Noel Hankin, New York Urban League
This has been an extremely difficult year for many New Yorkers – especially those who are unemployed. But the pain is unevenly distributed. For example, African American males have an unemployment rate of 19.0% vs. 8.9% for white males (Bureau of Labor Statistics.) For Black males, this is an enormous tragedy that destroys families, weakens communities and creates a sense of hopelessness.
That’s the reason the NYUL board and staff work so hard and give of their time freely to help insure the success of our fundraisers. The funds we raise help fuel our education and employment programs. These programs are specially designed to help those who need assistance to take the next step up.
However, as bad as things are right now, it was a lot worse before the Urban League was founded in the early part of the 20th century. Many African Americans who fled the growing violence and discrimination in the Jim Crow South moved north to places like NYC where they could only find work in despicable, unsafe sweatshops and factories.
The conditions were so horrific that in 1907 the President of Schieffelin & Co. (now known as Moët Hennessy USA), William Jay Schieffelin, formed an organization called the Committee for Improving the Industrial Conditions of Negroes in New York City (CIICCNNY). Schieffelin chaired that organization, worked closely with a philanthropist named Ruth Standish Baldwin and hired Dr. George Edmund Haynes who desired to see the organization’s good work expanded to other parts of the country.
A few years later, in 1910, CIICCNNY merged with two other similar organizations to form the National League on Urban Conditions among Negroes (ULCAN). Dr. George Edmund Haynes became the new organization’s first Executive Director. In 1911, the organization’s name was officially changed to the National Urban League. In 1919 the New York Urban League was founded.
Today the NYUL is focused on education and employment. Our programs help address long and short-term needs. Many families depend on us to find jobs, to receive scholarships and to learn about ways to advance themselves through financial literacy training, sharpening computer skills, etc. So you can see why our fundraising is so important.
We have made a lot of progress since the early years of the NYUL, but so much is still left to be done. Thank you all for your continued support and contributions.