In conversation with Nonprofit New York member: New York Council Navy League

In conversation with Nonprofit New York member: New York Council Navy League


Membership Director Taina Sanon spoke with Jessica Hitchen of New York Council Navy League, a member organization of Nonprofit New York. We will continue to highlight the work of our members because we believe when your nonprofit is stronger, all of us are stronger.

Tell me about the organization and what you do.

Teddy Roosevelt encouraged the formation of the Navy League in 1902 because he knew a strong nation required sea power, and maintaining that required the support of our nation’s citizens. After being founded here in New York, the Navy League has grown to around 200 councils around the world and we are proud of our role as the original council.

We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization that supports the sea services – the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine. We host programs that educate the public and our elected leaders on the importance of the sea services, foster youth leadership development and, most importantly, support active-duty members, their families and their units.

We are a military support organization, rather than a veterans' organization, although we cherish and support our veterans and wounded warriors. We are a trusted civilian partner of the sea services, supporting their mission, their personnel and their families, and are known primarily as one of the founders of Fleet Week New York.

How many are on your team?

3 employees and 800 members

Servicing how many of the nonprofit population?

Approximately 5,000 per year, including close to 3,000 visiting Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen during Fleet Week, approximately 2,000 local sea service members and their families and 1,000 members of our sponsored youth programs.

Where do you see your organization in the next five years or ten years?

Our current Council President and Executive Director are preparing to lead the Board through a strategic planning process so that our 118-year-old organization can decide what it wants to be when it grows up. The primary driving force behind our growth will be changing our programs to attract younger, more diverse members who reflect today's sea services, and finding new ways to fund and deliver our services.

How has partnering with Nonprofit New York helped you succeed?

At a broad level, our organization has benefited significantly from training and knowledge provided by Nonprofit New York. Beyond seminars, templates and access to subject matter experts, we have also specifically used the job board for recruiting, The Community for information from our fellow nonprofits, and networking opportunities to help us fulfill our recent COVID-19 relief efforts.

What are you currently working on that you want us to mention to our membership?

We recently joined with local military units and other nonprofits to launch an online resource portal for military members, their families and veterans at We would love other military and veteran support organizations to submit their event and program information.