Among the precursors of the Savoy Orders was the military and hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, which originated during the Crusades. The military Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem originated in a leper hospital founded in the twelfth century by crusaders of the Latin Kingdom. Hospitals dependent on the Jerusalem leprosarium were eventually established in other towns in the Holy Land, notably in Acre, and in various countries in Europe particularly in Southern Italy (Capua), Hungary, Switzerland, France (Boigny), and England (Burton Lazars). In keeping with those origins, the Savoy Orders focus particularly on charitable activities in the field of health care.
In keeping with the hospitaller origins of the Savoy Orders, annual grants focus particularly on charitable activities in the field of health care, particularly hospice programs and elderly care. Providence Rest of the Bronx, New York receives annual grants from the Savoy Foundation for the care of the frail and elderly. This institution provides short term rehabilitation and transitional care, long term skilled nursing care and exceptional care for the elderly, focusing on the physical spiritual, psychological and social needs of each resident.
Bethlehem's Paul VI Ephpheta Institute for the Deaf, was founded at the Pope’s request after his visit to the Holy Land in 1964. Supported almost entirely by the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), Ephpheta admits children on the basis of need, not their parents’ ability to pay. Ephpheta is run by the Sisters of Saint Dorothy, a largely Italian community dedicated to spreading the love of Christ through fostering human and Christian development. Although engaged in many types of educational and social work, the sisters have specialized in educating the deaf.
The New York Foundling Hospital's Maria Lucadamo Nursery Center provides top quality care for children, along with support services to help parents in crisis get back on their feet and remain stable. Offering respite and a safe place to bring a child for up to 21 days, while parents respond to short-term crises that could otherwise turn into disaster, the Crisis Nursery is the only city-licensed emergency respite care facility of its kind. Staffed by a team of social workers, doctors, nurses and teachers, the Crisis Nursery creates a loving environment for vulnerable children, with educational activities, playtime and medical care when needed – even toys and clothes are provided. The care and support of the nursery does not end there. The staff helps the families plan for their child’s return home, addressing through aftercare services the causes of the family’s stress to ensure that their first visit to the Crisis Nursery is their only one.
Foundation grants have been made to:
Saint Vincent’s Medical Center - Rudolph W. Giuliani Trauma Center in New York City to help pay for and operate a specially equipped ambulance and to the Cabrini Hospital Hospice Center;
The Catholic Near East Welfare Association for the care of needy children in the Near East, especially deaf Palestinian Children at Paul VI Epheta Institute in Bethlehem;
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital;
Providence Rest Nursing Home for ministering to the sick and elderly.
Guide Dog Foundation-America’s VetDogs Program to meet the needs of disabled veterans by providing guide and service dogs specially trained to provide balance, relieve stress or perform other tasks.
The New York Foundling Hospital - The Maria Lucadamo Nursery Crisis Center to help provide top quality care for children, along with support services to help parents in crisis get back on their feet and remain stable.