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Our Mission

Citizens Union and Citizens Union Foundation are committed to reforming New York City and State government by fostering transparency, accountability, accessibility, honesty and the highest ethical standards. Since 1897, we have devoted ourselves to holding our local government accountable and enfranchising all New Yorkers.

Our History

Citizens Union was founded in 1897 by a group of outraged residents who banded together to start a new, independent political party: the Citizens Union. Just four years later, in a stunning defeat of the entrenched and corrupt Tammany Hall political machine, New Yorkers elected Citizens Union candidate Seth Low as Mayor. 

In 1908, to avoid the problem of party patronage, CU transitioned from a political party to a nonpartisan, 501c4 – Citizens Union of the City of New York (“Citizens Union” or “CU”) that develops and advocates for policy proposals to improve our government and conducts thorough evaluations of candidates for city and state offices. Our first Voters Directory was published in 1910 – a service we provide to this day.

In 1948, CU recognized the need to expand its reach and founded Citizens Union Foundation of the City of New York (“Citizens Union Foundation” or “CUF”) as a 501c3 organization to conduct in-depth policy research, publish detailed reports on the “ins and outs” of city and state politics, and conduct public education and outreach on issues of transparency and accountability.

In 1999, Citizens Union Foundation launched Gotham Gazette, an online publication that is an important source of news and investigative reporting about New York City and State government. Gotham Gazette’s insightful investigative reporters focus on holding government officials accountable and providing valuable information to the media and the public about the issues, the inner workings of government processes, and on candidates and elections.

Reforming New York

Our job is to ensure that New Yorkers get a “fair shake.” For New Yorkers who want to throw up their hands and say, “There’s nothing we can do,” we’re here to say, “There is something we can do. With Citizens Union’s help, your voice can be heard; we can change the system, together.”

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