Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Dismantling Injustice, Pursuing Lasting Change

aka Washington Lawyers' Committee (WLC)   |   Washington, DC   |  www.washlaw.org

Mission

The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic and social equity through litigation, client and public education and public policy advocacy. While we fight discrimination against all people, we recognize the central role that current and historic race discrimination plays in sustaining inequity and recognize the critical importance of identifying, exposing, combating and dismantling the systems that sustain racial oppression. We partner with individuals and communities facing discrimination and with the legal community to achieve justice.

Ruling year info

1992

Executive Director

Mr. Jonathan M Smith

Main address

700 14th Street NW Suite 400

Washington, DC 20005 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

52-1784938

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

While we fight discrimination against all people, we recognize the central role that current and historic race discrimination plays in sustaining inequity and recognize the critical importance of identifying, exposing, combating and dismantling the systems that sustain racial oppression.

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?

Creating Equal Opportunity to Economic Stability for Individuals and Families

People of color, women, children and persons with disabilities are disproportionately forced to live in poverty. The inequities in the social and legal systems have created circumstances in which social mobility is extremely limited and the gap between rich and poor is expanding. Inequality and immobility is significantly worse in communities of color. Poverty has become as much an inheritance as wealth. Work has become a key element of reducing poverty since welfare “reform,” making access to employment, fair wages and stability in work critical.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The criminal system is a prime driver of inequality. Work to address these issues will include:

o A continued strong emphasis on addressing conditions of incarceration. Persons confined to prisons, jails, immigration detention and other criminal system institutions are confronted with a unique and particularly cruel form of state power. As long as mass incarceration is a fact, the need for prisoners’ rights advocacy will be essential.

o Strategies to reduce unnecessary and discriminatory contact with the criminal system and that reduces the effects of such contact. Race bias is deeply imbedded in each criminal system component, including the writing of laws, police, prosecutors, courts, prisons and the effects of collateral consequences. These effects are significant whether they result in long-term incarceration, crushing court imposed financial obligations (debtors’ prisons) or barriers to employment, education or housing after a period of incarceration.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Housing segregation is itself inherently unequal and contributes to diminished opportunities for education, work and recreation. Racial segregation in housing is increasing in the District and the region driven by economic development, the effects of discrimination in the criminal legal system and other structural and economic factors. The forces of segregation in the District have deprived low income and many communities of color access to safe, decent and affordable housing.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The ability to access public services or participate in the economy are essential to be full members of society. Everyone, regardless of race, gender, disability or language should be free from discrimination in civic participation, economic activity and social engagement.

Population(s) Served
Adults

One of the great unfinished projects of the civil rights movement is addressing inequality in education. Schools are increasingly segregated, separate and unequal. Children of color, with disabilities and English language learners are much more frequently denied the opportunity to thrive and achieve their aspirations. Education reform in the District and in the region, has had some effect, but it is limited.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

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.

Contributed pro bono services (dollars)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

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.

The Washington Lawyers' Committee envisions an equitable society in which the legacy of discrimination has been overcome and there is an equitable application of law and access to justice.

The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic and social equity through litigation, client and public education and public policy advocacy. We partner with individuals and communities facing discrimination and with the legal community to achieve justice.

Currently, the Committee's docket includes cases to address discrimination in housing, employment, access to public accommodations and government services, as well as matters related to prison conditions, police misconduct and immigrants' rights. We also maintain an education project that partners more than fifty law firms and businesses with low performing schools to provide enrichment activities and tutoring.
The Committee has a staff of dedicated attorneys and advocates who work closely with the private bar. The pro bono contributions of area lawyers and law firms allows the staff to extend the reach of the Committee. Private law firms donate time valued at more than $15 million each year.

We will focus on identifying cases and projects that will impact systems that create inequality. Our projects and litigation often require a long-term multi-year commitment. We expect to strengthen our capacity to be more strategic, to engage in more effective community lawyering practices and to increase the emphasis on racial justice advocacy. However, among the quantifiable metrics we expect to achieve are:
• Provide advice, counsel and referrals to more than 1200 workers at our workers' rights clinics.
• Provide advice or assistance to more than 1000 prisoners who contact us seeking help.
• Recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages stolen from low-wage workers by their employers.
• Pursue new fair housing litigation to address the racially segregating effect of economic development
• Pursue new matters to ensure that persons with criminal histories have access to housing and employment.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
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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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Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Board of directors
as of 10/17/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Jamie Gardner

Paul Hastings LLP

Term: 2023 - 2021


Board co-chair

Claudia Withers

Civil Rights Corps

Term: 2022 - 2024

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 10/17/2022

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability