Skip to content
Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Profiles of MRNY
Type: Pubs & Reports

Make the Road New York Brief Description 2010




Make the Road New York (MRNY) builds the power of working class and Latino communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services. MRNY is the largest participatory immigrant organization in New York City with 7,500 dues-paying members. MRNY promotes access to opportunity through a holistic approach at our three vibrant community centers in the immigrant neighborhoods of Port Richmond, Staten Island; Jackson Heights, Queens; and Bushwick, Brooklyn.

More than 500 people come through the doors each day at Make the Road New York to participate in educational activities, organizing meetings or to receive vital direct services. Community members come for many reasons: to take English classes; to receive legal support to recover illegally withheld wages or prevent illegal eviction; to participate in policy campaign strategy meetings; to prepare college applications; to join a youth documentary film-making session; or to participate in many other activities.

Make the Road New York is a national model for organizations seeking to promote access to justice, having catalyzed $500 million dollars of public investment to promote educational opportunity, safe housing, access to government services, and much more. Make the Road New York is creating a stronger and more equitable society, from the grassroots.

Recent Victories
The effectiveness of this strategy is evidenced by our successes. Recently, Make the Road New York has:

  • Collected over $20 million in previously unpaid wages and benefits for low-wage New Yorkers;
  • Founded two of New York City’s most successful and innovative high schools: the Bushwick School for Social Justice and the Pan American International High School;
  • Won a citywide Executive Order requiring all City agencies to provide comprehensive translation and interpretation services for the two million New Yorkers who are still learning English;
  • Won passage of the Safe Housing Act in New York City, catalyzing a public investment of $50 million dollars over five years in emergency housing repairs and housing code enforcement;
  • Provided high-quality adult education services to thousands of New Yorkers; and
  • Won a major civil rights complaint against multiple pharmacy chains (3000 branches) statewide, which now must provide equal access to medication information and counseling for limited English proficient New Yorkers, and passed City legislation that requires all chain pharmacies in New York City to provide these same services.

Awards: A Model Worthy of Recognition
Widely recognized as a model, Make the Road New York and its staff have received the following awards:

The Reebok Human Rights Award
The Community Health Leader Award of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Cornerstone Award of Jewish Funds for Justice
The Ashoka Fellowship
Three Skadden Fellowships
The Echoing Green Fellowship
The Brick Award of the Do Something Foundation
The Community Fellowship of the Open Society Institute
The Mario Savio Young Activist Award
The Union Square Award
The New York Times Company’s Nonprofit Excellence Awards, Two-Time Semifinalist
The Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World, Finalist