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Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Organization Name provided in the GuideStar Exchange* as of 07/31/2014: Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

Organization Name as listed in the IRS Business Master File as of 09/08/2014: LAMBDA LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND INC

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AKA  Lambda Legal
New York, NY
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GuideStar Summary

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&1002; Registered with IRS Legitimacy information is available
&1002; Evidence of Impact Expert Assessment and Reviews available
&1002; Financial Data Annual Revenue and Expense data reported
&1002; Forms 990 2013, 2012, and 2011 Forms 990 filed with the IRS
&1002; Mission Objectives Mission Statement is available
&1002; Impact Summary Impact Summary from the nonprofit is available
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Basic Organization Information

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Organization Name provided in the GuideStar Exchange* as of 07/31/2014: Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

Organization Name as listed in the IRS Business Master File as of 09/08/2014: LAMBDA LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND INC

* The 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.
Also Known As: Lambda Legal
Physical Address: New York, NY 10005 3919
EIN: 23-7395681
Web URL: www.lambdalegal.org 
Blog URL: www.facebook.com/lambdalegal 
NTEE Category: R Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy
R26 Lesbian/Gay Rights
W Public, Society Benefit
W01 Alliance/Advocacy Organizations
I Crime, Legal Related
I83 Public Interest Law/Litigation
Ruling Year: 1974 


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Mission Statement

Lambda Legal is a national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people (LGBT) and all people living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.

Legitimacy Information

This organization is registered with the IRS.

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

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Annual Revenue & Expenses

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Fiscal Year Starting: November 1, 2012
Fiscal Year Ending: October 31, 2013

Total Revenue $22,064,202
Total Expenses $21,023,115

Revenue & Expenses

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Fiscal Year Starting: November 1, 2012
Fiscal Year Ending: October 31, 2013

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Balance Sheet (IRS Form 990)

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Forms 990 Provided by the Nonprofit

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Financial Statements

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Leadership

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Kevin Cathcart

Profile:

Kevin M. Cathcart, J.D. has served as Lambda Legal's Executive Director since 1992. Mr. Cathcart is considered a leading strategist and spokesperson for lesbian and gay civil rights movement. Since taking the helm in 1992, Mr. Cathcart has overseen the opening of Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago in 1993, a Southern Regional Office in Atlanta in 1997, and a South Central Regional Office in Dallas in 2003. Under Mr. Cathcart's stable leadership, Lambda Legal's staff has more than tripled, and the organization's budget has grown to over $10 million. A longtime leader in the lesbian and gay community, Mr. Cathcart served from 1984 to 1992 as the Executive Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in Boston--New England's lesbian, gay and HIV legal organization. Prior to GLAD, Mr. Cathcart was a staff attorney at the North Shore Children's Law Project. He has served on the boards of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Community Works (the nation's fourth-largest social action fund), and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. Kevin Cathcart graduated from Richard Stockton State College (New Jersey) in 1976 and the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1978. He received his J.D. from Northeastern School of Law in 1982.

Leadership Statement:

- At Lambda Legal, we never lose our focus on equality. Our legal and educational work continues to make a difference and to make history, year after year. Our experienced attorneys choose cases strategically and build our legal arguments carefully over time. The landmark victory in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 reversed a devastating antigay Supreme Court decision from 17 years earlier. Lambda Legal’s victory had an impact on the personal lives of millions of gay men and lesbians who no longer had to fear that their sexual activity was considered criminal conduct. And the decision had an enormous impact on the law, upholding the fundamental liberty for consenting adults to choose who to love and with whom to share sexual intimacy.   The stories we continue to hear and the courageous people we represent, 35 years and running, remind us that, in spite of our progress, discrimination against LGBT people and people with HIV continues to be devastating to individuals, families and communities. Our vision about how to make the case for equality is broad, but it is always focused on making the greatest possible impact. We have a talented, dedicated staff and board of directors, and tens of thousands of supporters and friends across the country. That’s how we keep moving forward, focused on winning as we make the case for equality.

