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Reducing Poverty. Advancing Equity.

The Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity 2018-2019 Annual Report

The Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity pursues an important mission: helping New York City use evidence and innovation to reduce poverty and increase equity.

We work across agencies with City leaders on program and policy development, service delivery, and budget decisions.

The office’s 60-person multi-disciplinary team designs and oversees new initiatives, supports agencies, and strengthens City practices, drawing on our expertise in research and evaluation, data integration, digital product and technology, service design, and performance management.

This report, covering 2018 and 2019, highlights initiatives that showcase the breadth of our work, focusing on projects that have the potential to transform elements of the social service landscape, including how the City engages and serves low-income residents.

The nine initiatives shown below represent our cross-cutting work over the last two years. During this period, NYC Opportunity has launched 20 new programs, 3 new digital products, and completed 22 evaluation reports and research studies.

Please visit our website for more comprehensive information, and to learn more about how we work with agencies to apply research, data, and design to poverty-related challenges.

Key Accomplishments


Service Design

2018 Adobe Creativity in Government Award
Best Employee Facing Campaign
2018 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award
  • Honorable Mention: Space, Places and City

  • Honorable Mention: Social Good

  • Honorable Mention: General Excellence

Digital Products

Adobe Government Creativity Awards
Best Multilingual Website for ACCESS NYC
Adobe Government Creativity Awards
Multi-Channel Campaigns - Citizen-facing Campaign for Growing Up NYC and Generation NYC


Excellence in International Migration Scholarship Award
Awarded to Vicky Virgin
Poverty Research Unit

New Projects in conjunction
with the Young Men's Initiative


Civic Service Design

Service Design Studio Office Engagements

NYC Opportunity’s Service Design Studio is an on-call resource for any City agency looking to make services or programs more accessible to the people they serve. The Studio was established in October 2017 in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, with support from founding partner Citi Community Development.

Office Hours 183 office hours, 329 attendees, representing 29 agencies
Workshops 14 workshops, 154 attendees
Civic Design Forums 11 forums, over 500 attendees

Behavioral Design Projects

NYC Opportunity partnered with Ideas42, a non-profit design and consulting firm, to increase the use of behavioral science principles to improve social services for New Yorkers at the agency level.

Office Hours 61 sessions, 98 attendees, representing 18 entities
Workshops 10 workshops, 190 attendees, 24 city entities
Convenings 2 Convenings, plus presentations at 40 events reaching over 1,000 people

Projects have included:

  • Increasing uptake of residency points among firefighter candidates
  • Increasing CPAT completion among female firefighter candidates
  • Redesigning behavior managementsystem at secure juvenile detention facilities
  • Increasing Periodic Report submission among SNAP clients
  • Redesigning HRA centers to increase uptake of digital tools
  • Increasing repayment of one-shot loans among former HRA clients
  • Increasing uptake of legal resources among tenants facing eviction
  • Redesigning Housing Connect website
  • Increasing parking fine repayment to prevent vehicle booting
  • Increasing repayment of ECB violation fines
  • Supporting first year success - retention, aid, and momentum
  • Supporting second year college success - completion and transfer
  • Targeting college melt
  • Building credit momentum
  • Increasing FAFSA uptake
  • Improving student mindset
  • Preparing for placement tests
  • Maintaining TAP aid

Conference Presentations


  • 2018 Annual Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Membership Meeting
  • 2018 Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS)
  • Annual Poverty Research and Policy Forum 2018
  • Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) 2018 Fall Research Conference
  • Better World by Design
  • CityLab 2018
  • Convening of Chief Innovation Officers
  • Code for America 2018
  • Emerge Forum 2018
  • Gov IT Symposium
  • NYC Common Metrics for Workforce Development
  • NYU CUSP Applied Urban Science Group (AUSG) Guest
  • Migration Policy Institute Small Group Session
  • Project on Municipal Innovation Convening
  • New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC) 2018 Conference
  • Policy Link Equity Summit 2018
  • Stanford University Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) Impact Evaluation Design Lab
  • Tech in NY Summit
  • UX Week
  • Workforce Agenda for New York City hosted by WPTI
  • WP Engine Summit


  • 100RC Global Exchange
  • 2019 Annual GARE Membership Meeting
  • 2019 Cities Thrive Mental Health Conference
  • Accelerating Cities' Innovation Capacity
  • American Public Health Association Annual Meeting
  • APPAM 2019 Fall Research Conference
  • Beta NYC - BetaBagels
  • Building an Inclusive Economy in New York City: Contributions from Higher Education & Research
  • Center for Migration Studies’ Annual Academic and Policy Symposium
  • Challenges and Opportunities in Managing Social Procurement and Performance Management – Israel Forum 2019
  • Code for America 2019
  • Feedback+ New York Summit 2019
  • Government UX Summit 2019
  • International Design in Government Day
  • Route Fifty - Roadshow
  • National Association for Welfare Research Statistics 2019 Conference
  • National Child Support Enforcement Association 2019 Policy Forum
  • New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals 2019 Fall Conference
  • NYC Mental Health Workforce Summit, Physician Training Learning Group
  • Project on Municipal Innovation Convening
  • Results for America 2019 Summit
  • Smart Cities New York 2019
  • The Civic Futures Summit
  • The Future of Cities: Connecting Innovation, Equity, and Empowerment
  • The Philadelphia Citizen Second Annual Ideas We Should Steal Conference
  • Government UX Summit 2019
  • Using Evidence for Improvement in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act
  • Workforce Systems Leadership Program hosted by Coro and WPTI

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