Western Center on Law and Poverty

Fighting to end poverty in California

Los Angeles, CA   |  http://www.wclp.org

Mission

Western Center leads the fight in the courts, counties and capital to secure housing, healthcare and a strong safety net for low-income Californians.

Ruling year info

1974

Executive Director

Ms. Crystal D. Crawford

Main address

3701 Wilshire Blvd Ste 208

Los Angeles, CA 90010 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

95-2897721

NTEE code info

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Public Interest Law/Litigation (I83)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

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

Poor communities, disproportionately communities of color, are burdened by the inequality that exists within the institutions that shape their lives. We have all heard the number. California has the fifth largest economy in the world, and yet, we also have the highest rate and number of people living in poverty in the United States, including children. These are the nearly seven million individuals who Western Center works on behalf of, and they are immigrants, women and girls, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and low-income working families. In the midst of an intractable housing crisis, our clients’ salaries don’t come close to providing them a safe and affordable home, there are still millions of Californians without health care, and when there are effective public programs, like those that provide food assistance, they are often threatened by a federal administration that is focused on making the safety net harder to access.

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?

Health

Western Center's health team ensures equitable access to affordable, comprehensive, quality health care for poor consumers.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Western Center’s Housing Team advances and enforces the right of low-income (under 50% of area median) Californians to live in housing that is safe, decent, and affordable.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Western Center advances and enforces the rights of poor Californians receiving federal and/or state funded public benefits, including cash assistance through General Assistance/General Relief, CalWORKs and the Food Stamp Program (CalFresh) and, to prevent dependency and on public benefit programs, increases access to jobs and justice for the poorest Californians.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Shattuck-Price Award 2012

Los Angeles County Bar Association

Advocate of the Year Award 2012

California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth

Wellstone – Wheeler National Anti-hunger Advocate of the Year Award 2012

National Food Research and Action Center

Kutak-Dodds 2015

National Legal Aid and Defender Association

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 community events or trainings held and attendance

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

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Western Center conducts trainings for our organizational partners in our program areas

Number of research or policy analysis products developed, e.g., reports, briefs

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

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Western Center publishes resources for advocates on our program areas

Number of civil litigation matters handled

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

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

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.

We know that in an economy as robust as ours, taking care of our most vulnerable is not only the right thing to do, it is our collective responsibility. Western Center leverages all of our tools and focuses on the critical needs our clients are facing every day, namely housing, health care, and financial security.

HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
We ensure that Californians have access to healthy, sustainable and affordable housing in neighborhoods of their choosing, and we advocate for strong, clear, and enforceable anti-displacement protections. All of our work seeks to address California’s housing crisis and its disproportionate effects on the most vulnerable Californians and unhoused individuals by:

Protecting tenants from eviction and landlord abuse, and ensure access to housing.
Preserving the existing housing stock.
Promoting equitable planning and development.

HEALTH CARE
We believe access to health care is a human right. California led the way in implementing the Affordable Care Act, but many Californians still do not have care, and even more are paying too much for the care they have. We work to preserve and expand access to health care for all Californians regardless of immigration, age, or health status by:

Expanding Medi-Cal to cover all Californians who need it, and ensuring that Medi-Cal plans and providers deliver equitable, quality care.
Advocating for improvements to health programs that serve low-income Californians.
Enforcing health consumer rights and protections.

FINANCIAL SECURITY
Western Center provides a roadmap to financial security for the people who need it most by expanding access to jobs and income, demanding that state and local governments provide nutrition assistance and other public benefits that our clients are entitled to, and ending unjust court-ordered debt, fines and fees, and financial services that strip Californians of their precious assets. Our priorities include:

Increasing enrollment and retention, and where applicable, benefit levels across all safety net programs that serve low-income Californians such as CalWORKS, CalFresh and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Expanding access to jobs, take home income, and opportunity for Californians experiencing poverty.
Fighting to end the high costs of poverty by reducing or eliminating high fees, fines and costs associated with the criminal justice system, traffic courts, parking tickets and towing of cars.
Ending predatory financial services and laws that allow debt-collector-take-all practices.

By applying a coordinated concert of tools including legislative and policy advocacy, high impact litigation, administrative advocacy, and technical assistance and education for legal service and community-based organizations to each of our priority areas, Western Center ensures that low-income Californians receive the support they are entitled to, and fights for them to keep the precious assets they do have. Our tools include:

SUPPORT CENTER ASSISTANCE
We directly serve 1,000 legal aid attorneys at nearly 100 legal services organizations throughout California, and scores of community based networks and organizations, through in-depth legal support, including technical assistance, on-site trainings, conferences, webinars, publications, and litigation support.

ADMINISTRATIVE ADVOCACY
We monitor, advocate, negotiate and work collaboratively with federal, state and local agencies to protect and expand the rights of the most vulnerable. Our administrative advocacy efforts and support center activities are buttressed by both our ability to participate in class action litigation and our fluency in legislative and budget advocacy.

