Civil Liberties Defense Center

We've Got Your Back Until All Are Free!

aka CLDC   |   Eugene, OR   |

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Civil Liberties Defense Center

EIN: 58-2670951


The Civil Liberties Defense Center supports movements that seek to dismantle the political and economic structures at the root of social inequality and environmental destruction. We provide litigation, education, legal and strategic resources to strengthen and embolden their success.

Ruling year info


Executive Director/Staff Attorney

Lauren Regan, AAL

Director of Civil Litigation & General Counsel

Marianne Dugan

Main address

1711 Willamette St. Suite 301, #359

Eugene, OR 97401 USA

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Subject area info

Environmental justice

Human rights


Population served info


NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Civil Liberties Advocacy (R60)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In 2003, CLDC Executive Director and staff attorney Lauren Regan, in combination with environmental and social justice activists and attorneys, founded the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC). The creation was an urgent response to the growing need for education and legal assistance within the progressive change movement in the post-September 11th era in which decrees like the PATRIOT Act were put in place. CLDC immediately developed a number of public education, outreach, and legal aid programs, offering low and reduced-rate legal assistance to activists, conducting national media interviews and commentary, and monitoring and challenging repressive legislation in the courts. Our legal know-how, ability to effectively translate legalese, and litigation expertise, provide a foundation that our constituents can rely on to tackle the tough issues they are confronting. Additionally, the trainings we organize weave together to build activists’ confidence and awareness of pertinent laws.

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?

Justice in Action

Through Justice in Action, our litigation program, the Civil Liberties Defense Center provides free legal representation or referrals to peace activists, environmental and animal rights activists, immigrants’ rights activists, marriage equality activists, and others involved in progressive social change. Of the numerous requests the CLDC receives, we accept cases with the most potential to effect systemic change beyond the individual case, and to serve communities with difficulty obtaining excellent legal representation. Whether by successfully representing a mosque in a challenge to the FBI’s attempt to subpoena religious records after September 11, or by providing continual assistance with legal representation and referrals of the "Green Scare” defendants and grand jury witnesses, the Civil Liberties Defense Center excels in precedent-setting cases and impact litigation in order to protect constitutional rights.

Population(s) Served

Uses education to proactively challenge attacks on our civil liberties and rights. Our Know Your Rights (KYR) training is our most regular and widely held educational event with each workshop tailored to the needs of the participants. CLDC has substantially increased the diversity of trainings we provide including but not limited to; youth, parent, immigration, landlord-tenant, workers, arrest to sentencing, activist, and our trainers’ trainings. Additionally, under our "Effective Communities Campaign”, we paired with other activist groups to walk them through not only their first amendment rights, but also the rights of the entities they are protesting. Armed with knowledge, activists are able to make informed choices regarding their interactions with government agents or counter-protestors and, thus, better protect their rights.

Population(s) Served

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.

The Civil Liberties Defense Center’s mission focuses on defending and upholding civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, and legal support and assistance. The CLDC strives to preserve the strength and vitality of the Bill of Rights and the U.S. and state constitutions, as well as to protect freedom of expression.

CLDC’s projects educate people about their rights and why their rights are important. We defend front line activists, and expose and confront the persistent erosion of our civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. We believe knowledge is power, when, people have the tools and understanding to take action and demand that the government honor all their rights, then grassroots activism will be the best chance of exacting necessary change. CLDC educates, supports, and defends grassroots activists.

CLDC's core programs are called "Justice in Action" and "Dissent and Democracy." Together, they advance our mission of confronting and dismantling the political and economic structures at the root of social inequality and environmental destruction by:

1. Providing free and low-cost legal representation and support to frontline climate and social justice activists: The Justice in Action program both (A) represents activists who have been criminally charged as a result of their work for a better world and (B) uses the civil court process to hold powerful governments and corporations accountable for violating the constitutional rights of activists and marginalized communities; and

2. Providing the education and tools that activists and communities need to assert their rights and defend ecosystems and lives: The Dissent and Democracy program provides Know Your Rights trainings and others for activists and marginalized communities - from climate activists to immigrants to the un-housed. Online versions are available in Spanish and Arabic. We also conduct Legal Observer, Copwatch, and other trainings that ensure activists are able to make informed decisions about their interactions with government agents, corporations, and counter-protests and thus better protect their rights. A recent addition to our education program is a segment on digital security for activists, which is always evolving in the past-paced world of technological development.