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Board Leadership Practices (GuideStar Exchange,
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July 2014)
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GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

Board Orientation & Education ?
Why does this matter? Without clarity around their responsibilities and expectations, board members are not positioned to succeed. They may find themselves challenged to fulfill their governance responsibilities or frustrated by the expectations that the organization has set for them. BoardSource recommends that every new board member participate in a formal orientation process, and that all board members sign a pledge or agreement committing to their board service and to all of the responsibilities and expectations that come with service. Ideally, board members also should participate in a formal governance training program prior to serving on a board.

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 ?
Why does this matter? Oversight and management of the chief executive is one of the board’s most important legal responsibilities. The CEO or executive director is the board's single employee, and - just like any other employer/employee relationship - regular and written assessment is critical to ensuring that the chief executive and board are communicating openly about goals and performance. BoardSource recommends that boards conduct formal, written reviews of their chief executives on an annual basis, which should include an in-person discussion with the chief executive and distribution of the written evaluation to the full board.

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Yes
Ethics & Transparency ?
Why does this matter? A commitment to handling conflicts of interests is essential to creating an organizational culture of transparency. Boards should create and follow a policy for identifying and handling conflicts of interest, whether real or perceived. BoardSource recommends that organizations review the conflict-of-interest statement and require signed disclosures from all board members and senior staff on an annual basis.

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements within the past year?
Yes
Board Composition ?
Why does this matter? The best boards are composed of individuals who bring a variety of skills, perspectives, backgrounds, and resources to tackle the complex and strategic challenges confronting their organizations. BoardSource recommends that boards commit to diversity and inclusion by establishing written policies and practices, which include strategic and intentional recruitment of diverse board members, continual commitment to inclusivity, and equal access to board leadership opportunities.

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Yes
Board Performance ?
Why does this matter? Boards need to regularly assess their own performance. Doing so ensures that they are being intentional about how they govern their organization, which is a critical component of effective board leadership. BoardSource recommends that a board conduct a self-assessment of its performance a minimum of once every three years to ensure that it is staying on track with its roles and responsibilities.

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?
Yes

Officers for Fiscal Year (IRS Form 990)

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People information was last updated by the nonprofit in July 2014

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Programs

Program: Marriage Project (GuideStar Exchange,
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July 2014)

Budget:
$8,431,888
Category:
Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy
Population Served:
Gays/Lesbians
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Program Description:

Lambda Legal's Marriage Project is committed to securing public respect for solemnized same-sex unions, to win civil marriage equality for same-sex couples in targeted states, and to protect all same-sex couples when marriage equality is not an option.

Program Long-Term Success:

Lambda Legal's Marriage Project will continue to seek an end to discrimination in access to civil marriage so that same-sex couples in this country have the same choices other couples have, including whether or not to marry.

Program Short-Term Success:

Lambda Legal helped launch one of the largest and most significant chapters in the LGBT movement for equality in 1993 when we entered into the case Baehr v. Miike seeking marriage equality before Hawaii’s highest court.  Since then, Lambda Legal's Marriage Project has been involved in on-going courtroom work in California and Iowa, as well as critical “out-of-court” advocacy occurring in New Jersey, New York, Illinois and Maryland, among other states.

Program Success Monitored by:

The Marriage Project is lead by Lambda Legal’s senior council, Jenny Pizer. Since joining Lambda Legal, Jenny has served as co-counsel in the intensive marriage equality litigation in both Washington State and California, which led to the historic In re Marriage Cases victory in May 2008, and now is co-counsel in Strauss v. Horton, the LGBT community's challenge to Proposition 8, the November 2008 ballot measure that purported to change California's Constitution to eliminate gay and lesbian couples' fundamental right to marry. Jenny often advises policymakers on protecting same-sex couples and their families. Outside California, Pizer has helped secure victories that have advanced LGBT civil rights in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska. She is a frequent advocate for LGBT family equality in academic and public settings and to the media. She repeatedly has been named one of the top women litigators in California by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal, and has received numerous professional achievement and community service awards.

