Human Services

Urban Upbound

Long Island City, NY


Urban Upbound, formerly known as The East River Development Alliance, Inc. (ERDA), is a community-based non-profit organization located in Long Island City, Queens. The mission of Urban Upbound is to provide residents of public housing and surrounding neighborhoods with the tools and resources needed to achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency, and to break inter-generational cycles of poverty.

Ruling Year


President & CEO

Mr. Mitchell G. Taylor

Main Address

12-11 40th Avenue

Long Island City, NY 11101 USA


community development, anti-poverty, workforce development, youth development, Long Island City, queens





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Financial Counseling, Money Management (P51)

Economic Development (S30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Financial Empowerment

Employment Services

Youth Development

Community Revitalization

Where we workNew!

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Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

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What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Urban Upbound’s mission is to provide residents of public housing and other low-income New Yorkers in western Queens with the tools needed to achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency and break cycles of poverty. Urban Upbound achieves these objectives through its integrated model of four programs which serve as many as 10,000 individuals per year through our holistic and integrated program model which includes: (i.) employment services, so public housing residents can find good jobs and remain employed in positions that offer career growth opportunities; (ii.) financial counseling, including comprehensive one-on-one counseling to help residents escape financial distress and achieve their long-term economic goals (iii.) youth development programming to make a college degree an expectation and reality for youth from public housing and other low-income families; and; (iv.) community revitalization programming to bring necessary goods and services, such as the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union, which opened in 2010 as the first low-income designated credit union in Queens, to public housing communities. Our goals for the next three to five years include, but are not limited to, deepening the level and scope of services in the mission area noted above, increasing the intensity of services and program quality each participant experiences, securing additional private resources through fundraising, increasing enrollment in Urban Upbound’s programs, and developing powerful and consistent marketing and social media strategies to better serve our clients. Intensity of services has been shown to predict higher academic achievement through our College Access program and increased social responsibility through our Workforce Development and Financial Counseling programs. Together, these goals all serve to strengthen Urban Upbound, so that we are able to better serve the residents of our communities. We are focused on data-driven improvement and growth. We use evidence-based tools to inform and track our progress. Moving forward, we will continue to enhance our efforts of evaluation to better understand and deliver effective programming.

Urban Upbound is constantly in pursuit improving service delivery for our clients and meeting the needs of the communities we serve to continue to be a strong, dynamic, financially stable organization that low-income New Yorkers can rely on for generations to come. Urban Upbound operates in a cost-conscious manner to make the best use of donor dollars and to serve the public better. Additionally, we are currently working to identify predictable, sustainable sources of revenue that align with our mission. To improve results, we are working to expand our fundraising capacity and expanding the types of fundraising channels. One of our strategies is to become a 21st century brand that builds upon our mission and history. We strive to be effective with social media and new forms of communication. To increase enrollment in our programs, we conduct extensive peer-to-peer outreach in our community, organize community volunteers and engage community partners, so ensure that residents know that our programs are all available to them. Urban Upbound also leads the Western Queens Community Partnership Network, a collaboration of 80+ local organizations working to strengthen communities in Western Queens. We always seek opportunities and partnerships that will advance our mission. We hope to provide a life-long path for low-income New Yorkers to live a healthy, responsible, and successful life.

