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American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc.

AKA ACLU

New York, NY

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American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc.

Also Known As:
ACLU
Physical Address:
New York, NY 10004 
EIN:
13-6213516
Web URL:
www.aclu.org
Blog URL:
www.aclu.org/blog
Leadership:
Mr. Anthony Romero
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Legitimacy Information

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Fiscal Year Starting: Apr 1, 2012
Fiscal Year Ending: Mar 31, 2013
Revenue
Total Revenue $72,206,201
Expenses
Total Expenses $90,349,039

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Basic Organization Information

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc.

Also Known As:
ACLU
Physical Address:
New York, NY 10004 
EIN:
13-6213516
Web URL:
www.aclu.org 
Blog URL:
www.aclu.org/blog 
NTEE Category:
R Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy 
R60 Civil Liberties Advocacy 
Ruling Year:
1967 

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Mission Statement

Founded in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit, multi-issue, 500,000+ member public interest organization devoted to protecting the basic civil liberties of all people in the United States. Recognized as the nation’s premier public interest law firm, the ACLU works daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.   The ACLU Foundation is the 501 (c)(3) arm of the organization.

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Financial Data

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Revenue and Expenses

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Balance Sheet

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Forms 990 Provided by the Nonprofit

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Financial Statements

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Annual Reports

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Leadership (GuideStar ExchangeThe GuideStar Exchange allows nonprofits to regularly update key information directly to GuideStar. It provides richer and broader information about their programs, impact, finances, people and more. October, 2013)

Mr. Anthony Romero

Profile:

Anthony D. Romero is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation's premier defender of liberty and individual freedom. He took the helm of the organization just four days before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Shortly afterward, the ACLU launched its national Safe and Free campaign to protect basic freedoms during a time of crisis. Under Romero's leadership, the ACLU gained court victories on the Patriot Act, filed landmark litigation on the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody, and filed the first successful legal challenge to the Bush administration's illegal NSA spying program. Romero, an attorney with a history of public interest activism, has presided over the most successful membership growth in the ACLU's history and more than doubled national staff and tripled the budget of the organization since he began his tenure.  He is the ACLU's sixth executive director, and the first Latino and openly gay man to serve in that capacity. Born in New York City to parents who hailed from Puerto Rico, Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. He is a member of the New York Bar Association and has sat on numerous nonprofit boards.

Leadership Statement:

The ACLU stands up for ordinary people, especially the vulnerable. Our reach is unique. We are in every corner of the country, seeking to protect basic rights: fighting on behalf of protesters denied permits to march and immigrants unfairly detained; supporting same sex couples who want to marry or adopt children and the abused woman whose pleas for help are ignored by the police; defending the rights of the prisoner whose repeated rape is ignored by guards and the women who need access to an abortion. Always, we seek to expose the truth of people's real-life experiences, the hidden horrors experienced by those with little or no access to power. That’s why when people’s rights have been violated, the standard response is, "call the ACLU."



Officers for Fiscal Year (IRS Form 990)

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Highest Paid Employees & Their Compensation (IRS Form 990)

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Program: Center for Liberty

Budget:
$8,671,000
Category:
None
Population Served:
Gays/Lesbians
Females, all ages or age unspecified
General Public/Unspecified

Program Description:

The ACLU’s Center for Liberty leads the organization’s critical work on issues of personal freedom, including lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) rights; women’s and reproductive rights; and religious freedom.

Program Long-Term Success:

Ultimately, through public education and changes to the law, we seek to promote personal freedoms, including the right to love, create a family and worship without interference by the government

Program Short-Term Success:

We seek to file cases, conduct advocacy and produce policy reports to spotlight our issues and create local and state movements for change that can serve as models for change elsewhere and spark national discussion, particularly with regard to LGBT rights, abortion rights, and the separation of church and state within public schools.

Program Success Monitored by:

Program success is monitored by the Center Director, Executive Director and Board of Directors.  We annually conduct a strategic review process and measure success based on the extent our work generates favorable examples of media coverage; court decisions; opinions and rulings by international human rights entities; and actions by federal, state and local governments.

Program Success Examples:

Recent successes include: since 2011, blocking approximately 140 bills restricting reproductive health care; successfully challenging Arizona’s new abortion ban, which would criminalize virtually all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy; stopping “personhood initiatives” that would  criminalize contraception as well as abortion;  securing same-sex marriage rights in Washington State and Maryland; winning a federal decision overturning the anti-gay “Defense of Marriage Act”;  winning landmark anti-discrimination case against a Vermont inn that refused to accommodate a same-sex wedding; obtaining new leverage for victims of gender-based violence, including the girl punished by her public school for reporting her rape; and preventing the proselytizing of public school students, such as school assemblies with preachers.

