Programs & Activities
The work of the New York Urban League is guided by our vision that every American child is ready for college, work and life; every American has access to jobs with a living wage and good benefits; and every American has an equal right and responsibility to fully participate in our democracy and civic processes, and all people have a right to justice and fairness.
To make this vision a reality, we take action in the following areas:
The African American achievement gap makes the path the college less likely in underserved communities.
The African American achievement gap is one of the most important challenges our community faces today, and we need to disrupt it.
OUR COMMITMENT: Every American child is ready for college, work and life.
OUR STRATEGY: Implement a suite of programming, activities and relationships in school and communities that will prepare New York City children for college, work and a productive adulthood.
NYUL programs and events are often the first chance to prepare for college for many high school students who attend our after school programming, College Tours or our HBCU College Fair.
Through the Project Ready program, NYUL provides comprehensive academic and social emotional services to more than 150 public middle and high school students. Our education staff work with students on building the skills that are vital to graduate high school and be ready to succeed in college, as well as to begin learning about and considering potential career choices. Project Ready offers a comprehensive approach to addressing the academic and personal needs of middle to high school students in underserved communities. The program integrates one-on-one and group program modules where students are connected to positive role models who support them in addressing academic as well as social and emotional development needs and offer college & career culture awareness.
HBCU Fair and Workshops
NYUL has hosted the HBCU Fair for 35 years. At the fair, high school students and their parents or guardians meet college recruiters and attend workshops on financial aid, scholarships, the college admissions process and college campus life. In 2019 (our last pre-COVID fair) there were nearly 5,000 in attendance, with 1,513 getting onsite college admissions, 2,358 having their application fees waived, and 489 receiving scholarships, totaling $2,534,000. (2020 HBCU Fair was virtual).
Whitney M. Young, Jr Scholarship Program & Mentoring Program
Each year, NYUL awards cash scholarships of $1,500 - $3,500 to 10 to 15 exceptional high school seniors. Scholarship recipients are also matched with NYUL Young Professionals who serve as mentors throughout the young person’s entire college experience. Since the development of the scholarship, NYUL has awarded and leveraged a total over $20 million to 4,000 African American and LatinX youth.
The digital divide is only worsening job conditions in the communities we serve. Available jobs tend to be basic work that don’t ladder up to a worthwhile career.
OUR COMMITMENT: Every American has access to jobs with a living wage and good benefit.
OUR STRATEGY: Address the employment disparities that Black and LatinX New Yorkers face by providing vital services and resources that connect employers and job seekers to ensure all New Yorkers have access to jobs with a living wage and good benefits
Employment and economic mobility must be about providing people with the resources and supports that will empower them to create their own positions as well as have skills and experiences to qualify for positions within different industries. According to our own State of Black New York report, 50% of job growth since 2010 has been in industries with average annual wages under $40,000. As a result, Black New Yorkers struggle to earn the wages they need to provide for them and their families.
The Diversity & Inclusion Lab
The NYUL Diversity & Inclusion Lab is where Chief Diversity Officers and others collaborate, share best practices, and build a platform of diverse talent which members of the Lab can draw from for their own talent searches. The Lab will leverage NYUL’s long-term relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, our Whitney M. Young, Jr. Scholars, and our Young Professionals to create a fully digitized platform to help match job seekers of color with corporations that are committed to diversity.
The Career Preparation Institute
NYUL provides counseling and referrals to job seekers through services that are designed to help unemployed/ underemployed individuals become job ready and to take advantage of meaningful employment opportunities. Our staff conduct intake sessions with clients to document their needs, interests and job skills. We connect clients to direct service providers as well as assist them with on-line application submissions.
The Small Business SOLUTIONS Center (SBSC)
The Center was designed to respond to the critical needs of Black and LatinX small business owners in NYC who have been negatively affected by COVID-19. Our goal is to provide support services and resources to 100 businesses in Bedford Stuyvesant and Harlem. The primary objectives of the Center are as follows: (1) To provide counseling and coaching/mentoring (2) To develop and expand e-commerce activities (3) To provide financial literacy workshops/training (4) To provide a platform for communicating and exchanging COVID-19 information, resources, and strategies to pivot and grow (5) To help meet the capital needs of Black businesses by providing loans and grants.