Urban Upbound has numerous resources and capabilities that support our overall mission. We seek diverse and reliable funding sources which include: government support through federal, state and city funds; foundation and corporate supports and individual private donors. Central to meeting our goal and being able to deliver on our mission is to engage and thank those who support us with donations and to also engage new supporters. In fiscal year 2015, we served more than 12,000 low-income to extremely low-income Individuals and we strive to make our programs even more accessible to the public through extensive outreach methods like door knocking, canvassing housing developments (in English and Spanish), attending community tenant association meetings, and tabling at subway stations to engage residents and ensure they are aware of how Urban Upbound can help them. In addition, we are constantly improving and strengthening the Urban Upbound brand; we are implementing marketing and brand standards to ensure that Urban Upbound has a consistent voice, sound and look throughout the community, which will increase the public’s understanding of what we do. In addition, we use a variety of platforms including but not limited to, our website and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with our supporters, illustrate our services, and garner support in the form of donations. Our reputation as an anchor in the Western Queens community helps us as we work increase our social impact. The progress that we make is also due in great part to the strength of our partnerships with the city, those we collaborate with, and those whose financial investment puts our mission into action. Through funding and resource support from the government and private donors, we are able to staff and support programs that are data-driven and research-based, ensure the highest degree of program quality, and meet our overall goal of breaking cycles of poverty. Urban Upbound prides itself on an innovative and experienced staff that is dedicated and determined to breaking cycles of. With additional funding support, Urban Upbound looks forward to expanding its reach, growing its base of participants and continually enhancing its programs through additional quality personnel acquisitions. Our organization is a reflection of our current strategy and mirrors our effort to build a movement focused on providing quality programs. Our staff collaborates and creates highly-focused, cost-efficient initiatives that provide a high level of impact and garner the highest level of participation in the communities we serve. Additionally, we appreciate the services of our interns from local colleges and universities, and our wonderful volunteers. The future for Urban Upbound is bright, but now more than ever, we need the support from the city, donors, foundations, and partners to continue to provide innovative programming that places our clients on a path towards a successful future.

Urban Upbound has extensive experience tracking participant enrollment, use of services, and program outcomes. Since 2007, we utilize a web-based software Efforts to Outcomes (ETO), hosted by Social Solutions Inc., to capture all enrollment, usage, and outcome data – including our employment services (including case management notes, retention meeting notes, attendance and activity generated in the computer lab, hours working with an employment counselor, etc.), financial education and counseling, youth/development/college access, credit union, and outreach initiatives. Through this system, client data is managed cross-program so complete agency-wide outcomes can be tracked and evaluated for individual client achievement purposes and for agency-wide program measurement. In addition, Urban Upbound uses program specific databases – for instance, WorkSource1 for the Workforce 1 Career Center; OFE’s specially designed ETO for the Financial Empowerment Center. We also use CU Answers for the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union and the federally mandated TaxWise software for our free tax preparation program. For each of these databases, we track enrollment, use of services, and program outcomes and coupled with Urban Upbound’s ETO, we use these data to continuously make program improvements. Due to our forward-thinking theory of change, we continually seek expertise and technical assistance to grow and improve our data collection and analysis efforts. Other internal progress is indicated in multiple ways: participation numbers across all program areas, program quality and program outcome metrics specific to each of our programs, integration of services and results of those who use them, fundraising efficiency, the results of marketing campaigns, the number of positive media impressions and social return on investment for each of our services Urban Upbound also conducts pre- and post-test program evaluation surveys to formatively and summatively assess program performance and makes adjustments and creates program enhancements as needed. Focus groups are also conducted with program participants to assess client expectations, satisfaction, and growth, as well as Urban Upbound’s performance. Urban Upbound uses all these data to ensure ongoing improvements in program operations and performance.

While we are excited about the direction Urban Upbound is headed in, we know that we still have a ways to go. In the next five years, we need to develop and execute even greater program efficiency, more innovative fundraising methods, and consistent, sustainable sources of revenues. Furthermore, we seek to improve program integration - the crux of our holistic service model - to strengthen the financial resiliency of the families in our communities and create pathways out of poverty for public housing residents. In addition, we plan to replicate our integrated program model that has been successful in Long Island City and Astoria to include Far Rockaway. Finally, we continue to strive to find improved ways to articulate the range of our mission to show the breadth of our work and how contributions from our donors really make a difference.

External Reviews

Awards & Accreditations

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - Housing Counseling Agency Certification

Cultural Data Project, Gold Star Status

United Way


Urban Upbound

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

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A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Middle Eastern

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity