History

During hard times, New Yorkers don't back down.

We roll up our sleeves and get to work. Confronted with economic downturn, we look for ways to make life better.

That's what Citizens Committee New York City stands for—and it's the very reason we exist.

In the 1970s, when New York City was facing massive cutbacks and citywide poverty, U.S. Senator Jacob Javits and Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Osborn Elliott decided to give New Yorkers a tangible way to improve their neighborhoods and build community.

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So began four decades of reinventing New York City neighborhoods through resident-led initiative and engagement. During the city’s ups and downs, Citizens Committee has remained true to its mission: to help New Yorkers—especially those in low-income communities—come together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.

Today, this spirit of local engagement still drives our work. We've seen neighbors start block associations and compile cookbooks. We've watched them harvest vegetables alongside neighborhood children, teaching them about science and nutrition at the same time. The more we grow, the wider our reach, and the more we can enable New Yorkers to better their communities.