Community leaders, businesses and individuals, as well as New York City Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott, all marched across the bridge in an effort to “bridge” the gaps in education, income stability and health in the city.
The walk, dubbed the Live United Bridge Walk, was held by United Way of New York City, the nearly 70-year-old company known for supporting nonprofits.
This is the company's second annual walk for poverty.
Volunteers walked from the foot of the Bridge in Manhattan at Foley Square to the foot of the Brooklyn side at Cadman Plaza, where a volunteer festival was held after at Cadman Plaza Park.
The bridge walk's organizers and volunteers hoped that the recent poverty findings and numbers would reach more New Yorkers and hopefully prompt solutions.
“The latest data remind us that we must all do more to help low-income New Yorkers achieve greater economic stability, educational success and good health. Every one of us has a role to play in creating pathways out of poverty,” said United Way of New York City President and CEO Gordon Campbell.
According to the Census Bureau, one in five New Yorkers lives below the poverty line, which for a family of three means earning less than $18,000 a year.
More than 1.6 million New Yorkers live below the federal poverty line, the highest level since 2000.
One in four New Yorkers lives in a household that can't afford enough food.
And nearly 60 percent of New York City public school students in grades three through eight read below grade level and a little more than 39 percent of New York City students who enter ninth grade fail to graduate with their peers four years later.
“Providing a strong educational foundation for our citizens is essential to the economic future of our city and country,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, noting that every child should have access to high-quality educational opportunities.
Skanska USA, Guardian, and National Grid sponsored the walk and more than 60 nonprofit organizations from all across the city participated.
“This event is a perfect example of how New Yorkers from all walks of life can come together to make our city better. As a construction company, making cities better places to live, work and play is what we do every day, whether it’s building new bridges and parks, or constructing greener buildings and safer highway,” said Skanska USA Building President Bill Flemming.
Dollars raised will help fund United Way's programs, which are working to ensure substantially higher graduate rates, improved income stability, and healthier lifestyles for vulnerable New Yorkers.