TakeRoot Justice



New York, NY

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $6,631,886
Expenses: $5,771,237
Assets: $4,526,842


Legal Advocacy, Research, and Activist Group



Executive Director:

Marco Conner DiAquoi

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TakeRoot Justice (formerly known as the Community Development Project at Urban Justice Center) is a left-of-center legal advocacy, activist, and research nonprofit organization. 1 Based in New York City, it collaborates with over 70 local activist groups in a wide range of issue areas, from worker and tenant advocacy to “holistic” prison abolition. 2

Background and Structure

TakeRoot Justice began as a project of the Urban Justice Center, a New York City-based legal advocacy group. It was founded in 2001 as the Community Development Project, specializing in contract negotiation and legal support for local organizations. Over the next 18 years, it engaged in numerous research and legal initiatives, including litigation against housing developers to stop displacement of poorer tenants, a 2013 large-scale class-action suit to secure repairs for housing in New York’s Lower East Side, and activism work that led the New York City Human Rights Commission to implement so-called “U-Visas,” allowing illegal immigrants legal recourse against landlords who had allegedly violated housing laws. 3

In 2019, the Community Development Project was rebranded TakeRoot Justice and launched as its own independent initiative. It partners with over 70 local organizations, including  Sex Workers Project, left-of-center policy advocacy group Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (VOCAL-NY), left-progressive economic development group Red Hook Initiative, and immigration and labor union activist group Make the Road New York (MRNY). 4

TakeRoot Justice divides its work between eight teams, each with its own issue area: Consumer Justice, Resource Management, Research and Policy, Housing Justice, Equitable Neighborhoods, Workers’ Rights, Immigrants’ Rights, and Capacity Building. TakeRoot Justice also channels team members into its internal governance areas, known as “circles.” Each of the members of the “teams” participates in one or two “circles.” For example, the “Anti-Oppression” and “Racial Justice” circles deal with equity and diversity issues in TakeRoots’ workplace, while “Community Building” works to create a positive work atmosphere. Circle members can present topics and changes to be voted upon by the staff or board. 5

Holistic Abolition of Prisons and Police Everywhere Now (HAPPEN)

Holistic Abolition of Prisons and Police Everywhere Now (HAPPEN) is TakeRoot Justice’s criminal justice system reform initiative. The program dates from 2016, when TakeRoot was still part of the Urban Justice Center and, as the name suggests, seeks a relaxation of criminal laws and the defunding of police departments. TakeRoot states, “militarization, incarceration, and policing continue to be the primary tools of state repression to uphold social, economic, and racial oppression.” As such, it supports the defunding of the New York Police Department under the hashtag “#DEFUNDNYPD,” as well as the anti-immigration enforcement Abolish ICE, No New Jails NYC, Marijuana Justice, and National Expungement Week campaigns. 6


Stating that “the immigration system was designed to uphold white supremacy and has used the law to exclude, surveil and punish immigrants of color,” and that it supports “the freedom of movement and migration for all people,” TakeRoot Justice offers “Know Your Rights” training seminars for undocumented immigrants to mitigate against future negative outcomes with immigration authorities. It also provides legal representation for those seeking asylum or in danger of deportation. Its policy advocacy work seeks to relax immigration laws, and it facilitates legal clinics for other organizations that pursue similar work. 7

Financial Services

TakeRoot Justice offers workshops to educate residents and nonprofits against possible predatory lending practices, especially those aimed at lower-income residents. It provides legal assistance against “unlawful” debt collection and deals with employment agency fraud, bail bond fraud, student loans, and identity theft. 8

Logistics and Strategy Assistance

Under the title of “Resource Management,” TakeRoot offers structural and logistical assistance to local organizations and activist groups. It helps organize and coordinate several New York City coalitions, including the tenants’ rights and affordable housing collective Stabilizing NYC (SNYC), the immigration and employment coalition Citywide Immigrant Legal Empowerment Collaborative (CILEC), and low-income legal advocacy group Legal Advocacy Partners (LEAP). In addition to this work, TakeRoot works with politicians and possible funding sources on behalf of its coalition members and partners. 9


Marco Conner DiAquoi is the executive director of TakeRoot Justice. He is the former treasurer of the National Lawyers Guild’s New York City Foundation, and is also the former deputy director and legislative and legal director of the public-transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. DiAqoui also worked as a program and office manager at the Council on International and Public Affairs and is the former operations manager of Scan Global Logistics. 10


  1. “History.” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  2. “Partners.” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  3. “History.” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  4. “Partners.” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  5. “Governance.” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  6. “Holistic Abolition of Prisons and Police Everywhere Now (HAPPEN).” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  7. “Immigrants’ Rights.” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  8. “Consumer Justice.” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  9. “Resource Management.” TakeRoot Justice. Accessed September 4, 2023.
  10. “Marco Conner DiAquoi.” Linkedin. Accessed September 4, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 2019

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Jun Form 990 $6,631,886 $5,771,237 $4,526,842 $2,700,687 N $6,539,655 $79,832 $0 $382,517
    2020 Jun Form 990 $7,454,993 $6,489,487 $2,278,416 $1,312,910 N $7,420,753 $17,418 $0 $0
    2019 Jun Form 990EZ $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

    TakeRoot Justice

    New York, NY