LITIGATION
We work with local legal services programs and pro bono co-counsel and file class action and other high-impact cases that address basic rights for all low-income Californians.

LEGISLATIVE AND POLICY ADVOCACY
We sponsor and support bills—43 in 2019 alone, oppose harmful legislation and educate policymakers and other stakeholders on behalf of those living in poverty. Our legislative activity informs all of our work, much of which is achieved quietly through administrative processes.

Western Center was formed by a passionate group of attorneys and legal scholars who sought to create a unique organization, driven by the belief that all Californians deserve the finest possible legal representation before the institutions that shape their lives.

Western Center was founded in 1967 and is a 501(c)(3) organization with offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Oakland. Our operating budget for 2019 is $ $4,710,380 and our diverse revenue model includes grants and contracts, individual and corporate contributions, event revenue, attorneys' fees and cy pres awards to ensure access to services and entitlements for more than eight million Californians living in poverty each year. Our supporters include regional and national funders, such as the California Health Care Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, and the California Community Foundation. Western Center also values building on its current endowment as a means to provide financial sustainability for the organization.

Our 31 staff members, community and legal services partners and pro bono attorneys serve all 58 counties in the state, focusing on low-income Californians living at or below 125% of the federal poverty level. Western Center's issue teams of health care, housing and public benefits include 14 attorneys and advocates with leadership and advice provided by our executive director, an active member of the California bar, director of litigation, special counsel and general counsel. Our 46-member Board is drawn from industries including law, finance, health care and the creative economy.

In 2018, through impact litigation, 24 signed bills, and countless administrative advocacy accomplishments, Western Center was able to tangibly improve the quality of life for California’s most vulnerable residents. Among our many accomplishments last year:

• Ended money bail. SB 10 (Hertzberg) removes the consideration of wealth in determining freedom or incarceration for those individuals pending trial. It eliminates the predatory commercial bail industry, and makes conditions of pre-trial release non-monetary.

• Defended Medi-Cal expansion against backdoor federal cuts such as work requirements, waiting periods, time limits and coverage lockouts, or any other condition that prevents low-income Californians from accessing health care services.

• Largest CALWORKS grant increase in 40 years was achieved, benefiting 400,000 households, including one million children and a CALWORKS cost of living adjustment was restored

• LA Courts stopped from automatically suspending driver's licenses simply because people are living in poverty (Alvarado vs. Superior Court of California)

• Over 1.2 million aged, blind, or disabled SSI recipients in California became eligible to apply for CalFresh food stamps benefits

• California tenants have increased notice and more time to respond in eviction lawsuits as a result of AB 2343 (Chiu)

Financials

Western Center on Law and Poverty
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Operations

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

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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.

Western Center on Law and Poverty

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Lois D. Thompson

Proskauer Rose LLP

Term: 2019 - 2021


Board co-chair

Mr. David Elson

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP

Term: 2014 - 2016

Alex Beroukhim

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

Rachel Brass

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Shane Brun

King & Spalding LLP

David Carpenter

Sidley Austin LLP

Margaret Carter

O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Corinna Cherian

City National Bank

Grant Davis-Denny

Munger Tolles & Olson LLP

Daralyn Durie

Durie Tangri

Kirk Dillman

McKool Smith Hennigan, P.C

Lorraine Echavarria

WilmerHale

David Elson

Law Offices of David Elson

David Fink

Venable LLP

Christine Goodman

Pepperdine School of Law

Jonathan Gottlieb

Fox Legal Group

Paul Hall

DLA Piper

Joshua Hamilton

Latham & Watkins LLP

Michael Hostettler

Deloitte

Olivia Kim

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati P.C

Allen Lanstra

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Susan Leader

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Thomas Loran

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Jessica Lunney

Google

Jeremy Matz

Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, P.C

Kelley Olah

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Adam Paris

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Alison Plessman

Hueston Hennigan LLP

Sylvia Rivera

American Honda Motors Co.

Rey Rodriguez

The Walt Disney Company

Mike Shipley

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Steven Sklaver

Susman Godfrey LLP

Patrick Somers

Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP

Stephen Sorensen

Thomas, Alexander, Forrester & Sorensen LLP

Howard Steinberg

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Lois Takahashi

USC Price School of Public Policy

Andrew Thomas

Jenner & Block

Lois Thompson

Proskauer Rose LLP

Fred Von Lohman

Dale Walls

Jeremy Williams

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Stephanie Yonekura

Hogan Lovells LLP

Dylan Ballard

SheppardMullin

Elizabeth Butler Steyer

Felicia Davis

Paul Hastings LLP

Diana Feinstein

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Leif King

Baker & McKenzie LLP

Shira Liu

Crowell & Moring LLP

Patrick Somers

Kendall Brill Kelly LLP

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