PLATINUM2024

Public Advocates Inc.

Making Rights Real

San Francisco, CA   |  www.publicadvocates.org

Mission

Public Advocates Inc. is a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories to advance education, housing and transit equity. We spur change through collaboration with grassroots groups representing low income communities, people of color and immigrants, combined with strategic policy reform, media advocacy and litigation.

Ruling year info

1971

President & CEO

Guillermo Mayer

Main address

131 Steuart Street Suite 300

San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7103042

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Economic Development (S30)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

(1) The neighborhoods that are home to a majority of low-income California residents are in crisis today. As low-income families of color are displaced from their historic urban neighborhoods, they are simultaneously excluded from suburban housing opportunities near jobs. The roots of this crisis trace back to public policy and spending in the post-War period, when federal housing and highway programs invested heavily in the creation of suburban communities while redlining excluded people of color. Today, public policies and investments continue to reinforce these disparities. (2) In public education there is a wide opportunity gap for California's most vulnerable students in both the K-12 and higher education systems, the result of chronic disinvestment in education since the passage of Proposition 13, along with the growth in the number of low-income students of color and immigrants, and the lack of political power held by these 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?

Public Advocates Programs

Public Advocates challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing, transportation equity, and climate justice. Our Education Equity Team has been one of the most successful advocates in driving the state to ensure all students obtain a high-quality education, from landmark civil rights lawsuits on school funding and teacher quality to shaping the Local Control Funding Formula and advocating for college access and success for low-income students and students of color. Our Metropolitan Equity Team advocates for equitable development, production and preservation of affordable housing, tenant protections, increased local transit service, climate justice, and policies to break down patterns of segregation and inequitable allocation of public and private resources.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants
Children and youth

Public Advocates’ Education Equity team works to ensure that all students have access to a quality education that prepares them to graduate from high school college and career ready, to succeed in post-secondary institutions, and to participate fully in civic and economic life regardless of where they live, the color of their skin, their language, or their immigration status. Partnering with students, parents, and communities, we advocate for equitable school funding and accountability, qualified and prepared teachers in every classroom, and equal access to and success in California’s public colleges and universities.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups
At-risk youth
Immigrants

To ensure meaningful access to opportunity, Public Advocates' Metropolitan Equity team advocates for affordable homes in all communities, public transportation that serves the needs of low-income people, and socially just and environmentally sustainable development at the local, regional and state levels. Working hand in hand with low-income communities of color, we fight to reverse generations of housing segregation and unfair allocation of public and private resources. At the national level, we co-convene the Alliance for Housing Justice, which anchors the National Housing Justice Grassroots Table, bringing together national base-building networks and state coalitions and organizations to build alignment and advance national housing policy reform.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups
Immigrants

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of policies formally established

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Economically disadvantaged people, Immigrants

Related Program

Metropolitan Equity

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Changes won in policies, laws and public finance in the areas of climate justice, transit equity, and community development benefiting low-income residents and communities of color.

Number of grassroots organizations supported

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Ethnic and racial groups, Immigrants, Children and youth

Related Program

Public Advocates Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Through technical assistance, training, and legalsupport Public Advocates increased the capacity of grassrooots advocacy organizations representing or serving low-income Californians.

Number of changes and improvements to state and local educational policy

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Students

Related Program

Education Equity

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Through advocacy and partnerships with community organizations, our Education Equity Team won changes and improvements to state and local education policies benefiting high-need students and families.

Number of housing protection campaigns won

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Economically disadvantaged people, Immigrants

Related Program

Metropolitan Equity

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Through advocacy with our community partners our Metropolitan Equity team preserved or increased affordable housing and protected low-income residents from displacement.

Number of training workshops

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Young adults, Ethnic and racial groups, Economically disadvantaged people, Immigrants

Related Program

Education Equity

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Our Education Equity team provided trainings to parents, students, and community partners to support their engagement in improving schools and student outcomes.

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.

Public Advocates is a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that has been fighting for racial and economic justice since 1971. Working hand-in-hand with grassroots organizations, we have won millions of dollars of funding for affordable housing, reliable transportation, and equitable schools for all along with progressive policies that break down segregation, create just and sustainable communities, and give low-income communities and people of color the power to make their voices heard.

