Urban Upbound Celebrates the 12th Anniversary Success Gala and Fundraiser to Break Cycles of Poverty In Public Housing Neighborhoods

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY – 3 Nov, 2016 – On Wednesday, October 26th at 7pm, Urban Upbound celebrated its 12th Anniversary success gala and fundraiser at the City Winery  on 155 Varick Street.   At the gala, Urban Upbound honored three great clients of the organization – Rajiyah Smalls, Workforce Development client; Stephanie Reis, Financial Fitness client; and Beryl Akuffo, Urban Upbound College Access Student.  Senator Michael Gianaris, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and 300+ other leaders from the government, media, finance, and non-profit sectors were in attendance, and live performances by Best Day Ever, DJ Hot Day, Dr. Bob Lee and DJ Marley Marl.

Urban Upbound Co-Founder and CEO Bishop Mitchell Taylor commented, “Tonight we have come together to celebrate the success of our clients and our collective efforts in strengthening the community to alleviate the pervasive cycle of poverty in public housing neighborhoods so that developments become a place of opportunity and economic prosperity for individuals and families.”  Bishop Taylor continued, “In 2016, Urban Upbound has grown and expanded our impact through new initiatives and programs.  We launched a Youth Career Pathways Initiative to connect thousands of youth adults, ages 14 to 24, to employment, education, financial counseling, and other supports needed to achieve lifelong success.”

“Tonight, we celebrate another year of success, much of which would not be possible without supporters like you, as well as our dedicated staff who fight against poverty every day,” said Ben Lerer, Chairman of Urban Upbound Board of Directors. “Urban Upbound’s programs and services target the 30,000 New Yorkers living in the deepest pockets of the City’s poverty. About 78% of the clients we serve are women, the vast majority of whom are single mothers with children in the household income through employment, reducing debt, or starting a business; building emergency savings to safeguard against financial crisis; or making college a reality through education access.”

“For the seven years I’ve been a part of the City Council, we have allocated well over a million dollars to Urban Upbound,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.  “I am very proud to support the college access program which is so important and I want to thank Bishop Taylor and all of you for supporting this organization. The best is yet to come.”

“It is a pleasure to support Urban Upbound. I love that I represent communities that Urban Upbound serves,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “We honored some great clients and great board members tonight and it is my pleasure to participate in this event.”

Beryl Akuffo, recipient of the Urban Upbound Scholars award, stated, “The college access program has really helped me a lot because it introduced me to the SAT prep, rock climbing and summer internship program. After presenting my internship, Cynthia Davis was kind enough to offer me a yearlong position in The Floating Hospital.  Akuffo continued, “I thank Urban Upbound a lot for the opportunity to receive this award.”

Stephanie Reis, recipient of the Urban Upbound Financial Fitness award, stated, “You’ve empowered me financial and I truly appreciate all that you’ve done. Because of your help I was able to get out of default of my student loans and enroll in Hunter College Social Work Program.”  Reis continued, “In the meantime, I am applying to obtain my credentials to be an alcoholism and substance abuse counselor in order to work with individuals who are currently suffering from addiction. Finding a career prior to graduating is extremely important to me; therefore, I can be financially set for myself and more importantly my beautiful 2 year old song, Major.”

“Our Free Tax Prep Program, which has helped thousands of low-income New Yorkers avoid predatory tax preparation services and receive their refunds in full so that they can get their finances back on track,” stated Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor. “In 2016 alone, we operated 17 sites across Queens and the Bronx, filing returns for 6,858 individuals and returned $10,571,488 to the community.”

About Urban Upbound

Urban Upbound (formerly ERDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding prosperity in public housing neighborhoods so residents and their families have opportunities for economic mobility and self-sufficiency.  Urban Upbound achieves these objectives through five integrated, comprehensive and long-term programs that serve more than 4,500 individuals per year and are anchored by the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union; Employment services, Financial Empowerment services (including one-on-one financial education and counseling, comprehensive public benefits access and tenant advocacy), College Access and Youth Development and the Urban Upbound Merchants Association.

For more information, visit http://www.urbanupbound.org

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Media Contact
Company Name: Urban Upbound
Contact Person: Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor
Email: telisha@urbanupbound.org
Phone: 718.784.0877
Country: United States
Website: http://urbanupbound.org/