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Urban Resource Institute Hosts Fourth Annual URI Celebration Raising Critical Funds to Expand Life-Saving Services for New York City’s Most Vulnerable Individuals and Families


NEW YORK – October 24, 2019—Urban Resource Institute (URI), the largest provider of domestic violence shelters and services in the country, raised critical funds to continue providing life-saving services for domestic violence survivors and homeless individuals and families at its fourth annual URI Celebration fundraiser on Wednesday, October 23rd at Guastavino’s in New York City. The night also previewed the creation of URI’s state-of-the-art Economic Empowerment Center, to be opened later this year.

“This year, we have much to celebrate with palpable growth across our programs and services. But we always have an eye towards the future and providing innovative, wraparound services that ensure we are addressing the impact of domestic violence from all angles,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “We are proud to be opening URI’s first Economic Empowerment Center to give survivors and homeless individuals life-changing, practical skills to help take strides towards critical financial stability.”

URI’s Economic Empowerment Center is the result of a $5 million grant from Jeff Bezos’ Day One Family Fund in 2018 to expand URI’s services and programming for New York City’s homeless. The Center was created with the understanding that domestic violence, including financial abuse, is the leading cause of homelessness in NYC. The Center is designed to deliver education, training, and employment opportunities for homeless families to enhance access to living wage jobs and financial security. The Center will focus on training for jobs of the future and provide programs for all ages so as to invest in the potential of each family member, including an innovative Youth IT Literacy Track for individuals 7 to 18 years old.

Hosted by John Quiñones, host of “What Would You Do?” and decorated 35-year ABC veteran journalist, the fundraiser event celebrated URI’s achievements over the past year and honored the families, children, and individuals who have overcome domestic violence and homelessness, as well as community leaders who have dedicated their lives to uplifting human rights and gender equality. The URI Celebration specifically recognized two individuals for their leadership and courage in an award ceremony. The honorees were as follows:

URI presented the Visionary Award to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who has served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women since August 2013. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka has devoted her career to human rights, poverty, social justice, education, women’s rights and empowerment, and gender equality. Prior to her appointment to the UN, she served as Deputy President of South Africa. She began her career as a teacher and gained international experience as a coordinator at the World YWCA in Geneva, where she established a global program for young women. She is also the founder of the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education initiatives in South African schools.

URI presented the Triumph Award to Ayanna Benjamin, a survivor of domestic violence and financial abuse, who has overcome her abusive past to become an independent college graduate and gainfully employed mother of two. Ayanna is a testament to the courage, strength, and perseverance that URI hopes to ignite in survivors and how, with the right support, survivors and their families can recover from trauma and thrive.

About Urban Resource Institute
Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive social services that aid and empower New Yorkers in times of crisis. URI’s programs provide care for survivors of domestic violence, individuals with developmental disabilities, homeless families, and other at-risk populations, allowing them to live in safety and recover from trauma in both residential and non-residential settings. With deep community relationships and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York City’s most vulnerable populations. URI merged with the Center Against Domestic Violence in 2018, the first licensed provider of domestic violence shelter in New York. With nearly 80 years of combined experience, the organization is the largest provider of domestic violence residential services in the country, with the ability to shelter over 1,100 individuals, including survivors and their families, on any given day. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org

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