Program Success Examples:

Along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project helped in the California Supreme Court case that resulted in full marriage equality for California’s same-sex couples on May 15, 2008.  Lambda Legal is also working with these sisters organization to overthrow Proposition 8 in California, a voter imitative passed in November 2008 that took away same-sex couples’ right to marry in the state. Oral argument for this case, Strauss v. Horton, were heard by the California Supreme Court on March 5, 2009 and a final decision in pending.  The Marriage Project also has a case pending in the Iowa Supreme Court to extend full civil marriage equality to same-sex couples in Iowa. The case was heard by the court in December 2008, with a final decision to come sometime in 2009. The Marriage Project has also been working with the state based equality organization One Iowa to advance public education on marriage equality and build support for a positive court verdict Our work in New York was particularly promising since marriages cannot be legally recognized in that state, but thanks to the Marriage Project’s strategic case work and a gubernatorial decree, legal marriages performed in other jurisdictions are recognized as valid in the state Lambda Legal won a declaration from the New Jersey Supreme Court in the case Lewis v. Harris, which stated barring same-sex couples from the rights and benefits of marriage violated the constitutional promise of equality. The court gave the New Jersey Legislature a deadline of 180 days to correct the violation, and the legislature chose to create the separate status of civil unions. As a result, Lambda Legal created a Civil Union Watch to monitor that couples entering into New Jersey civil unions were receiving the same rights as marriages couples.

Program: Proyecto Igualdad (GuideStar Exchange,
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July 2014)

Budget:
$8,431,888
Category:
Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy
Population Served:
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- Other Specified Group
Hispanics
Gays/Lesbians

Program Description:

Proyecto Igualdad extends Lambda Legal's resources and information to Spanish speakers and seeks to engage the many Latino/Hispanic communities. We provide bilingual educational materials, host community events and trainings and offer bilingual legal assistance through our Help Desks around the country.

Program Long-Term Success:

Proyecto Igualdad works toward the following objectives: (1) Strengthen Lambda Legal’s existing initiatives and tactics to place accessible civil rights information into the hands of LGBT Latinos nationwide; (2) establish and strengthen the links between Lambda Legal and national, state or local LGBT Latino/a organizations; (3) identify and establish organizational links between Lambda Legal and legal and/or mainstream organizations that predominantly serve Latino/a populations; (4) work with national coalition partners to increase the coverage of LGBT Latino/a civil rights issues in the Latino/a and Spanish-language press.

Program Short-Term Success:

Proyecto will continue to educate and engage members of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), which represents the interests of more than 100,000 attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, and law students. Proyecto has led legal educational seminars on LGBT rights at HNBA conferences and created the HNBA’s first LGBT Caucus. Proyecto remains instrumental in helping to formalize and activate the caucus.    Proyecto will continue to develop strategies to engage members of Latino/a communities in meaningful dialogue about LGBT and HIV issues. For example Proyecto is creating a training curriculum to educate Latino/as about the diverse faces of LGBT Latino/as as a means to counteract the homophobia and transphobia.

Program Success Monitored by:

Lambda Legal's lead communiyt educator, Francisco Duenas, organizes and spearheads all of Proyecto Igualdad's work.  As such, he helps create and implement Lambda Legal's Latino-specific public education campaigns aimed at persuading and challenging the Latino public to be supportive of our cases and the expansion of civil rights for LGBT people and people with HIV. Francisco also reports back to Lambda Legal on the needs of Latino LGBT and HIV-positive communities across the country.

Program Success Examples:

During the coalition efforts to defeat Proposition 8 in California, Proyecto helped plan community events, identified and trained Latino/a spokespeople, planned and executed outreach to Spanish language media, and helped translate educational resources into Spanish.   Proyecto worked with partner organizations to create the Latino/a Coalition for Justice/Los Angeles. This effort is the only Latino/a collaborative effort on LGBT issues in Los Angeles and is a powerful tool for increasing support within the Latino/a LGBT and HIV rights communities in the city.   Proyecto has also implemented agency-wide efforts to improve or translate Lambda Legal’s core educational materials for LGBT Latino/as.

Program: Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project (GuideStar Exchange,
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July 2014)

Budget:
$8,431,888
Category:
Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy
Population Served:
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Homeless
Gays/Lesbians

Program Description:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people are in America's child welfare and juvenile justice systems in disproportionate numbers. According to the Lambda Legal report Youth in the Margins, one of every 10 to 20 adolescents in out-of-home care is lesbian or gay, and the National Network of Runaway and Youth Services estimates that 20 to 40 percent of young people who become homeless each year are lesbian, gay or bisexual. And yet, very few state foster care agencies maintain policies prohibiting discrimination against foster care youth on the basis of sexual orientation or require training for foster parents or foster care staff on sensitivity to LGBTQ youth. As a result, LGBT youth in care services often face neglect, discrimination and abuse at the hands of the child welfare systems charged to protect them.

