Policy Solutions that Work for Low-income People

aka CLASP   |   WASHINGTON, DC   |


CLASP is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty nonprofit advancing policy solutions for low-income people. We develop practical yet visionary strategies for reducing poverty, promoting economic opportunity, and addressing barriers faced by people of color. With 50 years' experience at the federal, state, and local levels, we're fighting back in today's threatening political climate while advancing our vision for the future.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Dr. Olivia Golden

Main address

1310 L Street, NW Suite 900


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NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Through our national, state and local policy advocacy efforts, CLASP seeks to address poverty and racial inequities impacting low-income individuals, families, and communities.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Strengthening Children, Youth, and Families

We advocate for investments in programs that help children, youth, and families thrive.  Our primary areas of focus are child care and early education, child welfare, youth, and temporary assistance. Among other major initiatives, we manage the Campaign for Youth coalition.

Population(s) Served

We work to build pathways that connect low-income people to the education and training they need to advance. Current areas of focus are post-secondary and economic success, basic skills and workforce training, reconnecting youth, employment strategies, work/life & job quality, and work supports.  Much of this work takes place under the umbrella of our Center on Postsecondary and Economic Success.

Population(s) Served

We advocate for policies that alleviate poverty and promote justice and equal opportunity.  Part of this program focuses on civil legal assistance, including serving as legal counsel to civil legal aid community around the country. The other part of this work centers on poverty and opportunity, most notably through our management of Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas, and Action, a foundation-led initiative intended to ensure poverty reduction is part of the public discourse.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Ranked #2 in National Workforce Development Organizations 2010


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

• Preventing reductions in funding or eligibility cuts to key low-income programs, including preventing adoption of deficit reduction mechanisms or changes to funding structures (e.g. block grants) that would likely lead to such cuts
• Preserving the improvements we helped achieve in refundable tax credits, higher education, unemployment insurance, and other program expansions.
• Increasing attention by policymakers and others to poverty and opportunity, and understanding of the role that government programs can play in reducing hardship, promoting work, and promoting long-term well-being, opportunity and economic growth.

• Ensuring that low-income families have access to affordable, high-quality child care and early education programs for their young children through increased investments.

• Increasing and better targeting resources to expand opportunities for disconnected youth.

• Improving and better funding adult education and workforce programs, and aligning policies to create on-ramps to postsecondary credentials and good jobs for low-income and disadvantaged individuals, including those receiving cash assistance.

• Ensuring that low-income adults and out-of-school youth have access to student financial aid for postsecondary education.

• Increasing support for federal, state, and local legislation to guarantee paid sick days and other job quality improvements.

• Advancing reforms of the child welfare system and its coordination with other systems to ensure safety, stability, permanency and well-being for all children.

• Improving cross-program coordination and removing barriers to participation in income and work support programs, and leveraging the opportunities for system improvement provided by implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

• Increasing the focus on interventions in policy and practice that can reduce the disparities in education and labor market outcomes for youth of color.

• CLASP provides thought leadership to create and stimulate new approaches to address the problems of low-income people. We develop new ways of thinking about problems such as using career pathways as a strategy for workforce development and postsecondary education. We also propose key additions to existing thinking such as the idea of combining access to public benefits with community college financial aid systems.
• We advance our work through a racial equity lens.
- We engage in federal policy advocacy before Congress, the White House and departments and agencies. In addition to lobbying Congress, departments and the White House, CLASP undertakes policy analysis, synthesis of research, policy research, preparation of reports, papers and studies, and data analysis.
• We implement federal policy. We do this by (1) preparing analyses and guides, some of which are detailed and comprehensive and others are short and specific; (2) providing technical assistance by phone, e-mail, and on-site; (3) making presentations at state and local levels; and (4) setting out state options and arguments for adopting them. We are effective because we have knowledge of the intricacies of federal policy and what can be done legally.
• We engage in state and local policy development and advocacy. We use similar techniques to federal work including policy analysis, synthesis of research, advocacy, educating about and promoting best practices, and data analysis. We are effective because we have knowledge of how programs work and their problems and what practical and workable solutions exist.
• We convene and manage coalitions. We chair, co-chair, or actively participate in many national coalitions. We use coalitions to develop broad consensus on policy and bring a united front to the federal decision making table. We often subsume our role to highlight that of the coalition.
• We develop messages and communications to elevate an issue and highlight a problem. We do this by creating publications and reports and videos, presenting in many forums, and participating in many coalitions and initiatives.
• We promote systems change at the state and local level to help move from individual funding and program silos to more integrated delivery systems. We do this by (1) preparing papers, reports and analyses; (2) providing technical assistance to state and localities; and (3) advocating for change with administrators, legislators, executives, and advocacy groups. We collaborate with research and evaluation entities and participate in collaborative forums, convenings and coalitions.
• We manage initiatives supported by foundations that involve funding others and overseeing the work of the initiative such as the Benefits Access for College Completion and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. We are asked to manage initiatives because of our deep knowledge of the policies and practices, effectiveness of our assistance, and our skills in management.

