Celebrating Urban Upbound’s 17th Anniversary with 2021 Relighting the Torch Gala


On Tuesday, October 19th, Urban Upbound celebrated our 17th anniversary with the Relighting the Torch gala. To keep everyone safe, we took out the large crowd component associated with a gala and kept the dining element. Sponsors of this year’s gala received gift cards to fabulous restaurants — thanks to a partnership with Major Food Group! Urban Upbound hopes that as our supporters dine out at one of these top-notch restaurants, they remember the positive impact that their donations help us achieve. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, the video of our gala program is now on our YouTube channel.

This year, Urban Upbound honored Costa Constantinides, a former city council member of District 22, which includes northern Astoria neighborhoods. As a council member, he secured over 25 million dollars to bring some measure of equity to residents of public housing. We are honored to celebrate a fantastic champion of the people as we raise support to ensure more New Yorkers can be financially independent and break the cycle of generational poverty. Currently a CEO of Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens (VBGCQ), Costa never fails to show his commitment to supporting our community.

During our gala program, friends and patrons of Urban Upbound joined us virtually to show their support. Among these were Actor Robert De Niro, Senator Michael Gianaris, Queensborough President Donovan Richards, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and other leaders from government, media, finance, and the non-profit sectors.

Karthik Krishnan, Urban Upbound’s Board Treasurer, started the program with highlights of the organization’s achievements and an ask to support our initiatives. Karthik remarked: “Even with the challenges that the organization and staff were facing, they raised the bar. They came up with services that would provide families that had been affected by COVID an opportunity to get food.”

“We have come together to celebrate 17 transformative years and our collective efforts in strengthening the community to alleviate the pervasive cycle of poverty in public housing neighborhoods so that developments become a place of opportunity and economic prosperity for individuals and families,” said Bishop Taylor, Urban Upbound Co-Founder and CEO, who led the night’s program.

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