National Urban League

The logo of National Urban League. (link)



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $248,484,583
Expenses: $52,244,003
Assets: $270,971,118




Center-Left Advocacy Group


Marc H. Morial

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The National Urban League is a civil rights organization founded in 1911 to combat racial discrimination against African Americans. It is the oldest and largest community-based anti-discrimination organization in America. The organization has 90 affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Although it is technically nonpartisan, in that it does not endorse political candidates, the League often agrees with left-of-center and Democratic policies, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and affirmative action. 1. Its current president, Marc H. Morial, is a Democratic politician who most notably served as the 59th mayor of New Orleans. 2



The National Urban League was founded in 1911 as a result of the merger between three early civil rights groups: the Committee for the Improvement of Industrial Conditions Among Negroes in New York, the National League for the Protection of Colored Women, and the Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes. 3 It was created after the Great Migration, in order to help the millions of African Americans who had come to northern and western cities find employment and housing. Initially known as the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes and led by George Edmund Haynes, it assumed its current name in 1920. 4

Early to Mid-20th Century

The National Urban League’s second executive, Eugene Kinckle Jones, was responsible for shifting the focus of the League’s work away from the specific needs created by the Great Migration and towards the needs of African Americans as a whole, particularly countering employment discrimination. 5

Jones’ successor, Lester Granger, deepened the League’s work in equalizing employment opportunity. His successor, Whitney M. Young Jr., assumed leadership in 1961 and made National Urban League a key part of the mid-1960s Civil Rights Movement6 and a major supporter of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society social-democratic welfare and economic planning programs. Young personally created what he called the “Domestic Marshall Plan,” which greatly influenced the Johnson administration’s welfare programs. 7

He was, however, considered to be much more pragmatic than other civil rights leaders. The Washington Post quoted him saying, “You don’t get black power by chanting it. You get it by doing what the other groups have done. The Irish kept quiet. They didn’t shout Irish power [. . .] They kept their mouths shut and took over the police department of New York City.” 8

Late 20th Century to Present Day

The National Urban League’s next president, Vernon Jordan (1971-1981), continued his predecessor’s support of government intervention in economic matters. During his tenure, the National Urban League began publishing the State of Black America Report, which is still published yearly as of 2019. 9 Jordan was also critical of President Ronald Reagan’s administration, quoted in 1981 by PEOPLE as calling the President’s budget “devastating for black people and poor people.” 10

Although his successor, John E. Jacob (1981-1993), was an opponent of the Reagan Administration as well, Jacob’s work with the League was less radical. He stressed “self-help” economic measures at the local level, such as initiatives that combatted crime, discouraged absentee parenting, and endorsed the responsibility of fatherhood. 11 On the national level though, he too supported greater federal funding for welfare and infrastructure spending. His “Urban Marshall Plan” called for a $150 billion cut in the annual defense budget, the fruits of which would be reallocated to fund federal support programs. 12

After Jacob resigned in 1993, Hugh B. Price was elected president (1993-2003), faced with the League’s most dire financial situation of its history. 13 He successfully brought the National Urban League into the 21st century with years of consecutive budget surpluses and focused the organization during his tenure primarily on racial inequities in education, making National Urban League a noted supporter of affirmative action. 14 Price also established the now-defunct Institute for Opportunity and Equality, which researched, among other things, how to best foster African-American economic self-reliance. 15

The National Urban League’s current president, Marc H. Morial, was elected to his position in 2003. Most notably, he drafted its “five point empowerment agenda,” pushed the “Main Street Marshall Plan” – which included a raise in the minimum wage to $15 per hour in line with the demands of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and an increase in spending on federal job training and employment – and partnered with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a left-of-center gun control organization. 16

Present Activities

The National Urban League’s programs are performed through its local affiliates, of which there are currently 90. The targeted fields are those of the “five point empowerment agenda”: Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Health and Quality of Life, Housing, Workforce Development, and Education and Youth Development. These programs include entrepreneurship training services, health screenings and education sessions, financial literacy and homeownership education, occupational trainings, and developing youth education guides for local organizations, respectively. 17