Through strategic partnerships, policy development and advocacy, legal and policy research and analysis, and litigation, Public Advocates increases the capacity of grassroots organizations representing low-income communities and people of color to elevate their voices and shape public policies that are responsive to their needs. We form long-term, authentic partnerships with base-building organizations, and together we positively influence public opinion, the media, policy makers, and courts in order to hold business and government accountable, expand civil rights and equitable public investments, and win tangible benefits that build strong and resilient communities.

Public Advocates combines unique, cross-cutting legal and advocacy expertise in education, housing, transportation, regional planning, and climate justice with a nationally recognized model for community lawyering. This model flows from our dual mission to win tangible policy outcomes that benefit low-income people of color and strengthen the voices of these communities in policy making. Our community partnership model is effective because we build authentic relationships as we engage in long-term fights; we devise integrated campaigns that build broad support and avoid the trap of single-issue advocacy; we craft policy proposals that respond to community needs while expanding public participation and accountability; we combine inside and outside strategies to win change; and we work with our community partners to ensure our policy victories are faithfully implemented.

For nearly 50 years, Public Advocates has been one of California's most effective advocates for racial and economic justice in education, housing, transportation, and climate investments.

Our legal victories include Williams v. California, which established state standards for adequate instructional materials, qualified teachers for English learners, and school facilities in good repair, along with new accountability mechanisms. Our actions to enforcem the Local Control Funding Formula in the Los Angeles and Long Beach Unified School Districts have recovered millions of dollars for programs and services to support low-income students, English learners, and foster youth. Public Advocates has also playing a leading role in addressing California's chronic teacher shortage and fighting to ensure the equitable assignment of fully-credentialed and prepared teachers. A new teacher data system that we advocated for will identify the disproportionate assignment of unprepared teachers in schools with high-need students. In 2020, we led efforts to ensure that emergency pandemic funds were distributed equitably to support students with the greatest needs and to establish standards for distance learning, addressing learning loss, and providing students social-emotional support.

We were lead council in Urban Habitat v. City of Pleasanton, which established that opportunity-rich suburbs cannot exclude affordable housing, while our federal civil rights challenge to Bay Area Rapid Transit redirected $70 million to safety-net transit services and catalyzed a movement for transit equity nationwide. We have helped win hundreds of millions of dollars of cap-and-trade revenues to support affordable transit-oriented housing and transit operations, along with major legislative victories for affordable housing, displacement protections, and equitable transportation funding. In 2016, we helped win a $20 million community benefits agreement from Facebook, which will provide new affordable housing and other benefits for low-income residents in East Palo Alto. In 2017, we co-led efforts resulting in $400 million in new funding for transit operations and a package of legislation addressing California's affordable housing crisis. The Renter Protection Act of 2019, which we co-sponsored, provides 8 million California renters basic protections from rent gouging and unjust evictions. Following the COVID-19 state of emergency, we pressed for a statewide moratorium on evictions to protect renters impacted by the epidemic and co-sponsored legislation to extend those protections when the moratorium expired. With the Voices for Public Transit Coalition, we pushed Bay Area transit agencies to adopt safety protections for transit workers and riders. Our national initiative, the Alliance for Housing Justice, brings together housing organizing networks across the country to coordinate and align affordable housing advocacy.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Public Advocates Inc.
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Operations

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

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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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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

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

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Public Advocates Inc.

Board of directors
as of 05/10/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Alina Ball

UC College of the Law SF

Term: 2023 - 2025

Martin R Glick

Saul Zaentz Company

Fred W Alvarez

Jones Day

Rohit Singla

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Robert Olson

Squire Patton Boggs (ret.)

Barbara J Chisholm

Altshuler Berzon LLP

Alina Ball

UC Hastings College of the Law

Anita D. Stearns Mayo

Retired Special Counsel

Kendra Fox-Davis

Rosenberg Foundation

Sergio Garcia

San Francisco Foundation

Heidi Ho

University of San Francisco Law School

Jasmine Singh

Pinterest

Carolyn Clarke

Finance Executive (ret)

Drucilla Stender Ramey

Golden Gate University School of Law (Emerita)

Luis Rodriguez

Elefante Consulting LLC

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 2/16/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/26/2021

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

Data
  • 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 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 help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • 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.