Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

Impact Fund

Strategic Litigation for Social Justice

BERKELEY, CA

Mission

Our mission is to provide grants, advocacy and education to support impact litigation on behalf of marginalized communities seeking economic, environmental, racial, and social justice.

Ruling Year

1992

Executive Director

Ms Jocelyn Dion Larkin

Main Address

125 UNIVERSITY AVE STE 102

BERKELEY, CA 94710 USA

Keywords

grantmaking, advocacy, education, legal services

EIN

94-3161863

 Number

5757782450

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (T12)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (C12)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media

Blog

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Our legal system is an unequal playing field. The rich and the powerful have a privileged access to justice, which loads the deck in their favor, perpetuating the inequities that plague our society: discrimination faced by women, people of color, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities. The Impact Fund exists to support these communities in their struggle for access to justice, holding big business and bad government accountable.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Litigation

Grants

Education & Training

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of Facebook followers

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Minorities,

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,

Victims and oppressed people

Number of conference attendees

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified,

Minorities,

Activists

Number of people trained

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified,

Activists

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Think of us as the sling stone in the David v. Goliath legal cases. Our goals are to successfully enforce civil rights, human rights, and environmental justice, and to extend those rights through legal precedent, wherever possible. We realize that's a lot and so the litigation we support is strategic and designed as part of a national strategy to move the dial where we can. Our priorities are: 1. Supporting lawsuits that dismantle systemic racism 2. Supporting youth and marginalized communities in the struggle for clean water, clean air, and a halt to climate change. 3. Standing up for the rights of brave #MeToo women to band together in collective action, rather than to be picked off one-by-one and forced into arbitration by bad corporate employers. 4. Fighting against the segregation of people with disabilities 5. Fighting the Money Bail system and the criminalization of poverty 6. Preservation of the mechanism for the enforcement of civil rights in the courts

To provide communities that have been marginalized by society with the resources they need to have their day in court, we have a three-pronged strategy: 1. Grantmaking: Providing cash grants to meet the necessary out-of-pocket expenses of bringing a righteous lawsuit, such as expert witnesses, deposition fees, translation services, and court filing fees. 2. Advocacy: Acting as legal counsel in cases that challenge employment discrimination against large groups of women and other discrimination cases, authoring amicus briefs to courts of appeal and SCOTUS, providing technical support to the legal community working on these issues, and mobilizing the civil rights community to resist rollback for legal protections 3. Education: Training the next generation of legal advocates with the skills and knowledge they will need to defend and enforce the legal rights and access to justice for everyday people.

We have a twenty-five year history of doing precisely what we say we will. We are a small, yet mighty, team, that magnifies the impact our our knowledge, experience, and resources. Our executive director is an acknowledged authority of strategic impact litigation and public interest class actions. She is supported by a staff of nine, all carefully selected for their subject matter expertise and passion for social justice. They, in turn, are supported by a board and advisory committee of top lawyers in the field. We produce conferences, webinars, and trainings year-round. We just wrapped up a major employment discrimination case for the women employed by a major retailer, which resulted in over $8M for the brave women who came forward. We make grants quarterly and are expanding our environmental justice grantmaking, having attracted a major investment from top foundations. We author 6 - 10 amicus briefs each year.

Our board and advisory committee are legal subject matter experts. So, we have a high success rate in picking the winners, but that's not our only metric. Since 1992, we have made 645 grants to support those cases, totaling $6,594,258. Most of the cases we support settle or win at trial. Because of the high-risk of litigation there are no slam-dunks, no guarantees and so, great care must be taken to pick those cases most likely to succeed. Our grant advisory committee ensures this. Our grants are repayable if the case is won and there is an award of costs. Each year we see anywhere from 40% - 50% of the amount we grant out in that year, come back in repayments. The advocates we train return to us for grants and many become co-counsel with us on cases or work with us an amicus briefs. We have trained more than 300 advocates in this work and our annual conference has grown by 100% in the past four years. Our grantmaking is set to triple this year.

Since 1992, we have made 645 grants to support righteous cases, totaling $6,594,258. We are set to triple our grantmaking this year, thanks to fresh investment. Our top quality training program has trained 300 new attorneys and we are looking to expand it into America's heartland where the need is greatest. We have built a litigation program and taken on, successfully, some of the largest retailers in the nation, winning awards for communities of women who have been discriminated against in employment, people of color who have been underpaid based on race and ethnicity, and people with disabilities who have been unfairly treated. Our amicus work today focuses on the benefits of collective action by workers and, transgender rights. We have just launched a program to connect litigators with communities struggling for clean water and a program to provide legal support to low-income LGBTQ people living in rural California. We are currently working with allies to select our next big case.

External Reviews

Financials

Impact Fund

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

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Operations

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

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.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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 & 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?

No

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity