Our History

Founded in 2014, CFR was formed from the innovative thinking of community leaders committed to improving the lives of retail workers, including  Make the Road New York, RWDSU, and GOLES. Through the strength of our community members and allies, CFR has been able to create impactful change in the retail industry.



  • CFR launched as an organization, entering a fiscal sponsorship relationship with Make the Road New York.
  • CFR joined partners at the New York Union Child Care Coalition, the Consortium for Worker Education, and A Better Balance to establish a child care subsidy facilitated enrollment pilot program for working parents in Herald Square, providing child care subsidies and quality care in New York City for children up to 13 years of age.
  • In response to the advocacy of CFR and partners, NYS Governor and New York State Department of Labor proposed rules to regulate payroll cards, prohibiting employers from forcing workers to accept their wages on payroll cards.


  • CFR and coalition partners in the NYC Coalition to Stop Credit Checks in Employment saw Mayor de Blasio sign legislation banning employers from checking job applicants’ credit histories when making a hiring decision, the “Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act.
  • The office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigated whether on-call shifts violated the labor law in New York. Schneiderman sent letters to thirteen major retail companies warning that they may be violating the law.


  • CFR served 4,104 clients, with 3,555 completed enrollments through the healthcare exchange.
  • CFR and partners educated retail workers about the importance of health care through social media and strategic direct outreach in stores from Fifth Avenue to Fordham Road in the Bronx to downtown Brooklyn.


  • CFR launched the Pathways to Success report with the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center (now TakeRoot Justice) that identified the need for training and advancement opportunities for workers to achieve economic sustainability in the retail sector.


  • CFR officially applied for nonprofit (501c3) status with the federal government.
  • CFR hired a new executive director.
  • CFR was awarded a $100,000 contract from the Regional Economic Development Corporation and NYS Department of Labor to provide training.

2019 | Annual Report

  • Through year-long visioning sessions, CFR created a three-year Strategic Plan.
  • CFR provided sector-skills training embedded with education about their rights and health and safety standards to 268 new and seasoned professionals.
  • CFR provided 61 workers and job seekers with education in job search navigation, career pathways in retail, and job search skills including resume writing and interviewing.
  • CFR connected 1,696 job seekers with employment opportunities in the retail and service sectors.
  • CFR provided health care education and enrollment services to 511 New Yorkers.
  • CFR mobilized members to attend seven rallies, actions, and conferences in support of paid personal time, healthcare for all, queer and trans rights, and worker campaigns.
  • CFR elevated worker stories of working on the frontlines in retail through consistent social media engagement and interviews with workers.
  • CFR hosted monthly gatherings, including a holiday party, bringing together 20–40 community members, partners, and allies each month to address workers’ issues and provide know-your-rights workshops.