UPKNYC is a grassroots campaign to enact Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund universal pre-k for every four year old and after school for every middle school student in New York City.
Research shows that full-day pre-k reduces income inequality and increases social mobility; yet, in New York City, nearly 50,000 kids who should get full-day pre-k don’t. And high-quality after school programs, especially during the middle school years, are crucial for the success of children and the economic stability of parents. Mayor de Blasio is proposing a stable funding source, a small tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers supported by almost 65% of New York state residents, to ensure that these programs can be truly universal. UPKNYC will build a groundswell of support for passing this plan by engaging parents, advocates, clergy, and business leaders to send a clear message to policy makers in Albany: every child and working family in NYC deserves a chance at success.
Leaders from business, civil rights, academia, advocacy and the arts have formed UPKNYC’s growing campaign committee, including: Roger Altman, Founder and Executive Chairman of Evercore Partners, former Deputy Treasury Secretary, Chairman of New Visions for Public Schools; Cynthia Nixon, actor, Ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, longtime advocate for increased financing to NYC public schools; Jeffrey Sachs, preeminent economist leading Columbia University’s Earth Institute; Harvey Weinstein, Co-chairman of The Weinstein Company; Al Sharpton, one of the nation’s most renowned civil rights leaders, founder and president of the National Action Network; Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr., Senior Pastor of the historic First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem; Steve Witkoff, founder and CEO of the Witkoff Group; actress Olivia Wilde; Dr. Irwin Redlener of the Children’s Health Fund; musician John Legend; Leonard Litwin; Don Peebles, CEO of The Peebles Corporation; Orin Kramer, Managing Partner, Boston Provident, L.P.; Robert Dinerstein, Chairman of Veracity Worldwide; Marc Lasry, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of the global investment firm Avenue Capital Group; Paul Metselaar, Founder and CEO of Ovation Travel and Lawyers Travel; Alan Patricof, Founder and Managing Director of Greycroft LLC, and Susan Patricof, chair of the Northside Center for Child Development; Jay Eisenhofer, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A.; Nanette Lepore, fashion designer; Hal Fetner, President and CEO of Durst Fetner Residential; Lee Wasserman, Director of the Rockefeller Family Fund; Lorna Brett Howard; David Kramer; principal of the Hudson Companies; Jed Walentas, principal of Two Trees Management; James Walden, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Mitch Draizin, Longview Capital Advisers; Gina Argento, CEO of Broadway Stages; Charlene Gayle, Macon Realty; Professor Matthew Daus, CUNY; Elizabeth Sackler, philanthropist; Harendra Singh, owner of the Singh Group; Gina Argento, President of the Broadway Stage; Reverend A.R. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center; Agnes Gund, Leo Hindery, Michael and Ann Loeb, Craig Kaplan and Anne Hess, Dal LaMagna, Elspeth Gilmore, Patricia Simpson, Darius Ross, Jessica Brackman, David A. and Ruth Levine, Karen Pittelman, Merry Tucker, Oliver Cannell, William Samuels, Steven and Mary Goldring, Mark Reed and Daria Ilunga, and Rosemary Faulkner.
Members of Congress supporting New York City’s plan include Reps. Yvette Clarke, Joe Crowley, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng, Jerrold Nadler, Charlie Rangel, Jose Serrano, & Nydia Velazquez.
The campaign committee also includes the leaders of a growing list of advocacy, non-profit, and labor organizations with deep roots across the five boroughs, including: Citizens’ Committee for Children, The Children’s Aid Society; The Center for Children’s Initiatives; Children’s Defense Fund New York; United Neighborhood Houses New York; Hudson Guild; University Settlement; Harlem RBI; Committee for Hispanic Children and Families; the Campaign for Children (a coalition of more than 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations); Hand in Hand; Good Shepherd Services; Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; Day Care Council of New York; SCO Family Services; Coalition for Asian American Children and Families; Neighborhood Family Services Coalition; Advocates for Children; Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University; New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness; Alliance for Quality Education; United NY; Make the Road NY; Strong Economy for All; NYC Coalition for Educational Justice; New York Communities for Change; the Urban Youth Collaborative; the New York City Central Labor Council; the Working Families Party; the United Federation of Teachers; 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East; 32BJ SEIU; the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council; the Building and Construction Trades Council of New York City; the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16; AFSCME District Councils 37 and 1707; Transport Workers Union Local 100; the Communications Workers of America District 1; CWA Local 1180; The New York Civil Liberties Union; The Hispanic Federation; Democracy for New York; Democracy for America; La Fuente; The Alliance for A Greater New York (ALIGN); the Coney Island Project; Greater New York City for Change; the High Bridge Community Life Center; Fair Access; the Retail Action Project (RAP); Council of School Supervisors and Administrators; the New York Immigration Coalition; the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802; the Arab American Association of New York; the Asociacion de Mujeres Progresistas (AMP); the Adelaide L. Sanford Institute; Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network; the Alliance of South Asian American Labor; the New York City Coalition Against Hunger; the Urban Arts Partnership; Community Food Advocates; Organizacion Comunitaria La Aurora; Give Them to Eat Ministry; Dominico-American Society; The Point; the Partnership with Children; Now NYC; Brooklyn Van Industriy Association, Inc; Wagner College; the Gateway Christian Center; Tamika 4 State Assembly; the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation; Unite Here Local 100, ALBOR (Association of Latino Business Owners and Residents), the Muslim Voter and Information Project, Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center, ROC-NY (Restaurant Opportunities Center), CUNY Professional Staff Congress, New York State Nurses Association, Brooklyn Movement Center, Citizen Action, Community Voices Heard and Desis Rising Up and Moving.