On January 11th of 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a partnership with the National Urban League as apart of the Biden’s Administration executive order Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.18

Policy Positions

The National Urban League fully supports race-based affirmative action and accused the Trump administration Justice Department of having a “disdain for the advancement of communities of color” when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed his intent to undo affirmative action. 19

The organization also supports Obamacare, claiming that it “improved access to health care services for those who gained coverage through its coverage expansions.” 20 The National Urban League also supports an increase in the minimum wage and large expansions in federal employment and training programs. 21

Following former President Barack Obama’s presidency, the League rated his terms as “Excellent.” 22

The National Urban League has advocated for the prosecution of former president Donald Trump over the events of January 6th following the 2020 presidential election. In a blog post on January 16th, 2023, by President Marc Morial, “A failure to prosecute Trump in the face of this extensive documentation of his misdeeds would be a failure of justice of historic proportions and a catastrophic subversion of the principle of equal treatment under the law.”23


The National Urban League is currently led by Marc H. Morial, who has been president since 2003. He was previously a Democratic Party politician, serving in the Louisiana state legislature and as Mayor of New Orleans. 24

Along with a lengthy Board of Trustees made up of various corporate representatives the National Urban League has five paid senior vice presidents: Dennis Serrette, Paul Wycisk, Wanda Jackson, Herman Lessard, and Rhonda Spears Bell, who were each paid $210,492 in annual salary in 2016. 25 According to the organization’s “Executive Staff” webpage, it has since added senior vice presidents Michael Miller, Donald R. Cravins Jr., Donald E. Bowen, Nicolaine M. Lazarre, and Cy Richardson 26.


The most recent available tax filings by the National Urban League are from 2016 and show a total revenue of $53,093,389 and total expenses of $47,626,361. 27

Notable contributors to the National Urban League include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Marguerite Casey Foundation. 28