Consortium for Worker Education (CWE)
The Consortium for Worker Education (CWE) supports NYUL’s work with New York City residents ages 18+ who are unemployed or underemployed. Individuals enrolled in the program receive job and career readiness services (resume reviews, mock interviewing, financial literacy, among other services) to support them in securing and maintaining employment with a wage of at least $15.00 per hour at a minimum of 20 hours per week.
The Mastercard Upskill program serves New York City Residents 18+ who are incumbent or low wage workers specifically interested in upskilling within the health care field. Through a partnership with Hostos Community College, participants can take part in health care certificate trainings such as: MMA, CNA, and PCT and are placed in jobs earning a minimum of $45,000 a year. NYUL provides support services to ensure that participants meet the employment retention goal of one year. This program is funded by the National Urban League and Mastercard.
The NIKE Re-Entry program serves New York City Residents ages 18+ who have been involved with the legal system (incarceration, probation, parole, among other court-involved issues). Participants receive job and career readiness skills training such as resume writing and review, public speaking and interviewing, financial literacy, among other supports) to prepare them for the workforce earning at least $15.00 per hour at a minimum of 20 hours per week. This grant is funded by the National Urban League and Nike, Inc.
The powers that be aren’t held accountable for the health of a community if no one’s going to bat for the people in said community.
OUR COMMITMENT: Every American has an equal right and responsibility to fully participate in our democracy and access justice and fairness
OUR STRATEGY: Engage local elected officials, legislatures, public offices and community stakeholder to advance policy and initiatives that ensure all New Yorkers have an equal right and responsibility to fully participate in our democracy and civic process.
NYUL engages members to develop a collective voice to influence public policy to improve economic outcomes in Black, LatinX and underserved neighborhood. The New York Urban League’s State of Black New York, featuring an equality index of how Black New Yorkers are faring in education, employment, housing, health care, criminal justice and civic participation, provides a blueprint for our advocacy agenda. Our advocacy efforts focus on criminal justice and educational equity.
In 2020 following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the NYUL CEO was asked to Co-Chair the NYPD Reform and Reimagine Task Force looking at policing, along with Jennifer Jones Austin of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and Wes Moore of Robin Hood Foundation. Working with key community stakeholders, NYPD and the Mayor’s Office they developed a set of recommendations that were accepted by the City Council and Governor Cuomo. Since that time, our CEO has been appointed to the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). CCRB is the largest oversight agency of police in the country. It is empowered to receive, investigate, mediate, hear, make findings, and recommend action on complaints against New York City police officers alleged to have used excessive or unnecessary force.
The New York Urban League has worked to advance an educational policy agenda that includes a diverse teacher workforce, high academic attainment including advanced placement options resulting from support for and focus on excellence for all students; and culturally enriching and engaging curricula that brings the world of work to life. NYUL has worked in statewide partnership with Urban Leagues from Westchester and Broome Counties, Rochester, Long Island and Buffalo. We will also continue to provide direct training and engagement for parents, community members and others who care deeply about education. These trained community members will also be able to lend their voice to letters, op-eds and other thought leadership as we work to move the needle on issues around access, equity, data and outcomes.
Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund (CCNSF)
Capacity Building is conducted via the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund (CCNSF), which is a partnership among NYUL and local nonprofits and affinity groups to provide awards to Black, Latino, and Asian led community-based organizations throughout New York City’s five boroughs.
The New York Urban League is in its 5th year of co-administering the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund (CCNSF), providing awards to nonprofits.
Annually, 28 organizations receive training and grants ranging from $25,000 to $45,000. Total grant dollars given annually is $1,100,000.
In six years of operating program, $5,000,000 has been distributed to 180 non-profit organizations in NYC.
$3.7 million has been allocated to CCNSF from the NY City Council
The New York Urban League created the Young Professionals 15 years ago to promote and support the agency’s mission by training the next generation of civic and business leaders through volunteer opportunities, personal and professional development, and fund development. Today, the over 200-member Young Professionals group provides approximately 15,000 hours of community service to the five boroughs of New York City every year. The group routinely conducts community-wide voter registration drives through NYC, engages in dialogues with legislators, and presents its signature State of Young Black New York forum. Young Professionals also provide Financial aide application assistance to high school students and often volunteer stepping when there is an emergency by providing food or other types of assistance.