1 in 3 New Yorkers don't have enough income and earnings to pay for basic necessities. United Way of New York City wants to change this.

Key Issues

We focus on driving change in five areas affecting our community.​


If children cannot learn to read, how can they read to learn? Research shows that children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are 74% more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers. And in neighborhoods like the South Bronx, as many as 7 out of 10 third grade students haven’t reached this crucial milestone of reading by third grade.

ReadNYC is UWNYC’s response to this crisis. In neighborhoods like Mott Haven and Brownsville, we are enveloping children, families, schools, and community partners with the resources to get children reading on grade-level by third grade, while simultaneously helping their parents establish financial security and a stable home environment.


The 2014 New York City Self-Sufficiency Report shows that a critical driver of a family-supporting wage is education—80% of the people without a high school degree are living below the standard of self-sufficiency. In many of our city’s neighborhoods, students do not have the support they need to graduate high school and become financially secure. In Brownsville, one of New York City’s most challenged neighborhoods, 7 in 10 children cannot read at grade level and more than half of students are not graduating high school—these rates are among the lowest in the city.

EducateNYC is UWNYC’s community schools initiative that brings the supports and services needed to remove barriers and help students succeed in school.


Many obstacles stand in the way of good health for low-income New Yorkers. Affordable fresh fruits and vegetables are often hard to access, and those who live below the poverty line consistently have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Nearly 3 million New Yorkers have regular trouble affording healthy food, and 1.3 million people rely on soup kitchens and food pantries to feed themselves and their families. Consequently, emergency food providers need a steady supply of safe and nutritious food to meet this demand.

FeedNYC is UWNYC’s strategy to strengthen the capacity of emergency food providers to distribute healthy food to underserved neighborhoods in New York City.

Since 1984, UWNYC has served as a local administrator for the New York State Department of Health’s Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP). HPNAP provides funding for 400 food pantries and soup kitchens annually, and offers training and technical assistance to improve program operations and the nutritional quality of distributed food. The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), funded by Congress through FEMA since 1983, provides supplementary funds for food and equipment through UWNYC for existing emergency food providers, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.


4 out of 5 New York City households that live below the Self-Sufficiency Standard have at least one working adult and still cannot cover the basics. Many families can’t even put a meal on the table, with the cost of food rising an average of 59% in NYC since 2000. Too many of our New York City neighbors are struggling to achieve economic security.

WorkNYC is designed to connect families with critical resources essential to self-sufficiency, including benefits access, financial empowerment, and workforce development opportunities. WorkNYC connects New Yorkers to resources for skills training that meet employer demands and place them on career pathways.

Food Support Connections (FSC) is just one of the many ways we are preserving the stability of struggling New Yorkers. This program provides screening, application, and enrollment assistance services for the hardest-to-reach low-income individuals and families across all five boroughs of New York City.


StrengthenNYC is UWNYC’s capacity building strategy, which undergirds and supports all Community Impact initiatives. The capacity-building team provides internal and external resources and expertise so that funded programs not only deliver high-quality results and achieving meaningful outcomes, but the community-based organizations are stable, strong, and well positioned to sustain their efforts.

A key aspect of StrengthenNYC is our BoardServeNYC program, which extends crucial infrastructure support and strategic guidance to fellow nonprofits. BoardServeNYC connects its nonprofit partners with talented and committed individuals who are eager to share their skills and expertise as board members. UWNYC also provides small grants to help cover and defray costs for partner organizations to attend nonprofit sector conferences, allowing staff at all levels to learn best practices in the social and human services sector.

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But here's the good news: People will succeed when they are educated, healthy and financially stable. Together, we can make that happen.

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