Make the Road New York

Brooklyn, NY   |  http://www.maketheroadny.org

Mission

Make the Road New York builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education and survival services.

Ruling year info

1998

Principal Officer

Jose Lopez

Main address

301 Grove St

Brooklyn, NY 11237 USA

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Formerly known as

Make the Road By Walking

Latin American Integration Center

EIN

11-3344389

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Leadership Development (W70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Adult Literacy

Make the Road New York helps meet the tremendous demand for adult literacy classes in the New York City area. We provide English, computer, citizenship preparation, and Bridge to Health Careers classes to over 1,400 adults annually and work in coalition with other providers across the city and state to secure millions in funding for adult education classes for all New Yorkers.

Over 80% of students who complete our English classes advance at least one level, but we do more than just teach skills: we ground those skills in our students' daily lives. Class themes include attending a parent-teacher conference, requesting repairs from a landlord, and dealing with a difficult boss. Our teachers work closely with staff from MRNY's other departments, referring students to workforce training, legal assistance, and other services when needed.

Population(s) Served

MRNY’s legal department provides high quality, bilingual services to fill the gaps in legal service delivery for low-income immigrant communities in New York City, Hudson Valley, and Long Island (Suffolk and Nassau Counties). Our legal department meets the communities’ priority, essential legal needs by specializing in employment law, public benefits, housing law, healthcare and health insurance access, immigration, public education, and LGBTQ civil rights issues, among others.

We have been providing direct legal services since our inception as an organization in 1997, and have served over 18,500 unique individuals and handled over 26,000 cases in the last five years, steadily increasing our annual reach and impact. We not only directly serve clients, but work to change unjust systems through our growing impact litigation docket, policy design, government agency monitoring, and community education, benefitting millions. For example, we challenged the Trump administration’s DACA termination in 2017, culminating in a win at the Supreme Court in summer 2020.

Population(s) Served

MRNY organizes impactful community-led campaigns that make tangible changes in our people’s lives and sustain broader movements for dignity and justice. We organize in our neighborhoods while helping to lead statewide and national movements for immigration reform, workers rights and more. MRNY’s organizing work is based in vibrant community centers in immigrant neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester. We engage members through committees that meet weekly to work on our key issues areas including housing, environmental justice, workplace justice, public education, TGNCIQ justice, health, and immigrant and civil rights. These meetings, which regularly draw 800-1000 members, strengthen our existing membership, draw in additional community residents, and embody our values of democratic community input and collaborative learning about the problems we face. In this way, we are able to cultivate grassroots leadership that ensures that our campaigns and movements are led by those most impacted.

Our model has been highly effective. Most recently, our campaign to Fund Excluded Workers, which culminated in a 23 day hunger strike, secured a historic $2.1B fund for undocumented workers in the FY21 New York State budget - the first of its kind in the country; we helped secure a historic $2.4B rent relief package in the same budget and multiple eviction moratorium extensions; our years-long campaign to repeal the “Walking While Trans Ban” was successful; and our parent organizers won a historic $500 million investment in Culturally Responsive & Sustaining Curriculum for NYC’s children. In 2020, along with partners in the ICE Out of Courts Coalition, we secured passage of the Protect Our Courts Act to prevent ICE from making arrests in or near state courthouses, as well as the Safer NY Act, a suite of police accountability bills including the landmark repeal of section 50a, which shielded police from transparency. And in 2019, we secured passage of the Green Light Law, which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses in NYS. On a federal level, we continue to fight to defend DACA and win a path to citizenship for as many undocumented immigrants as possible.

Our civic engagement program combines issue organizing with non-partisan voter registration, mobilizing immigrant, Latinx, and African American voters and engaging them in non-partisan issue organizing. In 2020, we made over 100,000 calls to ensure that more than 10,000 completed the Census.

Population(s) Served

MRNY's Youth Power Project reaches 3,000 working class Black and brown youth annually in NYC and on Long Island. We work to create a new generation of leaders to transform our communities and shape the future of our city and state. Our programs give youth the tools to push for transformative change alongside a powerful community of peers and according to their unique, self-directed vision. We have a successful history in local, city, and statewide campaigns. Our youth were instrumental in winning passage of the NYS DREAM Act, providing state college tuition aid for undocumented youth; and the 2020 Safer NY Act for police accountability. YPP youth have helped win city-wide reforms to limit police presence in NYC schools while pushing for our larger goal of police-free schools that support students with quality education and guidance counselors rather than discriminatory policing.