Program Long-Term Success:

The Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project’s future work will entail: 1) taking on impact litigation to protect and defend the rights of at-risk LGBTQ youth in care as needed; 2)  working in coalition with allies to advocate on behalf of individual teens or all out-of-home LGBTQ youth collectively; 3) providing direct technical assistance to public and private agencies to eliminate discriminatory practices that adversely affect low-income, at-risk LGBTQ youth in care; and 4) delivering educational programs and materials on the rights of LGBTQ youth in care to child welfare practitioners, foster parents, court personnel and youth advocates.

Program Short-Term Success:

In 2008, the Project formed two new collaborative partnerships with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). With help from the Project’s team and funding by Wellspring Advisors, NASW is leading a Train The Trainer initiative to improve how services are delivered to LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care and plans to educate 40 Master Trainers who have each pledged to train at least 40 more service providers. To further a systemic change in the treatment of LGBTQ youth in care, the Project is also teaming with CSWE on a survey intended to diagnose how schools of social work are training future care providers to deal with the needs of LGBTQ youth. The Project will work alongside CSWE to structure the final report to include suggestions on how schools of social work can improve their students’ competence to care for LGBTQ youth.   Along with allied organizations, the Project will work to lead the federal government to improve existing policies or create new policies to protect LGBTQ youth in care. Lambda Legal will also continue to manage the National Advisory Network (NAN) a network of social workers and other services providers who are concerned with the state of out-of-home care for LGBTQ youth, which was created in collaboration with CWLA.  With a 200 plus membership, the group will sustain and increase the dialogue about LGBTQ youth in care. Project’s attorneys will also continue to oversee a special telephone hotline that LGBTQ youth in care can call to ask questions about their legal rights and/or to seek help in solving a particular problem related to their care. A staple of the Project’s work is presenting at national and regional conferences, lectures, workshops and summits focused on youth in care.

Program Success Monitored by:

Lambda Legal’s Senior Council, Susan Sommer, is the director of the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project. Susan led a historic joint partnership between Lambda Legal and the Child Welfare League of America that will make LGBT youth a clear priority for state and local children's agencies around the country.

Program Success Examples:

Lambda Legal and CWLA sponsored 13 regional “listening forums” nationwide so out-of-home LGBTQ youth could vocalize their struggles to caseworkers. The 600+ child welfare practitioners that attended the forums were astounded by the frank testimony of these adolescents, and many of these professionals now help Lambda Legal to educate their colleagues about the needs of out-of-home LGBTQ youth living in foster care, homeless shelters and juvenile justice systems across the United States. Lambda Legal and the  Sylvia Rivera Law Project brought a lawsuit on behalf of a transgender youth denied appropriate medical care while she lived in the custody of New York’s foster care system. Following a positive victory, Lambda Legal worked to ensure that New York State Office of Children and Family Services enforced a non-discrimination policy based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.   Lambda Legal provided support to Puerto Rico’s Office of Child and Family Services (ADFAN) to improve the quality of care it offers to LGBTQ youth. We urged ADFAN case workers to acknowledge and accept young people’s sexual orientation rather than trying to change it, and pushed for the institution to prohibit negative behaviors towards LGBTQ people. Child welfare officials from several states, including Rhode Island, Arizona, Wisconsin, Hawaii, New York, Nevada, California, Illinois, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, have approached Lambda Legal over the past seven years, seeking technical assistance on issues that impact out-of-home LGBTQ teens.

Program: HIV Project (GuideStar Exchange,
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July 2014)

Budget:
$8,431,888
Category:
Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy
Population Served:
People With Aids (pwas)
Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified
Gays/Lesbians

Program Description:

Lambda Legal’s HIV Project has helped maintain or expand protections across the country for people living with HIV by pursuing impact litigation, education and advocacy to combat bias and stereotypes and to ensure that people are treated fairly by employers, health care providers and others. We also apply our legal expertise to policy issues affecting people living with HIV — including HIV testing, collection of private information about behaviors and sexual partners, access to medical care and treatment and HIV prevention.