Program: Center for Equality

Budget:
$10,167,000
Category:
None
Population Served:
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General
Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Program Description:

The ACLU’s Center for Equality leads the organization’s innovative work on racial justice, immigrants’ rights and voting rights issues. Priorities include discriminatory school practices targeting poor students of color; racial profiling by law enforcement, including through anti-immigrant laws; the rise of debtors’ prisons; and enforcement of the Voting Rights Acts.

Program Long-Term Success:

Ultimately, we seek to promote the fundamental rights and civil liberties of America’s most vulnerable, including racial minorities, immigrants and the poor through public education and legal and policy changes.

Program Short-Term Success:

We seek to file cases, conduct advocacy and produce policy reports to spotlight our issues and create local and state movements for change that can serve as models for change elsewhere and spark national discussion, particularly around the discrimination against immigrants, criminalization of America's public school classrooms, and thwarting of minority voting rights.

Program Success Monitored by:

Program success is monitored by the Center Director, Executive Director and Board of Directors. We annually conduct a strategic review process and measure success based on the extent our work generates favorable examples of media coverage; court decisions; opinions and rulings by international human rights entities; and actions by federal, state and local governments.

Program Success Examples:

Recent successes include: ongoing challenges to state laws that would block the vote in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Texas, South Carolina, and elsewhere; striking down Florida law that could have criminalized League of Women Voters’ voter registration drives; advocacy to stop purges of eligible voters from voting rolls; spearheading fight against Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, and the “copycat” laws in other states that followed; successful advocacy to obtain nationwide data on race bias in school discipline; securing settlement against police in Texas county who routinely confiscated drivers’ cash and winning federal court ruling against the jailing of poor students for their failure to pay truancy fines.

Program: Center for Justice

Budget:
$7,183,000
Category:
None
Population Served:
Offenders/Ex-offenders
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Program Description:

The ACLU’s Center for Justice leads the organization’s pioneering work on issues of over-incarceration, capital punishment, prisoners’ rights and criminal law reform.

Program Long-Term Success:

Ultimately, we seek public education and systemic change to end excessively harsh crime policies that result in mass incarceration and stand in the way of a just and equal society.

Program Short-Term Success:

We seek to file cases, conduct advocacy and produce policy reports to spotlight our issues and create local and state movements for change that can serve as models for change elsewhere and spark national discussion on the issue of overincarceration.

Program Success Monitored by:

Program success is monitored by the Center Director, Executive Director and Board of Directors. We annually conduct a strategic review process and measure success based on the extent our work generates favorable examples of media coverage; court decisions; opinions and rulings by international human rights entities; and actions by federal, state and local governments.

Program Success Examples:

Recent successes include: helping to end capital punishment in Connecticut and Oregon; winning a landmark settlement against the state of Mississippi, which ended the solitary confinement of juveniles and moved young people out of a notorious juvenile facility where children were not only held in solitary, but beaten to the point of brain damage and routinely raped by staff; and successfully challenging a Florida law requiring poor people to take (and pay for) drug tests before they could receive public assistance.

Program: Center for Democracy

Budget:
$7,600,000
Category:
None
Population Served:
General Public/Unspecified
None
None

Program Description:

The ACLU’s Center for Democracy leads the organization’s pioneering work on national security, human rights, free speech, privacy and technology issues. Priorities include seeking accountability for government-sponsored torture and detention programs and illegal government spying. Our ongoing work includes numerous Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuits to release information that should be public.

Program Long-Term Success:

Ultimately, we seek to promote government transparency and accountability, especially with regard to torture, detainees held without due process and illegal government spying through public education, litigation, advocacy and systemic reform.

Program Short-Term Success:

We seek release of documents sought by our Freedom of Information suits; media coverage of our issues; court rulings that advance our cause; and opinions and rulings by international human rights entities that give us leverage with the U.S. government.

Program Success Monitored by:

Program success is monitored by the Center Director, Executive Director and Board of Directors. We annually conduct a strategic review process and measure success based on the extent our work generates favorable examples of media coverage; court decisions; opinions and rulings by international human rights entities; and actions by government, especially by the President and Presidential agencies, and Congress.

Program Success Examples:

Recent successes include: exposing secret government efforts to track cell phone users; challenging the secrecy of and legal rationale for government’s “targeted killing” program, its secret assassination program; defending Occupy protestors throughout the country; confronting widespread warrantless government surveillance; and securing reforms to address the trafficking of workers employed by U.S. contractors overseas.