Through YPP’s leadership development and arts programs, as well as our educational programs, our young people develop media literacy, create art to support social justice actions, deepen their political analysis, and develop organizing skills. We are the community implementer of the Bushwick Campus Community School, where we operate the Student Success Center, an innovative college access program with an 85% college acceptance rate. This program is so successful that the city has replicated it at dozens of schools across the five boroughs. Similarly, the restorative justice program that we launched in these schools led to a 50% decrease in suspensions even as suspensions rose elsewhere in the city. This helped prompt the city to make a massive investment in similar programs citywide. We have helped design and open two schools: the Bushwick School for Social Justice (BSSJ), which is located on the Bushwick Campus , and the Pan American International High School (PAIHS), which was the first high school in our area to serve recently arrived immigrants from Latin America.

Population(s) Served

MRNY’s health team serves 8,000+ individuals a year, providing one-on-one assistance with health insurance and food stamp enrollment, hospital bill reduction, health system navigation, nutrition education, and HIV testing referrals. We operate food pantry and distribution programs in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester, serving hundreds of families per week. Through our innovative promotora program, peer counselors help 3,000 people annually sign up for food stamps and cultivate healthy habits. We create jobs and foster thriving communities through our Community Health Worker Training Program, and are one of the few New York City groups that offer bilingual health and safety training for workers in a variety of industries.

Along with our in-depth health services provision, we design and elevate policies that expand access to care and improve health. MRNY leads grassroots advocacy, community education, and litigation to fight for immigrant access to healthcare and public benefits more broadly. We helped advise on the creation of NYC CARE, which improves immigrants’ access to services at Health + Hospital facilities, and advocated to ensure that undocumented immigrants can pre-qualify for emergency Medicaid. Our community-centered approach to health access work has been recognized by city agencies, hospitals, and other providers—we are routinely called upon for advice in delivering services to low-income immigrant communities and in designing new immigrant-serving programs. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have played a critical role in providing real-time feedback to government agencies on conditions on the ground, and helped to fine-tune government relief programs to ensure they were fully accessible to our communities.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Special Achievement Award 2007

Union Square Awards

Community Health Leaders Award 2007

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Union Square Award 1999

Union Square Awards

Reebok Human Rights Award 2003

Reebok Foundation

Frederick Douglass Award 2011

North Star Fund

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goals are to build the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services. We integrate adult and youth education, workforce development, and legal and support services in a holistic approach to improving the lives of low-income, mostly immigrant New Yorkers.

We build on our large and deep connection with the immigrant community to effectively advocate for solutions to the most urgent needs affecting them. Few organizations can be highly successful at both the provision of services and the policy and advocacy needed to effect major changes. MRNY accomplishes these by integrating community organizing and policy innovation with service provision and transformative education. We effectively meet the immediate needs of entire families with services provided by high caliber attorneys, service providers, and teachers. This creates a sense of support and frees people up to participate in campaigns to tackle the broader systemic issues impacting our members. We engage in deep and long-term leadership development - for example, helping young people to get into and stay in college while they also learn to run a campaign to stop abusive policing. Our model of community organizing provides dozens of opportunities each week for members to plan events, facilitate meetings, serve as spokespeople with the media, design and conduct surveys to collect reliable data on a campaign issue, and think strategically about who has the power to fix a problem we seek to fix, and what kind of pressure or incentive we can deploy to motivate that powerful actor to take the action necessary. Finally, having an in-house team of lawyers and advocates who are technically expert and deeply imbedded in and accountable to our membership enables us to run sophisticated and effective campaigns that layer multiple strategies.

Our success lies in the expertise and dedication of our staff, and the member-led approach to our work. Our staff has not only vast experience and qualifications in their fields, but most of them also have the life experience that allows them to relate with our members' issues. Our members, Board of Directors, and staff are all representative of the low-income, communities of color within which we work.

