New York, NY – FPWA (The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies), New York City’s leading anti-poverty policy and advocacy organization whose work reaches 1.5 million New Yorkers annually, celebrates 100 years of fighting for equity and justice.
Founded in 1922 as an advocate for child-care agencies serving children and families with little to no income, FPWA continues to join forces with New Yorkers, community and faith-based organizations, and community and government leaders to realize a more equitable city for all.
In just the last five years, FPWA’s policy work has informed the city’s Racial Justice Commission and NYPD police reform; effected changes to bring about salary parity, wage equity and career growth for human services workers; increased city funding of human services nonprofits; and ensured greater work opportunities and protections for gig workers. FPWA has also led a major campaign to increase Covid-19 vaccination rates in Black communities throughout New York City and across New York State.
In its 100th year, FPWA remains committed to supporting nonprofits as they care for New Yorkers in need and advocating for transformative change that ensures a solid social safety net and pathways for all to achieve economic prosperity.
“I’m proud of what FPWA has accomplished in its first 100 years on behalf of New Yorkers experiencing economic, health and educational crises,” says Jennifer Jones Austin, FPWA’s CEO & Executive Director. “But our work is far from done. We will continue to elevate the critical conversations centering on poverty, race, gender, and justice, and lead the fight to ensure that all New Yorkers have the resources they need for economic advancement and to live a dignified life.
“For 100 years, FPWA has been on the front lines fighting poverty and inequality in New York and it’s my pleasure to congratulate them on this exciting milestone,” says Governor Kathy Hochul. “Under the leadership of Jennifer Jones Austin, FPWA continues to be a crucial partner to New York State, helping us with vital outreach work around public health and vaccine awareness. I wish FPWA nothing but the best as they continue their extraordinary work.”
“Congratulations to FPWA and their CEO Jennifer Jones Austin on 100 years of combating poverty and injustices on behalf of low-income and minority communities across New York City,” says Mayor Eric Adams. “This city’s grit and resilience was built with the assistance of agencies like FPWA. I look forward to further partnership with this organization in the coming years, and wishing them hundreds more years to come.”
“I extend warm congratulations to FPWA, under the leadership of Jennifer Jones Austin, in celebrating its 100 years of strong advocacy on behalf of New Yorkers in need,” says City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “FPWA’s research, policy recommendations, and coalition-building have resulted in groundbreaking and impactful change for families and communities across New York City. We are grateful for FPWA’s focus and commitment to addressing the root causes of poverty, providing adequate resources to low-income New Yorkers, and transforming our state’s social safety infrastructure. I look forward to working with FPWA in their quest for equity and justice for all New Yorkers.”
FPWA’s north star has always been economic equity and racial justice for all New Yorkers. Among FPWA’s major recent achievements is its 2021 groundbreaking research on the “true cost of living” in New York City, as detailed in their Self-Sufficiency Standard report. New York City’s Racial Justice Commission recognized that a living wage is integral to advancing racial equity and incorporated a self-sufficiency measurement into one of its City Charter ballot proposals, which will be voted upon in the November 2022 election.
Another major achievement is their extensive and actionable recommendations on how to end the criminalization of poverty, as laid out in their 2019 Ending the Poverty to Prison Pipeline report. These recommendations were incorporated into the NYPD’s 2021 Police Reform and Reinvention Plan, which was ratified by the City Council and adopted by New York State.
FPWA’s most recent investigative report, Pushed to the Precipice: How Benefits Cliffs and Financial Gaps Undermine the Safety Net for New Yorkers, builds on the organization’s fight for economic equity. It reveals that the social safety net undermines working families’ efforts to achieve financial stability and build wealth.
The timing of this report is spot on. If all New Yorkers are to share in the economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, transforming the safety net is essential to ensuring a fair, inclusive, and equitable recovery for all.