MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND

The Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America

aka MALDEF   |   LOS ANGELES, CA   |  www.maldef.org

Mission

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) opened its doors in 1968, founded by Mexican American activists from throughout the southwestern United States to pursue civil rights for the Latino community through the legal system. MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. Consciously modeled on the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, MALDEF has earned, through its history, a reputation as the “law firm of the Latino community.” Today, nearly half a century after its founding, MALDEF continues to vigorously pursue a mission of protecting and promoting the civil rights of all Latinos living in the United States.

Ruling year info

1967

President and General Counsel

Mr. Thomas A. Saenz

Main address

MALDEF National Headquarters 634 S. Spring Street, 11th Floor

LOS ANGELES, CA 90014 USA

Show more addresses

Formerly known as

Mexican Americans Legal Defense and Educational Fund

EIN

74-1563270

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.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Through application of its legal skills and experience, MALDEF seeks to establish improved integration of all Latinos into the mainstream of United States civic, political, economic, and social life nationwide. Improved integration of the nation’s largest and fast-growing minority community and the establishment of greater respect for the constitutional and civil rights of all Americans will contribute meaningfully to the betterment and future success of the entire nation. Accomplishing its work with and on behalf of the Latino community, MALDEF seeks to contribute to change both within the Latino community and in the national community as a whole.

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?

Parent School Partnership (PSP)

Since 1989, MALDEF’s Parent School Partnership (PSP) Program has trained 7,277 parents and community leaders throughout the nation to become change agents in their communities. The twelve-session PSP program provides parents with the tools necessary to become effective advocates in improving their children’s educational attainment, schools, and community.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Parents

CREATE! program offered youth leadership internship for high school youths

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Since MALDEF’s founding, the civil rights organization has awarded scholarships to law students who will further MALDEF’s mission of advancing the civil rights of the Latino community in the United States.

Population(s) Served
Students
Academics

Where we work

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.

MALDEF is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and promote the civil rights of the more than 57 million Latinos living in the United States. MALDEF, as a racial equity and racial justice organization exists to ensure that there are no obstacles preventing this diverse community from realizing its dreams. MALDEF labors to secure the rights of Latinos primarily in the areas of employment, education, immigrant’s rights, voting rights and political access, and public resource equity. MALDEF achieves these objectives and goals through litigation, advocacy, community education and leadership development, and communications. As long as our nation, including both public and private actors, continues to pursue (and establish anew) policies and practices with substantial adverse effects on the poor, those without significant political power, and the Latino community, MALDEF will continue to exist because of these phenomena and because of the need for a Latino-focused organization, and will present challenges and alternatives, whether imposed at the federal, state, or local level.

* Through many years of active and ground-breaking litigation, MALDEF has developed significant expertise in its four program areas of education, employment, immigrants’ rights, and voting rights. This history includes significant work in pioneering new approaches to civil rights litigation and advocacy. For example, in just the area of immigrants’ rights, MALDEF litigated the historic case of Plyler v. Doe, guaranteeing the right to public education regardless of immigration status; co-led and litigated the first significant preemption claim against a state anti-immigrant law, two decades ago against California’s Proposition 187; litigated one of the first challenges to local enforcement of immigration laws and immigrant profiling, over a decade and a half ago in Rogers, Arkansas; litigated many of the first federal court cases establishing day laborers’ First Amendment right to solicit work; and litigated one of the first challenges to border vigilantes, in Arizona. MALDEF can point to similar groundbreaking histories in each of the other program areas.

In all of our work, MALDEF’s goal is to deter future obstacles and facilitate efforts to increase equity and integration through success in litigation and advocacy. However, while focusing on litigation and policy work, MALDEF has always employed a multi-faceted approach to social change. MALDEF has traditionally undertaken its legal advocacy in concert with efforts, by others and by MALDEF, to organize and engage grassroots Latino community leadership in challenging the policies and practices that deter or prevent Latino integration and civic participation. Our organizational philosophy views legal advocacy as one important tool, most successful when aligned with other approaches to social change, to effect and catalyze broad-based change to incorporate all minority groups into a more equitable American society.