Our teams come with varied capabilities:
MRNY’s Adult Education team is made up of experienced professionals who bring over five years of teaching experience to MRNY, and over half have ten to thirty years of teaching experience. Additionally, the majority has a variety of degrees and certifications in ESL instruction, adult education or secondary education. Our legal department includes 20 attorneys and advocates divided into three specialty teams which together represent approximately 2,500 low-income families every year. Each team also partners closely with our organizers to draft legislation, design policy and provide technical support for our organizing campaigns. MRNY’s in-house legal team partners with our organizers and members to identify the kinds of regulatory and legislative reform that are enforceable and thus concretely impact the lives of our members and all of the low-income or vulnerable communities that overlap with our membership base. Our housing and public benefits team helps families access $10 million annually in unlawfully withheld benefits and wages, and works to halt evictions, protect tenants’ rights to stabilized rents and repairs and connect people to food stamps and other benefits. Our employment and immigration team has collected millions of dollars in unpaid wages, and represents workers in workers compensation, unemployment insurance, discrimination and labor law cases. The team also helps immigrants become citizens when they are eligible and works to stop deportation from tearing families apart. The historic new New York City law to guarantee paid sick days is based on a policy drafted by this team. Our health team connects people to health insurance and care, fights unlawful refusals by insurers to cover treatment and negotiates the elimination or reduction of debilitating hospital bills. We are the leading voice for immigrant New Yorkers in the city and state level health care policy and regulatory debates.

Another demonstration of our capabilities lies within the power of our members. MRNY’s (primarily Latino/a) members pay dues to support the organization, vote to elect our Board of Directors, and must themselves constitute a majority of our Board. Members also lead the organization through direct democracy at our thirteen weekly organizing committee meetings, monthly leadership team meetings and our quarterly membership meetings. Our Board of Directors is very involved in the day-to-day work of our organizing committees, our full membership meetings, and in supervising the work of senior staff.

Consider these highlights from the past 12 months:
After Hurricane Sandy, in Staten Island and Long Island, MRNY helped 2,000 families in crisis with emergency basics, small grants, and a full range of legal services and aid applications support. Since the storm, we have prepared two in-depth studies revealing gaps in Sandy recovery services; helped form a coalition to meet the needs of low income and immigrant communities; and launched the Back Home, Back to Work program to connect impacted workers (more than 620 so far) to good jobs and safety training in mold remediation for thousands of homes. We’re also working with the City to design an unprecedented long-term housing plan for displaced immigrants ineligible for FEMA aid. (Read more in the enclosed card about MRNY’s comprehensive services to Sandy victims like Florencia Olea)

This June, after a four-year campaign led by courageous workers and small business members, New York City is now the largest city in the U.S. to ensure paid sick days for more than one million workers. NYC workers will no longer risk losing their jobs for taking a sick day and all of us will be healthier for it.

We also celebrated two other historic developments for New York workers. Through our car wash campaign, workers won two strikes and the first two union contracts east of Los Angeles. And, after one year organizing through our labor-community-faith campaign, we are proud that New York State has taken action to increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour. Over the next three years, 1.5 million workers will see $2 billion added to their paychecks.

Since DACA took effect last August to give young immigrants new legal protections and work permits, MRNY has trained 2,600 young people and their families and provided full legal services to over 800 DACA applicants. As part of DACA outreach, MRNY also identified and helped hundreds apply for more permanent forms of immigration relief. (Read more about Pamela Dominguez, a DACA recipient and youth volunteer, in the enclosed card.)

In response to MRNY’s campaign, the City passed two new laws this March to stop federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement from using NYC’s criminal justice system to tear apart thousands of families through overly aggressive, indiscriminate deportations. With this move, NYC has saved millions of taxpayer dollars and sent Washington a clear message that tearing apart immigrant families is bad policy.

As a result of our efforts, Suffolk and Nassau Counties issued executive orders to ensure that Long Islanders with limited English proficiency receive interpretation and translation services in their interactions with county government. Suffolk County’s order was issued in November 2012 and Nassau County’s was issued in August 2013.

Financials

Make the Road New York
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Make the Road New York

Board of directors
as of 8/4/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Juan Fernandez

GE Capital


Board co-chair

Gladys Puglia

NYC Administration for Children’s Services

Ben Posel

Posel Design Works

Ana Maria Archila

Make the Road New York

Noemi Campos

No Affiliation

Luz Chacon

No Affiliation

Oona Chatterjee

Make the Road New York

Tannavione Cintron

No Affiliation

Andrew Friedman

Make the Road New York

Claudio Idrovo

No Affiliation

German Jaramillo

ID Studio Theater

Antonio Lopez

No Affiliation

Ng’ethe Maina

Social Justice Leadership

John McMonagle

Glenview Capital Management

Francisca Mujica

No Affiliation

Cesar Palomeque

No Affiliation

Rafael Riofrios

No Affiliation

Barry Rosenstein

JANA Partners LLC

Valeria Ruiz

No Affiliation

Pascacio Sanchez

No Affiliation

Vilma Vallejo

TD Bank and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce