Building social justice for 135 years

Advocacy is at the heart of University Settlement’s mission – throughout our history, we have successfully partnered with our neighbors to call for and build a more sustainable, resilient, equitable New York City.

Systems-change advocacy is vital to our approach – we seek to create a fairer society by identifying the root causes of inequity and addressing them in ways that build lasting change. Regardless of how members of our community identify, we understand that each person’s liberation is bound up with everyone else’s. As a community-based organization, we bring specialized knowledge, understanding, and the relationships we’ve built with governments and other influential institutions into our partnerships with our neighbors, shifting power and resources to bring lasting benefit our communities.  

Our early causes included establishing public health, sanitation, and safe housing standards, achieving fair wages, eliminating child labor, and championing public education and public parks. Some of the things we once fought for, like public schools and regulations requiring housing to have running water, are now taken for granted – but advocacy was required to make them accessible to everyone.

Today, we continue to fight for social justice, civil rights, and fair access to social services for all in our communities.

To learn more and to take action with us, please contact Advocacy Director Veronica Wong at

Our recent successful advocacy campaigns include achieving:

Today, our advocacy efforts continue through:

Our recent successful advocacy campaigns include achieving:

To learn more about our advocacy, be sure to sign up for our emails.


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