Concerns about Services at Isaacs Center after Director’s Sudden Departure

Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center/Upper East Site
Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center on East 93rd Street/Upper East Site

MANHATTAN – The large social services non-profit Goddard Riverside is saying sorry and laying out a ‘path forward’ for the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, which it operates, after the sudden departure of its Executive Director Gregory J. Morris— but only after officials demanded answers.

“We are deeply troubled that no advance notice was given to our offices or to the community about this termination,” Council Members Julie Menin and Gale Brewer— who represent the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, respectively— wrote to Goddard in a letter on Tuesday.

“Many constituents reached out to our offices expressing concern about how the termination could affect the services they receive,” they added.

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The Isaacs Center— located inside the New York City Housing Authority’s Isaac Houses and Holmes Towers developments on East 93rd Street in Yorkville— is a Meals on Wheels provider which prepares thousands of meals in its kitchen each week and provides services for more than two thousand seniors in the neighborhood— including those living in public housing. 

The community center also provides social services for teens and adults as well as educational programs for children.

Council Member Ben Kallos and Council Member Elect Julie Menin pass out turkeys/Council Member Kallos' Office
Isaacs Center Director Gregory Morris, second from left, Council Member Ben Kallos and Council Member-Elect Julie Menin pass out turkeys last fall/Council Member Kallos’ Office

“I sincerely apologize for failing to give advance notice to your offices and the related communities about Greg Morris’ departure from his role,” reads a letter sent by Goddard Riverside Executive Director Roderick Jones to the council members and viewed by Upper East Site.

“You can rest assured that Mr. Morris’ departure will not have an impact on meal distribution, after school educational programs, constituent case management and the many other services Isaac Center delivers to the residents of our community that we serve,” Jones adds.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney hands out kits with N95s and Covid rapid tests at the Isaac's Center/Upper East Site
Gregory Morris, second from right, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, staff and volunteers hand out kits with N95s and Covid rapid tests at the Isaac’s Center in February/Upper East Site

“The personnel remain inplace [sic] at Isaac Center that are critical to delivering those services.” 

Mr. Jones goes on to say they’ve already started the search for a replacement, whose will serve in an expanded role within the organization— and he believes Goddard can have the role filled by July 1st.

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“I will work out of the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center several days each week to stay close to the programs and to address any issues that may arise and to provide senior leadership presence during this transition period,” Jones promises.

It’s still not clear exactly when or why Morris, who joined the leadership team of Goddard Riverside after the non-profit took over operations of the Isaac Center last fall, suddenly left his position as Director of Programs. 

Goddard Riverside has not responded to Upper East Site’s inquiries and Mr. Morris could not be reached for comment.

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