Program Long-Term Success:

The HIV Project work's toward the following objectives: 1) combat discrimination, bias and stigma, and advance and protect the legal rights of people living with HIV through advocacy and litigation; 2) guarantee access to quality healthcare for people with HIV through advocacy and litigation; 3) promote and protect effective prevention programs through advocacy and litigation; 4) advocate for the equal treatment of people living with HIV in additional areas, such as protecting confidentiality of HIV status, ensuring access to medically accurate information, protecting parental rights, protecting the rights of immigrants with HIV, and protecting the rights of prisoners with HIV; and 5) expand the HIV Project’s influential role on HIV issues with the public, other advocacy groups, policy makers, and the mainstream media and use our knowledge and experience to educate the public and policymakers on HIV discrimination and HIV myths.

Program Short-Term Success:

In the immediate future, the HIV Project will take the following actions: pursue impact litigation to guarantee access by people living with HIV to quality health care and disability protections; work with the new presidential administration and Congress to advocate for changes needed to protect the civil rights of people living with HIV; monitor the expansion of HIV testing; monitor the Social Security Administration’s treatment of people disabled by HIV; remove barriers for HIV travelers entering the U.S.; enforce the ADA Amendments Act; stop public and private Insurers from limiting treatment to people living with HIV; act as a resource for national and local HIV advocates; and protecting the rights of incarcerated people living with HIV.

Program Success Monitored by:

The HIV Project is headed by Lambda Legal’s senior council, Bebe Anderson. Before joining Lambda Legal’s HIV Project, Bebe served as co-executive director for the HIV Law Project, and before that she worked for the Center of Reproductive Rights.

Program Success Examples:

Spanning all three decades of the AIDS epidemic, Lambda Legal achieved the follow milestones: 1) filed the first AIDS discrimination lawsuit in 1983, to prevent a doctor from being evicted because he was treating patients with HIV. This case set an important precedent, establishing important rights for people living with HIV in the early years of the epidemic; 2) helped to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to extend the protections in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to persons with asymptomatic HIV; 3) successfully stopped insurers’ efforts to place a cap on AIDS related treatments; 4) persuaded the federal Veterans Administration and some state Medicaid programs to revise overly restrictive policies which limited access to vitally needed organ transplants for people living with HIV; 5) convinced the US State Department to drop its blanket ban on hiring people with HIV, which it did in 2008 after our five year legal battle against the federal government (Taylor v. Rice).

Program: Health Care Fairness (GuideStar Exchange,
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July 2014)

Budget:
$8,431,888
Category:
Health Care
Population Served:
Gays/Lesbians
People With Aids (pwas)
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Program Description:

LGBT people and people living with HIV face particular heath challenges and difficulties obtaining appropriate health care due to hostility and discrimination. Difficulties in obtaining health care and health insurance can be especially devastating for those already most vulnerable, including those with limited income, newer immigrants, those who speak limited English, those with less education, many people of color, and many seniors.   Lambda Legal helps LGBT people and people with HIV fight back when they are in lawfully denied coverage or care or when their relationships or health care choices are not given the respect they’re entitled to under the law.

Program Long-Term Success:

Lambda Legal’s long-term Health Care Fairness objectives include: 1) pursue litigation, policy development, public education, advocacy and media opportunities to strengthen and enforce regulations protecting LGBT people and those living with HIV in health care institutions; 2) secure equal recognition of same-sex partnerships in hospital visitation policies, nursing home and assisted living facilities, and medical decision making including end-of-life care; 3) secure equal coverage for domestic partners through heath insurance and heath plans; 4) eliminate discriminatory transgender exclusions in insurance policies and Medicaid/care plans; 5) and engage in health care policy reform at the national level by advocating for LGBT and HIV heath care issues to be addressed by the federal government.

