Nuclear Factor Y (NF-Y) is a heterotrimeric complex formed by NF-YA/NF-YB/NF-YC subunits that binds to the CCAAT-box in eukaryotic promoters. In contrast to other organisms, in which a single gene encodes each subunit, in plants gene families of over 10 members encode each of the subunits. Here we report that five members of the Arabidopsis thaliana NF-YA family are strongly induced by several stress conditions via transcriptional and miR169-related post-transcriptional mechanisms. Overexpression of NF-YA2, 7 and 10 resulted in dwarf late-senescent plants with enhanced tolerance to several types of abiotic stress. These phenotypes are related to alterations in sucrose/starch balance and cell elongation observed in NF-YA overexpressing plants. The use of transcriptomic analysis of transgenic plants that express miR169-resistant versions of NF-YA2, 3, 7, and 10 under an estradiol inducible system, as well as a dominant-repressor version of NF-YA2 revealed a set of genes, whose promoters are enriched in NF-Y binding sites (CCAAT-box) and that may be directly regulated by the NF-Y complex. This analysis also suggests that NF-YAs could participate in modulating gene regulation through positive and negative mechanisms. We propose a model in which the increase in NF-YA transcript levels in response to abiotic stress is part of an adaptive response to adverse environmental conditions in which a reduction in plant growth rate plays a key role.