As a nonpartisan organization, our only bias is what's best for low-income people and families. We enjoy strong, productive relationships with members of both parties, and our expertise on the nuts and bolts of the political process allows us to advance practical, common sense policies despite a contentious environment. CLASP also recognizes that poverty can only be reduced if we attack all its interconnected causes at the same time. That's why the scope of our work is so broad. We fight to give low-income children the best possible start in life. We work to provide families the temporary or long-term cash assistance they need to ensure stability at home. We advocate for the changes needed to reconnect those youth and young adults who aren't engaged in school or work. And we create pathways for children and adults to good jobs that lift them out of poverty and promote balance in their work and family lives, driving economic growth and creating thriving communities.

CLASP uses an advocacy model that integrates federal and state policy work and promotes community involvement and collaboration. We work widely with other leading advocacy groups and provide technical assistance and data-driven information to those who make policy and implement programs (including Members of Congress, federal and state agency staff, state legislators, program administrators, and community service providers). By working at the federal, state and local levels, we become valued advisors, feeding information between these levels of government. This holistic approach ensures we have the right relationships at every level, both in government and communities, to create, implement, and evaluate sound policies that advance the interests of low-income people and create pathways to opportunity.

Recently, CLASP has worked tirelessly in a variety of issues, working on multiple levels to help low-income individuals.

CLASP was an active participant in the SAVE for All campaign to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction, while supporting critical investments in our economy and safety net programs. We wrote numerous articles explaining the fiscal cliff and the sequester, and what was at stake in the federal negotiations, which were posted on the CLASP website, and at Huffington Post. We wrote and disseminated a policy brief, At Risk: Early Care and Education Funding and Sequestration, explaining the potential impact of sequestration.

We worked in partnership with a coalition including The Institute for College Access and Success, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, The Education Trust, Young Invincibles, and other organizations to educate Congressional staff about the harmful effects for low-income students— including working adults — of potential budget cuts to Pell grant program. In this regard, we co-authored one-pagers and conducted well over two dozen calls and meetings with Hill staff.

We worked with several organizations including Jobs for the Future, AACC, ACCT, state adult education directors, and NASFAA (student aid administrators) to educate Congressional staff on the harmful effects of the elimination of the “ability-to-benefit" student aid eligibility provision on low-income lower-skilled students and innovative approaches like career pathway bridge programs to help them earn postsecondary credentials.

We co-hosted with partner organizations audio conferences for state policymakers and advocates including How State and Local Advocates Stopped Cutbacks and Achieved Successes highlighting successful state advocacy efforts in New Jersey, Idaho, and New York. We worked with advocates in several states including California, Maine, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as they battled proposed cuts to state child care and early education funding.

CLASP will continue to work to minimize harm to low-income programs caused by cuts to federal funding through the FY 2013 continuing resolution and appropriations spending bill, the FY 2014 budget resolutions and appropriations bills, and longer-term spending agreements. We will educate the public and state and local policymakers and advocates on the implications of proposals, and provide technical assistance in responding to the cuts that do occur.

If program rules change, we will analyze and share information on what the legislation does; what options and choices states have on implementation; and how to implement the legislation in ways that prevent long-term costs to vulnerable populations including low-income kids and families. We will continue to highlight effective and promising practices from other states and share information needed to replicate such models.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 9/24/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

LaVeeda Battle

Battle Law Firm, LLC

Term: 2019 -


President, MDC, Inc.


Constitutional Accountability Center


Battle Law Firm, LLC, Esq.


Georgetown University Law Center


Principal, The Raben Group


Partner, GMMB


Executive Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth


President & CEO, Monarch Global Strategies LLC


Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Lisa Brown

Vice President & General Counsel at Georgetown University

Jamira Burley

Head of Youth Engagement and Skills, Global Business Coalition for Education

John Bouman

Director, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Steven Dow

Executive Director, CAP Tulsa

Thomas Kahn

Director, Legislative Affairs American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)

Sunil Mansukhani

Principal The Raben Group

Edward Montgomery

President, Western Michigan University



Carisa Stanley

First Vice President for Commercial Real Estate Amalgamated Bank

Angela Diaz

Director of Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center

Jarrett Barrios

Senior Vice President of Strategic Community & Programmatic Initiatives California Community Foundation

Gene Nichol

Professor of Law University of North Carolina

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 09/24/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/24/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.