The Interfaith Center’s Unifying Mission in Cultivating a Socially Just Future

by Sycamore May

Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: The Interfaith Center of New York

What They Do: The Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY) is a nonprofit organization that works to promote interfaith collaboration for New York City’s most pressing social issues, including creating a sustainable and equitable food system. They engage in various initiatives that foster understanding, cooperation, and positive change by driving forward fair policies and practices.

How They Do It: Through dialogue, education, and community engagement, the Interfaith Center facilitates partnerships among diverse religious groups to address common challenges in the food system and beyond. They organize events, workshops, and projects that promote sustainable and ethical practices.

One of the Interfaith Center’s flagship programs, the Rabbi Marshall Meyer Retreats for Social Justice, bring together faith leaders, civic organizations, and activists around a centralized topic of concern. For their 41st retreat, scheduled for December 6, 2023, ICNY will be exploring “Faith in Action for Food Justice,” featuring a keynote speaker, a faith-based panel, and a series of workshops exploring the relationship between food security  and other social issues, such as worker’s rights and migration. 

Other ICNY programs include the Religious Worlds of New York Summer Institute, which offers an immersive experience for teachers, which includes  discussions with scholars, interactions with religious leaders, and curriculum development, and the Interfaith Civic Leadership Academy, which supports emerging faith leaders with mentorship, advocacy trainings, and support for self-designed community projects.

Mission: To “overcome prejudice, violence, and misunderstanding by activating the power of New York City’s grassroots religious and civic leaders and their communities.”

Latest Project/Campaign: ICNY’s latest initiative focuses on addressing the specific needs of migrants impacted by  New York City’s migrant crisis, with a focus on shelter. The initiative, called “Toward a Covenant On Behalf Of New York’s Newest New Yorkers” brings together a coalition of diverse faith leaders and grassroots activists, to advocate for the comprehensive support and integration of migrants and asylum seekers in New York and works to facilitate  a collaborative partnership between government entities and community organizations to address critical needs: from welcoming arrivals with dignity, providing housing and expedited work authorization, to enhancing educational support, legal assistance, and health services. The initiative emphasizes transparency, accountability, and a shared responsibility among all stakeholders to create a cohesive, efficient system that uplifts and empowers these newest New Yorkers, recognizing the profound potential they hold for the future of the state and its communities.

Major Funding: The Interfaith Center receives major funding from philanthropic foundations, interfaith organizations, and private donors who share a commitment to their mission.

Profit/Nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: Not disclosed

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: The Interfaith Center is currently discussing how to mobilize and engage faith communities in immediate food relief and sustained advocacy. For instance, houses of worship can be powerful actors in offering fresh meals, produce, and access to social services such as SNAP. Following their 41st Rabbi Marshall Meyer Retreat, ICNY will dedicate at least six months of programming to exploring and supporting policy platforms that reduce food waste, amend food expiration labeling, and expand composting efforts, among others.


  • Location: Manhattan, New York 
  • Number of Staff: 8
  • Number of Volunteers: 0
  • Areas Served: New York City
  • Year Started: 1997
  • Founder: Reverend James Parks Morton

Related Articles

Subscribe To Weekly NYC Food Policy Watch Newsletter
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news, reports and event information
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.