Program Short-Term Success:

Lambda Legal is currently involved in various Health Care Fairness court case. In one case, Langbehn v. Jackson Memorial Hospital, Lambda Legal is challenging a hospital's decision to keep a lesbian from visiting her dying partner.  This case illustrates the need for hospitals to recognize the legitimacy of same-sex relationships so that loved ones are not kept apart at a time when they most need each other. Furthermore, hospitals are fully responsible for adhering to national standards for accreditation and should be held liable if those standards are not met.  In addition to courtroom work, Lambda Legal’s community educators are working on a Heath Care Fairness Campaign - a national campaign combining advocacy, public education, and grassroots mobilization - to bring awareness to the everyday discrimination LGBT and HIV positive people face from health care providers and institutions. This multifaceted campaign will include the following actions: (1) conduct a national survey to gather statistics about the types of healthcare discriminations LGBT and HIV communities face; (2) with the help of allied health care fairness organizations, advocate to the federal government to advance policies that will end bias and discriminatory behavior against members of the LGBT communities; (3) partner with national and local allied organizations to develop public education around health care fairness and implement tools to mobilize citizens to take action for policy changes that support LGBT and HIV rights; (4) create a draft policy for hospitals to consider for “end of life care” and “family recognition” that is inclusive of same-sex partners and sensitive to the needs of LGBT people; and (5) use allied partnerships and grassroots mobilization to create support for Lambda Legal’s health care fairness litigation.

Program Success Monitored by:

Program Success Examples:

In the case Benitez v. North Coast Women's Care Medical Group, Lambda Legal secured a victory from the California Supreme Court that states health care providers cannot use their religious beliefs to deny services to patients.    Lambda Legal has also recently filed a case on women who was denied surgery by her doctor because of her HIV status. As a result, the women had to wait several months before she could have the surgery from another health care provider.   Lambda Legal has also published a life planning tool-kit, a portion of which is designed to help same-sex partners protect themselves in a hospital setting by preparing legal documents in advance.

Program: Workplace Fairness (GuideStar Exchange,
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July 2014)

Budget:
--
Category:
None
Population Served:
None
None
None

Program Description:

Program Long-Term Success:

Program Short-Term Success:

Program Success Monitored by:

Program Success Examples:

Program: Transgender Rights (GuideStar Exchange,
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July 2014)

Budget:
--
Category:
None
Population Served:
None
None
None

Program Description:

Program Long-Term Success:

Program Short-Term Success:

Program Success Monitored by:

Program Success Examples:

Program: Government Misconduct (GuideStar Exchange,
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Budget:
--
Category:
None
Population Served:
None
None
None

Program Description:

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Impact Summary from the Nonprofit

At Lambda Legal, we imagine a different world — a world of full equality for LGBT people and people living with HIV — and we work to create that world every day. We pursue impact litigation, education and advocacy to make the case for equality in courtrooms across the country and in the court of public opinion.   Our legal and educational work touches nearly every aspect of our lives. We win legal victories for clients who seek equality on the job, protection for their parenting or relationship rights, equal access to health care or protection against discrimination because of HIV status, sexual orientation or gender identity. We also represent clients in cases involving immigration, military service, the rights of students in school and the rights of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care.   Lambda Legal's work ultimately benefits all people, for it helps to fashion a society that is truly diverse and tolerant. Our mission to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV status in this country has become an intrinsic part of the struggle for equal rights.

Expert Assessment

Lambda Legal is a national civil rights organization that works to bring about LGBT equality through litigation-based advocacy. They support individuals by taking on lawsuits and by offering legal aid through their hotline. Lambda Legal has also taken on large, precedent-setting cases that cover topics ranging from fair treatment for hate crime victims to marriage equality and school safety. Their strategic approach to litigation and strong track record have brought about significant victories for the LGBT community. 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

Lambda Legal is a national civil rights organization that works to bring about LGBT equality through litigation-based advocacy. They support individuals by taking on lawsuits and by offering legal aid through their hotline. Lambda Legal has also taken on large, precedent-setting cases that cover topics ranging from fair treatment for hate crime victims to marriage equality and school safety. Their strategic approach to litigation and strong track record have brought about significant victories for the LGBT community.

