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Make the Road by Walking was founded in 1997 in a Bushwick church basement by local residents to address the potentially devastating effects of welfare reform on America's poor and immigrant communities.
Make the Road by Walking initially focused exclusively on organizing immigrant welfare recipients, but soon expanded their focus to combating the systemic economic and political marginalization of Bushwick residents. Make the Road by Walking became a powerful force for low-income immigrants across New York City. In keeping with the democratic values it was founded upon, Make the Road by Walking became a membership organization in 1999. Make the Road by Walking's low-income members pay dues to support the organization and vote to elect the Board of Directors, who constitute the majority of voting seats on our board.
In response to the outpouring of interest and expressed needs from community members, Make the Road by Walking has expanded substantially since our initial start at St. Barbara's Church. They have moved into a space at 301 Grove St and changed from an all-volunteer organization to a staff of 17 full-time and 17 part-time employees, plus an ever-growing membership base of over 2,100 community residents.