The Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation, a private foundation created in 1997, is directed by a board consisting of members of the John E. Andrus family.
John Emory Andrus (1841-1934) was born in Pleasantville, New York, the son of a Methodist minister. He graduated from Wesleyan University and soon moved from teaching school to becoming a successful investor and businessman. In the early 1900s he was elected mayor of Yonkers, New York. He served four terms in the U.S. Congress. A devoted family man with eight children, he founded the Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial in 1923 by establishing the old Dyckman farm in Yonkers as an orphanage, a tribute to his beloved wife who was orphaned as a child.
In 1953, his youngest child, Helen Andrus Benedict (1888-1969), in her capacity as chair of the Surdna Foundation, built the John E. Andrus Memorial, a retirement home for 200 elderly residents on land near the Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial. Helen Benedict and the Surdna Foundation thereby completed her father’s expressed wish that his legacy provide “opportunity for youth and rest for old age.”
The Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation was created in memory of John E. Andrus and enhances the Andrus family’s longstanding commitment to Westchester County, New York. Taking into consideration the family’s roots and charitable activities, the Foundation determined that the Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation would focus its grantmaking on older people living in Westchester County, with a special interest in the City of Yonkers.