Litigation Advocacy
Their impact is evident in their legal victories. Foundation Professional
Consistent, high-level litigation with high impact and many successful outcomes. Provides legislative drafting and policy expertise to other organizations. Excellent collegial practices—convening and collaborating with other organizations and sharing expertise. Part of an informal consortium of LGBT litigation groups that work hard to move everyone forward together. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Their impact is evident in their historical impact litigation, striking down sodomy laws, fighting ballot initiatives that would strip LGBT individuals of civil rights, and upholding marriage equality. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda Legal works in class action litigation. Nonprofit Senior Staff
From their litigation work, working with other communities such as the lesbian and transgender communities. Foundation Professional
Lambda Legal has some of the top strategic thinkers in the LGBT movement who are creating policy and litigation decisions that impact thousands of people every day. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda is the primary national LGBT civil rights organization. They take cases to court and fight bigotry through the justice system in all states. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda Legal has secured legal protections for transgender people, the freedom to marry in Iowa and California, and civil unions in New Jersey, among other accomplishments. Its public education work has increased public understanding of the rights of LGBT people significantly. And its victory in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 was a signal of accomplishment for LGBT rights. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda Legal has been victorious in numerous lawsuits that have advanced the cause of LGBT rights. From first amendment rights (a teacher was threatened with suspension if he wore a T-shirt with the slogan "Jesus was not a homophobe") to recognition of same-sex couples (e.g., requiring that the wife of a lesbian tenant be included on a lease for purposes of rent control), to fighting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and more. Lambda has racked up the victories. Nonprofit Senior Staff
I have known many friends who have turned to Lambda Legal when they were in need of legal help or advice relating to an LGBT issue. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda Legal provides thousands of people with legal resources through their help desks. This resource is unique and is an important information-sharing tool to ensure that LGBT people throughout the US are aware of their legal rights and can seek the legal help that they need to protect their families, keep their jobs, be safe at school, access needed healthcare, and more. Additionally, their litigation has yielded incredible gains for the LGBT community, including marriage, safer schools, and employment protection. Researcher and Faculty
Lambda Legal demonstrates its impact primarily through its victories in state and federal litigation and through legislative and policy work at both the state and federal level. Lambda Legal also does a great deal of public education both within the LGBT community and with the public at large. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda Legal has been instrumental in pushing the envelope for LGBT rights. They strategize against discrimination on a national level, picking lawsuits one-by-one to strategically advance the movement little by little. Other
Lambda Legal has continued to support LGBT rights through litigation. Other
National Scope
Lambda Legal is doing national work on equality, building visibility of the cause, and pushing for justice. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Landmark Cases
Lambda Legal has won landmark cases, including: gay student alliance permit (NH, 197x), first HIV discrimination case (NY, 1983), many cases in HIV testing, treatment, benefits, privacy, school harassment/violence (199x), school gay-straight alliance permits (CA, 199x), statewide LGBT civil rights (CO, 1996), fair treatment for hate crime victims (2000), elimination of state sodomy laws (NY, KY, TN, MT, GA), elimination of all sodomy laws (2003, US Supreme Court), and same-gender marriage (IA, 2009). Nonprofit Senior Staff
They litigate significant cases throughout the country and have moved the bar on LGBT rights and the rights of people with HIV/AIDS. Most visible is their marriage work in Iowa, New Jersey, and Illinois. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda Legal was lead public interest counsel for several important LGBT rights cases that went to the US Supreme Court, at least two of which resulted in important landmark gay rights rulings, Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas. They were also lead counsel in the case that resulted in a unanimous ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage, and they have litigated to establish important precedents on the rights of persons with HIV as well as LGBT rights in state and federal courts over almost 40 years. Researcher and Faculty

Organizational Strengths

Many experts noted the strong impact of Lambda Legal’s Executive Director Kevin Cathcart. One expert noted him to be not only the longest tenured CEO in the LGBT movement, but the most effective. The organization is supported by strong, strategic, and savvy staff throughout the organization, from the administrative staff to the legal. Their established track record paired with their excellent communications and marketing have helped them to become trusted in the community.