Similarly, in MALDEF’s policy education and advocacy efforts, we regularly work in coalition, whether formal or informal. Our role in coalition advocacy is reflected in our leadership role in several formal civil rights coalitions. For example, MALDEF’s President and General Counsel currently serves as a vice chair of the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights; as the former chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of over 40 leading national Latino advocacy groups; and as convener of the 12-group post-Shelby County voting rights litigation working group. MALDEF attorneys have recently served as co-chairs of important subcommittees and in leadership of these and other coalitions, such as the Hispanic Education Coalition. In our community education efforts, MALDEF regularly partners with education leaders in the public sector and in the non-profit sector.

As noted above, MALDEF considers communications and media work as an important fourth prong of the organization’s approach to pursuing social change. MALDEF aims to communicate both with th

MALDEF has never viewed litigation, even when coupled with policy education and advocacy, as the sole solution to any need. This is, in part, why the organization follows a multi-pronged, symbiotic approach to social change – using litigation, policy education and advocacy, community education, and communications/media in its work. This core belief extends beyond the organization itself to the broader advocacy field. However, MALDEF strongly believes that litigation remains an important and often essential element of a broader social change movement. In short, MALDEF litigation and policy education and advocacy, informed by expertise in the law, add significantly to other efforts – such as community organizing, get-out-the-vote and other elections strategies, and cooperative policy implementation with government and other powerful institutions – in moving forward the collective effort toward Latino and immigrant integration and civic engagement.

MALDEF defines success as moving the law toward greater respect for the civil rights of all persons, including Latinos, and as deterring those who would otherwise consider perpetuating or adopting practices with discriminatory impacts from doing so. We hold ourselves accountable in litigation for achieving: 1) court-ordered victory; 2) significant settlement; or 3) even a court defeat where the pursuit of litigation deters other potential wrongdoers. In policy advocacy, we hold ourselves accountable for ensuring attention to Latino community needs in areas that affect significant portions of the community. In community education, we are accountable for raising community awareness and involvement in critical policy areas.

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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    MALDEF is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and promote the civil rights of the more than 57 million Latinos living in the United States. MALDEF, as a racial equity and racial justice organization exists to ensure that there are no obstacles preventing this diverse community from realizing its dreams. MALDEF labors to secure the rights of Latinos primarily in the areas of employment, education, immigrant’s rights, voting rights and political access, and public resource equity. MALDEF achieves these objectives and goals through litigation, advocacy, community education and leadership development, and communications.

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

    Community meetings/Town halls,

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

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    As long as our nation, including both public and private actors, continues to pursue (and establish anew) policies and practices with substantial adverse effects on the poor, those without significant political power, and the Latino community, MALDEF will continue to exist because of these phenomena and because of the need for a Latino-focused organization, and will present challenges and alternatives, whether imposed at the federal, state, or local level.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We don’t share the feedback we collect,

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our 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.

Operations

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

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.

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.

MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND

Board of directors
as of 7/19/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Marcus Allen

Englander, Knabe & Allen

Term: 2021 - 2022


Board co-chair

Ms. Regina Montoya

Attorney

Term: 2021 - 2022

Marcus Allen

Englander, Knabe & Allen

Laura Flores Cantrell

Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment

Anna Maria Chavez

National School Board Association

Enrique Chavez Jr.

Chavez Law Firm

Elsa de la Vara

Arizona Community Foundation

Stella Flores

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

Bill Lee

CREEC

Loretta Martinez

The City University of New York

Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez

Enlace Comunitario

Cynthia Telles

UCLA Spanish Psychosocial Clinic

Maria Pacheco

TheDream.US

Michael Wompold

Peterson Wampold Rosato Feldman Luna

Romald Wong

Imprenta Communications Group

Jeffrey Garcia

Capital Group

Jorge Herrera

The Herrera Law Firm

Michael Olivas

University of Houston Law Center

Irma Rodriguez Moisa

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

Jose Sanchez

Sidley Austin

Carlos Soltero

Cleveland Terrazas PLLC

Joe Garcia

Colorado Community College System

Emilio Gonzalez

Verizon

Regina Montoya

Attorney

Luis Fraga

Rev. Donald P. McNeill, C.S.C

Phil Fuentes

McDonal's Owner and Operator

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 07/19/2021

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
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/29/2021

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • 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 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.