Inter-governmental Drug Committee oversaw the program development. That committee eventually transformed into the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance, otherwise known as PADA. As increased funds were required to fuel the growing agency, a core of Princeton residents created the Corner House Foundation, where private monies are raised from the Princeton community through an annual direct mail campaign and spring benefit.
In 2015, Corner House now has a budget of almost $1 million with funding from Princeton, the State of New Jersey, Mercer County, Princeton Regional Schools, private donors, and several area corporations and foundations. The agency is now housed at One Monument Drive.