Nonprofit Sector

Supporting South Asian Families and Individuals in Brooklyn

Council of Peoples Organization
COPO staff and community members outdoors at a school supplies giveaway.

Established in 2002, Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) serves 45,000 families and 270,000 individuals annually in New York City by providing free mental health services, older adult services, a Halal emergency food pantry, immigration legal services, and more. COPO’s services are targeted to meet the specific language and cultural needs of immigrants from South Asia (Pakistan and Bangladesh), Uzbekistan, Haiti, and Jamaica, as well as many coming from the Middle East. COPO is now the largest Muslim Arab South Asian (MASA) community center in New York City.

COPO is considered a one-stop-shop. For many community members, COPO is often the only resource available to them that offers programs and services in languages that are widely spoken in their community.

Mohammad Razvi, CEO, Council of Peoples Organization

COPO members consistently exemplify remarkable resourcefulness as they navigate intricate legal processes, the healthcare system, and educational opportunities in a new environment. COPO's comprehensive social services serve as a bridge to help community members thrive in these often unfamiliar circumstances. As COPO's community members get situated and set up for success, they can focus on other aspirations and contributions, from raising their families in culturally vibrant neighborhoods to joining the local workforce.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, COPO stepped up its efforts to address urgent community needs.

"We were able to serve 30,000 people weekly through our weekly food pantry. We are proud to be able to play a role in improving equitable access to good quality, nutritious food for our food insecure community members. Last year, we were able to provide food through our food pantry distribution to over 270,000 individuals, and this year, we predict an increase in the number of people we will serve."

A man unloads a crate of food items for COPO's food pantry.
COPO's Mobile Halal Food Pantry provides nutritious food to three locations across New York City each month.

NFF’s financing will allow COPO to acquire a permanent home for the long-term in the Brooklyn community it serves. The acquisition of this headquarters location will also provide additional programming space for COPO to continue serving its community for many more years to come.

Through this partnership with NFF, COPO was able to get our first home at 1814 Coney Island Avenue and stay in our neighborhood at 1075-1079 Coney Island Avenue, where we have been servicing the community for 22 years!

Mohammad Razvi, CEO, Council of Peoples Organization
A large group of COPO staff and community members gathered outside in the rain at the city's only Halal food pantry program.
Rain or shine, COPO staff distribute food items at the city’s only Halal food pantry program every Friday.

As a community-centered nonprofit serving the heartbeat of their community, COPO has a few words of advice for others hoping to create organizations that respond to the needs of their communities:  

"Continue to be true and authentic to your mission to serve the community. It is not an easy journey, and you will face many trials and tribulations, but one should never abandon the bigger picture of helping the community in need. It's all about people helping people!"

Learn more about how we support community ownership of assets.

See how NFF’s financing supports organizations in education, community improvement, health, homelessness and housing, human services, social justice, workforce development, and youth development. Explore examples of financing in action

Nonprofit Sector Story

Black Nonprofit Chief Executives of Philadelphia

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