Urban Justice Center




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $31,213,116
Expenses: $27,537,214
Assets: $30,450,460

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The Urban Justice Center is a left-leaning legal foundation and advocacy organization located in New York City. Urban Justice Center runs legal assistance clinics in concert with the offices of New York City politicians,1 represents sex worker interests in litigation and advocacy,2 and conducts other left-of-center projects. 3

The center was founded in 1984 by Doug Lasdon and has grown to become among the largest social-justice legal organizations in New York and the United States. The organization is funded by prominent left leaning grantmaking foundations and individual donors. 4

Former employees of the center include U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who worked as a UJC staff attorney early in his career. 5


The Urban Justice Center was founded in 1984 by Doug Lasdon, an attorney and Cornell Law School graduate, in East Harlem. Lasdon pioneered the idea of setting up free legal clinics in places like soup kitchens and homeless shelters. While the organization originally focused only on providing legal assistance to the homeless, the scope of the organization has grown. The center now focuses on dozens of issues and campaigns including homelessness, discrimination, civil rights, domestic violence, and prostitution, utilizing a two-pronged approach consisting of legal assistance and advocacy. 6


The Urban Justice Center hosts several legal clinics for various underserved populations on a weekly basis that help with legal issues are located across New York City. Current topics of the Center’s legal clinics include public benefits, housing issues, immigration issues, and family law issues. Some of the Center’s family law clinics take place at the offices of local politicians, including New York City Council Members Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), and Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-Bronx), as well as New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx). 7


The Urban Justice Center currently manages twelve projects that provide litigation, political organizing, and issue advocacy on a specific issue or on behalf of a specific community. One of the most notable initiatives of the center is the Sex Workers Project, which provides legal services and social support to prostitutes and other people engaged in “sex work” in New York City. 8

Other projects of the center include the street vendor project, advocating for the rights of street vendors; the Surveillance Oversight Technology Project, which opposes local and state government surveillance; and the College Athlete Advocacy initiative, which represents athletes with NCAA violations. The organization also runs initiatives around LGBT interests, immigration asylum sanctuaries, expanding access to public benefits, and others. 9

While most of the center’s projects and initiatives are focused on New York City, some programs have a national or international reach, such as the International Refugee Assistance Project. 10


  1. “Our Clinics”. Urban Justice Center. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  2. “About.” Sex Workers Project. Urban Justice Center. Accessed April 6, 2020.
  3. “Initiatives”. Urban Justice Center. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  4. “Urban Justice Center”. Idealist. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  5. “Cory Booker”. Urban Justice Center. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  6. “About Us”. Urban Justice Center. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  7. “Our Clinics”. Urban Justice Center. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  8. “About.” Sex Workers Project. Urban Justice Center. Accessed April 6, 2020.
  9. “Initiatives”. Urban Justice Center. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  10. “Urban Justice Center: Grants Database”. Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Accessed March 29, 2020.

Donation Recipients

  1. Worth Rises (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1991

  • 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
    2017 Jun Form 990 $31,213,116 $27,537,214 $30,450,460 $6,311,985 N $29,813,721 $484,684 $244,847 $745,929 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $18,139,416 $17,582,450 $24,458,178 $4,374,047 N $16,313,628 $852,312 $115,248 $747,102
    2015 Jun Form 990 $14,786,127 $13,885,641 $22,006,746 $2,428,515 N $11,287,471 $1,433,842 $114,635 $711,525 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $15,347,771 $10,164,293 $19,630,237 $642,183 N $13,386,340 $1,013,230 $95,485 $685,280 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $9,201,878 $9,670,005 $16,984,932 $3,624,860 N $7,166,875 $836,004 $89,932 $0 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $8,998,451 $8,324,263 $17,094,423 $3,613,471 N $6,093,066 $957,785 $114,762 $166,276 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Urban Justice Center

    NEW YORK, NY 10006-1732