Commitment to Diversity
They work in Spanish-speaking communities Foundation Professional
Excellent Staff
Lambda has top-notch, hard-working lawyers who could work in any major law firm but choose to use their skills to make an impact. They are leaders in the field. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They have strong leadership amongst their staff and a deep adherence to their mission. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They have astute legal knowledge and are pioneers in policy change. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They have strong staff, operations, and mission. Foundation Professional
Great Public Education
They bring high viability to national issues. They also have strong leadership and marketing. Nonprofit Senior Staff
The public education work around the legal issues impacting LGBT people is very strong. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Proven Track Record
Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal has proven staying power. The current 80-person staff in 5 offices (GA, NY, TX, IL, CA) has depth and breadth. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They have brought about changes in laws that have benefited LGBT communities. These efforts go well beyond marriage laws and fight job and housing discrimination and school-based discrimination. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Sector Convienieners
Lambda Legal provides movement leadership by convening regular roundtables of the legal advocacy groups, at which they discuss strategy and emerging needs. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Strong Director
Lambda Legal has one of the most talented and experienced Executive Directors in the country and a very effective development department that does particularly well with legacy gifts. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Strong Leadership
Lambda Legal boasts not only the longest tenured CEO in the LGBT movement, but the most effective. Lambda has continued to grow and expand its reach under Cathcart's leadership. In addition to effective delivery of its programs, Lambda is financially stable and strong. Nonprofit Senior Staff
I have known a couple of the staff members and felt that they had strong leadership, also the fact that Lambda Legal is well-known is useful—perhaps due to marketing. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda has an exceptional Executive Director, Kevin Cathcart, whose tenure in office is longer than that of any other Executive Director of a major national LGBT public interest organization, mainly because he is extremely well-organized, a very effective leader of staff, a superb fundraiser, and also a superb diplomat. He gets along with all factions in the movement and has helped to promote cooperation between movement organizations. Lambda has also been very fortunate in its choice of Legal Directors. The current Legal Director, Jon Davidson, has done great strategic thinking for the movement. I would rank him second only to Matt Coles at the ACLU in this regard (and Matt is no longer directly in charge of the ACLU’s LGBT Rights docket, having been promoted to a higher administrative level in that organization). Researcher and Faculty
The staff members of Lambda Legal are extremely committed and passionate people. The leadership provides strong vision and purpose to the organization. Researcher and Faculty
Leadership is their primary strength; they have a highly talented administrative staff and a well-respected legal department. Their operations have always been strong, as have been their finances. They have a solidly and tightly run ship with great leadership at all levels. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Strong Marketing & Communications
They do a great job at bringing in real people, such as plaintiffs in their cases, that were affected by discrimination. It is great to hear their stories and is a great tool for getting donations. Other
They have done a good job of marketing themselves over the last few years. Other

Areas for Improvement

Lambda could improve on their marketing and communications to better share the powerful work they do. They could also do a better job of connecting with community organizations to share resources and insight. Growing resources would help Lambda to work more efficiently and in more areas.

Connect to Community Organizations
They need more connection with grassroots organizing Foundation Professional
They could improve by adding further collaborations with existing nonprofits that have a presence on the ground in the states they do not have a presence in. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They need more community outreach Foundation Professional
They need to have better coordination with organizations doing similar work. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Improve Internal Operations
I think they work people too hard and don't pay enough. There is also too much centralized control. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They could improve with better management. They should also be more collaborative Nonprofit Senior Staff
Improve Marketing & Communication
Their web site is often extremely slow. They also need to add LGBT immigration to the mission and the website. Nonprofit Senior Staff
I believe that Lambda does not get adequate credit for its work. They are good at marketing but they could be even better at tooting their own horn. Also, many people in our community have no idea about what their rights actually are (or are NOT), and it would be interesting to see Lambda do more community-based education on current issues that impact significant numbers of the LGBT community. Nonprofit Senior Staff
It would be useful to have more of an idea as to what exactly their work is about. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Lambda could do a better job on the public education side. I know they are trying very hard, but their media work could be more effective in getting the story out there. Somehow their public education efforts have not had the same impact as their litigation efforts. As a former Board Member (from the 1980s), I think another area where Lambda could improve would be in cultivating and retaining the interest of former Board Members! Researcher and Faculty
More members of the LGBT community need to become aware of Lambda Legal, the services they provide, and the ways in which Lambda is improving the lives of LGBT people. Researcher and Faculty
They could use more resources to penetrate the country more effectively with their work. I don't know if that means they need to improve development efforts or just need more development resources. I also suspect they could do more in social media. Nonprofit Senior Staff
I would think they could market more. I only hear of them about once a year. Other
Expand
They need more offices around the country—but that means a larger budget. They also need more outreach so a greater number of folks in the community know about them. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Grow Resources
There is always more to do. Lambda is only limited by resources. Other
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