  1. “National Urban League Policy on Health.” National Urban League Policy on Health | National Urban League – Washington Bureau. April 28, 2015. Accessed May 05, 2019. ; “National Urban League Policy on Civil Rights.” National Urban League Policy on Civil Rights | National Urban League – Washington Bureau. April 28, 2015. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  2. “International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame.” National Parks Service. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  3. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “National Urban League.” Encyclopædia Britannica. March 15, 2017. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  4. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “National Urban League.” Encyclopædia Britannica. March 15, 2017. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  5. Selassie, W. Gabriel. “Eugene Kinkle Jones (1885-1954) • BlackPast.” BlackPast. February 08, 2019. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  6. “Whitney M. Young, Jr. (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  7. Young, Whitney M. “‘DOMESTIC MARSHALL PLAN’; ‘Compensation’–Yes.” The New York Times. October 06, 1963. Accessed May 05, 2019. ; Feulner, Edwin. “Assessing the ‘Great Society’.” The Heritage Foundation. June 30, 2014. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  8. Thompson, Krissah. “Michelle Obama Highlights Whitney Young on Eve of March Anniversary.” The Washington Post. August 27, 2013. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  9. Williams, Joseph P. “Despite Progress, Blacks Are Far From Equal With Whites.” U.S. News & World Report. May 17, 2016. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  10. Home, Jed. “For All His Differences with Ronald Reagan, Vernon Jordan Shares the Kinship of Survival.” April 28, 1981. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  11. Swanson, Abigail. “John Edward Jacob (1934– ) BlackPast.” BlackPast. January 31, 2019. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  12. III, Sam Fulwood. “‘Marshall Plan’ Urged for Nation’s Cities, Poor : Social Programs: The Urban League Would Finance the Plan with $50 Billion Taken from Defense Spending. It Wants to Cure Domestic Ills before Aiding Eastern Europe.” Los Angeles Times. January 10, 1990. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  13. Lueck, Thomas J. “National Urban League’s Chief Is Stepping Down After 8 Years.” The New York Times. November 07, 2002. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  14. Borger, Julian. “Affirmative Action Retreating under Hail of US Legal Blows.” The Guardian. November 25, 1998. Accessed May 05, 2019. ; “Urban League Defends Affirmative Action.” The Christian Science Monitor. July 27, 1995. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  15. “National Urban League, Inc., Institute for Opportunity and Equality, 200109179.” Mott Foundation. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  16. Morial, Marc H. “MORIAL: CBC’s Bill Based on Main Street Marshall Plan.” The Washington Informer. May 16, 2018. Accessed May 05, 2019. ; Aladesanmi, Ayo. “National Urban League’s Marc Morial Discusses Jobs, Curbing Gun Violence.” Rolling Out. July 28, 2017. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  17. “Our Programs.” National Urban League. Accessed May 5, 2019.
  18. “USDA and National Urban League Partner to Promote Equity, Increase Nutrition Security and Expand Services in Underserved Communities across America.” USDA, January 11, 2023.
  19. Atterbury, K. Kim. “National Urban League Statement on Justice Department Intent to Undo Affirmative Action in College Admissions.” National Urban League Statement on Justice Department Intent to Undo Affirmative Action in College Admissions. August 3, 2017. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  20. Blount, Linda Goler, and Mark C. Morial. “Op/ED BWHI and National Urban League Come Together for 2019 Open Enrollment Period: African-American Week of Action.” Black Women’s Health Imperative. November 13, 2018. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  21. Morial, Marc H. “MORIAL: CBC’s Bill Based on Main Street Marshall Plan.” The Washington Informer. May 16, 2018. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  22. Ballard, Mark. “Urban League Finds President Barack Obama Was Excellent.” The Advocate. January 10, 2017. Accessed May 05, 2019.
  23. Morial, Marc H. “A Failure To Prosecute Trump Would Be A Failure Of Justice Of Historic Proportions.”, January 16, 2023.
  24. “The Honorable Marc H. Morial’s Biography.” The HistoryMakers. Accessed May 09, 2019.
  25. “National Urban League Inc.” National Urban League Inc – GuideStar Profile. Accessed April 23, 2019.
  26. “Executive Staff.” National Urban League. Accessed May 5, 2019.
  27. “National Urban League Inc.” National Urban League Inc – GuideStar Profile. Accessed April 23, 2019.
  28. Data compiled from FoundationSearch subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted May 9, 2019.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1925

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form 990 $248,484,583 $52,244,003 $270,971,118 $33,328,444 N $244,046,081 $873,909 $605,620 $1,408,907 PDF
    2019 Dec Form 990 $51,653,803 $50,720,561 $61,301,103 $18,407,498 N $41,980,982 $6,861,796 $571,110 $960,889 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $49,970,121 $57,130,059 $59,044,341 $19,353,827 Y $39,953,082 $7,742,251 $725,801 $1,274,850 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $59,589,175 $57,546,127 $68,911,177 $19,436,954 N $49,816,959 $7,779,617 $654,633 $1,120,039 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $53,093,389 $47,626,361 $59,114,091 $12,981,410 N $45,107,723 $7,193,824 $629,484 $932,347 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $51,303,818 $45,691,899 $52,872,433 $12,336,467 N $42,376,128 $6,450,355 $513,519 $960,501 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $51,088,404 $49,782,609 $48,410,666 $11,373,625 N $42,583,025 $6,337,162 $353,719 $1,223,723 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $49,231,483 $48,190,081 $48,152,607 $13,266,028 N $39,577,510 $7,208,058 $294,339 $1,196,205 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $48,161,685 $47,257,519 $46,644,943 $16,397,353 N $40,203,017 $7,262,062 $454,946 $1,013,729 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $45,765,203 $48,049,292 $45,425,678 $16,865,523 N $37,128,976 $7,192,753 $547,515 $1,056,895 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    National Urban League

    NEW YORK, NY 10005-3904