The Italian Center opened in 1918 in a Victorian house on South Street. It was created to serve the growing population of Italian immigrants. In 1969, the center bought the 28-acre H.D. Catty Estate on Newfield Avenue. On Columbus Day in 1970, President Richard Nixon flew into Stamford in a helicopter to dedicate the Italian Center of Stamford
The YMCA, on Washington Blvd., has been a landmark in downtown Stamford since 1868. It provided programs and recreational facilities including a large indoor pool as well as low cost rental housing for the community. In October 2007 the YMCA closed. It reopened in April 2010 and the name was changed to The Stamford Family YMCA.
The Boys and Girls Club of Stamford started in 1927. Its current building was constructed in 1991, and a gym was added in 1994. The Boys and Girls Club provides educational and recreational programs to boys and girls aged 6-18. They run many after school programs and a summer camp.
The Yerwood Center is named for Dr. Joyce Yerwood, a black physician and community leader. In 1934 she gathered together African-American young adults to form a chorus. The group grew to become “The Negro Little Theater”, and they performed in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. In the 1940s they got their first permanent home on Main Street, called the Stamford Negro Community Center. This center had a lounge, an office, a snack bar and a barn for dances. In 1950 the chorus changed its name to the Yerwood Chorus, and the community center became West Main StreetCommunity Center. In 1975 the community center moved to the present location, formerly the Steven’s school, and became The Yerwood Center.
In 1916, a social meeting place for Jews was founded in Stamford. Called The Hebrew Institute, it was in existence until 1927. After it closed, in 1930, the Stamford Jewish Community Center opened in a building on Prospect Street. In 1982, it moved to a new building on Newfield Avenue. The JCC serves Stamford’s Jewish community and others with programs, classes and special events for people of all ages. The JCC operates a summer camp, nursery school, child care center, senior center, health club, swimming pool and more. The JCC building also houses the office of the Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien United Jewish Federation (UJF), an umbrella organization for many charities. A small library operated by The Jewish Historical Society of Lower Fairfield County is housed in the JCC building.