Cy Pres Awards Eligibility for the National Urban League

Cy Pres awards are distributions of the residual funds from class action settlements or judgments that are unclaimed or cannot be distributed to the class members or other intended recipients to groups or institutions that reasonably approximate or benefit the interests pursued by the class action for class members.  Federal and state courts throughout the country have long recognized organizations that provide access to justice for low income, underserved and disadvantaged people as appropriate beneficiaries of cy pres distributions from class action settlements or judgments.

As a nonprofit civil rights organization, the National Urban League is eligible to receive awards via cy pres funding when the objectives of the organization are directly related to the underlying claims at issue in the class action. These awards will allow the National Urban League to continue fighting for access to justice in the areas of education, jobs, health and housing for underserved African American communities across the nation.

Residual funds from class action settlements or judgments that are unclaimed or cannot be distributed to the class members or other intended recipients can be distributed by the court to institutions, such as the National Urban League, that serve “religious, charitable, educational or benevolent purposes” in the State of New York pursuant to Estates, Powers and Trusts Law § 8-1.1(c).  Under the statute, if the court finds that circumstances have changed since the making of a charitable gift so as “to render impracticable or impossible a literal compliance with the terms” in disposition of the gift, the court may remove or modify a restriction and enter into a cy pres proceeding.  As a 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to secure justice, empowerment and economic parity for the African American communities in the U.S., the National Urban League is eligible for cy pres awards from anywhere in the U.S.

The substantive areas in which we work and that would be particularly appropriate for a cy pres award include:

  • Housing counseling and foreclosure prevention assistance for disadvantaged African Americans to break down barriers and obtain economic equality;
  • A mentoring service for urban youth ages that are particularly vulnerable to disengagement from school, community and the world of work;
  • Entry into the workforce for at-risk and adjudicated youth and returning citizens;
  • Highlighting the policies, practices, reforms and innovations, which explicitly confront historic inequality, as well as to open new paths to success for urban children and youth;
  • Promoting to African American adults who are at risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health issues;
  • Providing free health resources to residents in urban and minority communities who experience disproportionately higher rates of preventable disease;
  • Assisting people struggling at the financial margins who need a combination of education, coaching and support to build their financial capability to achieve financial stability and long-term financial health;
  • Addressing local health disparities and priorities in underrepresented communities; and
  • Addressing the HIV and AIDS crisis in the African American community.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our work or in determining our eligibility in a cy pres award, please contact Nicolaine M. Lazarre, General Counsel at (212)558-5364 or  Thank you for your consideration.