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The ACLU pushes the envelope of freedom.  As individuals, groups and movements have struggled to gain rights, the ACLU has joined—and often led—these efforts, bringing our nonpartisan legal expertise to bear.  We led the legal battle against censorship, defending the teaching of evolution and helping to overturn restrictions on birth control information and James Joyce’s Ulysses.  We tackled racism, condemning lynching, documenting discrimination and helping to bring the series of cases that culminated in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court case that put an end to the segregationist doctrine of “separate but equal.”  And our advocacy and impact has extended far beyond the courtroom.  Over fifty years ago, the ACLU developed the first civilian review board for police misconduct—and followed up with the first “know your rights” brochure for people facing arrest.  We published the first documented report on illegal detentions by the police.  Combining our research and advocacy with litigation, we developed the arguments that established ground rules for police conduct in landmark decisions such as Miranda v. Arizona.    While we started out as a room full of visionary activists, today the ACLU encompasses more than half a million members and supporters; almost 300 staff in our national organization (which includes our high-powered Washington Legislative Office and a media-savvy communications department); and staffed offices in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  The national organization and our affiliate network boast nearly 200 staff attorneys, who are supported by thousands of volunteer litigators, giving the ACLU unsurpassed influence and clout.    Among U.S. social justice organizations, the ACLU is unique; we are the only national social justice organization with a state-by-state infrastructure of affiliates, autonomous nonprofit organizations supported by paid administrative and legal staff.  This means we can hit the ground running on virtually any good opportunity to move justice forward on a state-by-state basis.  It also means we have excellent “intelligence”—each of our affiliates is intimately familiar with its state’s political terrain, from the local electorate and key advocacy groups, to the executive, legislative and judicial branches.  Gathering and weighing this intelligence helps ensure our success over the long term, as so many advances in civil liberties occur first at the state level.
For more in-depth information about this organization's impact, view their Charting Impact Report.

Expert Assessment

The ACLU LGBT Rights Project has worked toward legal victories for the LGBT community on the state and federal levels. In addition to litigation work, the ACLU plays a supportive role in legislation as well. Their rich history of litigation and public education has served them well. Read More »
Experts can't seem to say enough to express their support of the ACLU's history of supporting reproductive rights on state and national levels. Aside from noting major policy victories, experts praise the affiliate model as a key driver of the organization's sustained influence in this space. Read More »

Expert Reviews and Comments

2012 Philanthropedia Top Nonprofit

This organization is a 2012 Philanthropedia top nonprofit, recommended by experts as having high impact.

These expert reviews were generated through Philanthropedia's research methodology to identify high-impact nonprofits. Learn more


Evidence of Impact

The ACLU LGBT Rights Project has worked toward legal victories for the LGBT community on the state and federal levels. In addition to litigation work, the ACLU plays a supportive role in legislation as well. Their rich history of litigation and public education has served them well.

Legal Support
The ACLU has taken on several LGBT court cases with positive results. Nonprofit Senior Staff
The ACLU LGBT Rights Project demonstrates its impact in victories in state and federal litigation as well as in federal legislative and administrative work. The project has also had significant impact on specific legislative and policy issues in specific states, for example in the adoption policies in the state of Florida. Nonprofit Senior Staff
ACLU is committed to the legal fight for the LGBT community. Nonprofit Senior Staff
The ACLU has been working for LGBT rights since the 1930s. They have a deep history as well as a multi-tiered approach that includes education and litigation. Nonprofit Senior Staff

Organizational Strengths

Experts point out that the ACLU’s leadership is a strong asset. Their wide presence is another organizational strength. The ACLU has a presence in every state, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The organization's long history and deep expertise gives them a great internal network whose expertise can be drawn on for the ACLU LGBT Rights Project.

Internal Communications
The ACLU LGBT Rights Project, as part of the larger ACLU, has interconnections with the best ideas on so many other civil liberties and civil rights issues affecting all Americans. Also the leadership is very strong. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Strategic
Strengths of the ACLU include its leadership quality and diversity, its operations in the sphere of politics and legalities, and its commitment to strategically addressing the legal concerns of the LGBT community. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Wide Presence
They are the only civil liberties organization with an office in every state, D.C., and Puerto Rico. They have a long history of supporting all civil rights, including LGBT rights, that goes way back to when LGBT rights were almost unheard of. Nonprofit Senior Staff

Areas for Improvement

Experts point out that the ACLU could improve by increasing collaboration and dialogue with faith-based communities. It represents an opportunity to educate allies in legal protocol. One potential problem for the organization is that recent funding cuts have limited their public education efforts and their ability to coordinate with state affiliates.

Connect with Religious Organizations
The ACLU can improve its collaboration with the faith community and not be so hesitant to dialogue with and educate believers about legal protocols. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Limited by Funding Cuts
Funding cuts have limited their ability to provide nationwide support for their education programs and coordination with state affiliates. Nonprofit Senior Staff

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