New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $1,690,698
Expenses: $1,591,933
Assets: $42,424




New York State PIRG Affiliate

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New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) is the 501(c)(4) advocacy affiliate of the New York Public Interest Research Group Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and the New York state affiliate of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG). NYPIRG is a prominent member of the Public Interest Network, a network of over one hundred center-left advocacy groups. The organization signed a petition supporting the Green New Deal. 1

NYPIRG was founded in 1973 by Donald Ross, a political activist and co-author of the PIRG manual Action for a Change alongside community organizer Ralph Nader. Ross worked as NYPIRG’s executive director from 1973 to 1982. 2



For more information, see Donald K. Ross

Donald K. Ross is a left-wing political activist credited with proposing the model of the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) in the 1970s alongside activist Ralph Nader. They outlined the PIRG model in their 1971 book Action for a Change.

Ross worked as the founding director of New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) from 1973 to 1982, where he reportedly grew the organization to 180 staffers operating out of 31 offices. 3 Barack Obama, then a student at Columbia University, worked full-time for NYPIRG as a community organizer from February through May 1985. 4 Ross later worked as director of Ralph Nader’s group Citizen Action of New York. 5

In 1971, Ross co-authored Action For a Change alongside Nader, a book credited as a kind of manual for the then-new network of Public Interest Research Groups they had founded. In More Action For a Change (1987), journalist Kelley Griffin noted that Ross, “a native of the Bronx with a law degree from New York University and three years’ experience in organizing PIRGs nationwide . . . was a natural candidate to heard NYPIRG” as well as its lobbying program in 1973. Ross also aided activists in establishing the Oregon Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) in the 1970s, one of the oldest and largest state PIRGs, as well as the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group. 6 7

Some of Ross’s goals for NYPIRG were outlined in a February 7, 1975 article in the Albany Student Press discussing the group’s “financial troubles.” 8

Donald Ross, the executive director of NYPIRG . . . was one of the original Nader’s Raiders and he helped to form the Citizen Action Group [Citizen Action of New York] under [Ralph] Nader. Ross spoke of the frustration which often plagues contentious NYPIRG members.

New York is the only state which has decentralized PIRGs [public interest research groups] throughout the state. Ross called NYPIRG the “New York pioneer of mass involvement of students.” The University of Buffalo has one of the largest PIRG groups [sic] in the country.

Workshops of interest to the PIRG members were held all day Saturday. Dennis Kaufman, a PIRG attorney, spoke on public interest litigation. Kaufman emphasized that the most difficult aspect of public interest litigation is the establishment of a ”standing to sue.” He stressed that the last resort for reform is the legislature. NYPIRG has students working as legislative interns and lobbying at the capitol.

Three films were shown during the conference. The first film was I.F. Stone’s Weekly, a documentary about a journalist whose main objective was to expose scandals and dishonest politicians.

Two other films were shown which warned the NYPIRG members of the dangers of nuclear energy. Sunday morning at the NYPIRG state board meeting the issue was raised whether or not NYPIRG should lead a campaign For a moratorium on the construction of nuclear energy plants. It was noted that if the plutonium in the energy is exposed to the air an entire city could be wiped out and the area would not be liveable [sic] for a half-million years. Due to protests from several potential nuclear physicists from R.P.I. the motion was tabled . . . .

One theme was apparent throughout the conference. NYPIRG is desperately in need of money. Don Ross urged passing an amendment which would mandate that any school belonging to NYPIRG contribute two dollars per student per year. The amendment, which would sever Albany’s membership, was tabled for further consideration.


  1. ”Green New Deal Hub.” Influence Watch.
  2. “Donald K. Ross.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 21, 2019.
  3. “Donald K. Ross.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 21, 2019.
  4. Donald Critchlow and W.J. Rorabaugh. “Takeover: How the Left’s Quest for Social Justice Corrupted Liberalism.” Intercollegiate Studies Institute. 2013.
  5. “Donald Ross (archived).” Malkin & Ross (Archived Page). Archived August 15, 2018. Accessed May 22, 2019.
  6. Kelley Griffin. More Action for a Change. Dembner Books. 1987.
  7. Dan M. Burt. Abuse of Trust. Regnery Publishing. 1982.
  8. Randi Toler. “Future Pondered at NYPIRG Conference.” Albany Student Press. February 7, 1975.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Jay Halfon
    Board Member
  2. Barack Obama
    Former Organizer
  3. Donald Ross
    Former Executive Director (1973-1982)
  4. John Gilroy
    Former Campaign Staffer (1980-1984)

Supported Movements

  1. Green New Deal (GND)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1973

  • 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
    2016 Aug Form 990 $1,690,698 $1,591,933 $42,424 $577,076 N $1,578,872 $45,730 $0 $124,575
    2015 Aug Form 990 $1,672,086 $1,507,714 $33,154 $827,630 N $1,559,527 $2,675 $0 $125,628 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $1,680,657 $1,697,899 $68,205 $1,027,053 N $1,568,080 $2,765 $0 $126,402 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $1,682,800 $1,814,451 $23,805 $965,411 N $1,569,614 $2,640 $0 $143,636 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $1,666,239 $1,697,058 $62,790 $872,745 N $1,557,424 $5,934 $0 $142,994 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $1,589,276 $1,790,458 $18,384 $797,520 N $1,477,905 $2,055 $33 $166,774 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)

    NEW YORK, NY 10007-2223