CLDC has been working for 17 years now to defend your right to dissent. We have either won outright - or had dismissed - the majority of the criminal cases we have represented clients in, set precedent for advancing the climate necessity defense in 2020 and kept the right to peaceably protest viable in the digital surveillance age. We have now trained more than 5,000 people through our Dissent and Democracy program, and we continue to build the network of climate and social justice leaders who are educating their communities on how to effectively engage in dissent that drives social change.

Activist Defense
- Represented 2,500+ environmental, animal and social justice activists for civil disobedience.
- Member of the Water Protector Legal Collective. We are one of the firms of record in the suit against North Dakota police for their countless acts of brutality against water protectors at Standing Rock. We also represented several water protectors facing criminal charges for their role in resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- Coordinated legal defense team representing the 52 individuals arrested in Anacortes, WA for their part in the “BreakFree from Fossil Fuels” protest.
- Defended “valve-turner” Ken Ward for his part in the “Shut it Down” actions targeting tar-sands oil production and transportation.
- Coordinated the successful defense of Shell No! Activists, who used civil disobedience to challenge Shell’s Arctic oil refinery operations, against a military tribunal — winning 4 of 5 cases outright and settling the fifth.
- Since 2010, successfully defended six citizen journalists facing empty charges for observing government conduct in public, including one where all charges were dropped against an individual who filmed a roundup of wild buffalo outside Yellowstone National Park.
- Successfully represented local activist Perry Patterson, a mother of two draft-age sons, who was arrested for shouting “No!” at a Cheney rally after the Vice–President stated that an escalation of the war in Iraq was necessary.

Civil Rights Litigation
- Successfully aided the Winnemem Wintu tribe in regaining their right to perform a traditional coming of age ceremony in peace, and continued to provide legal support for the tribe’s fight for sacred spaces and water rights.
- Won a major precedent-setting victory in civil courts, upholding the rights of Occupy Eugene activists to assemble on federal property.
- Assisted Tar Sands Blockade activists in obtaining documents exposing the FBI’s close relationship with Transcanada (the corporation responsible for the Keystone Pipeline), to infiltrate and subsequently undermine the activist organization.
- Won a civil rights lawsuit against the Eugene Police Department for their use of excessive force against an environmental activist.
- Fought against the Green Scare — the government’s unconstitutional attack on environmental and animal rights activists — by conducting research, participating in public outreach and education, and assisting with the legal defense of non-cooperating defendants; CLDC also provided attorney referrals for various individuals and assisted their attorneys with various legal issues.
- Secured the right of Oregon prisoners to practice the Rastafarian religion by allowing them to wear dreadlocks while incarcerated
- Represented a Portland–area Mosque in a successful block of the FBI’s first–ever attempt to subpoena religious records
Won a major victory in the Oregon striking down the state's "Interfering with Agricultural Operations" statute.


Civil Liberties Defense Center
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 13.96 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 4.3 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Civil Liberties Defense Center’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $54,443 $213,863 $7,866 $267,619 -$245,699
As % of expenses 13.3% 37.2% 1.3% 33.1% -28.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $54,443 $213,863 $7,866 $267,619 -$245,699
As % of expenses 13.3% 37.2% 1.3% 33.1% -28.6%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $462,417 $755,572 $597,566 $1,075,976 $706,059
Total revenue, % change over prior year 96.2% 63.4% -20.9% 80.1% -34.4%
Program services revenue 30.7% 14.9% 1.7% 10.5% 0.4%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 57.1%
All other grants and contributions 66.8% 84.5% 86.9% 81.3% 42.1%
Other revenue 2.5% 0.5% 11.1% 8.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $409,347 $575,264 $589,900 $808,357 $860,089
Total expenses, % change over prior year 29.5% 40.5% 2.5% 37.0% 6.4%
Personnel 52.1% 64.8% 81.0% 70.5% 73.5%
Professional fees 26.8% 1.9% 2.2% 2.1% 2.2%
Occupancy 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 21.1% 33.3% 16.8% 27.4% 24.3%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $409,347 $575,264 $589,900 $808,357 $860,089
One month of savings $34,112 $47,939 $49,158 $67,363 $71,674
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $443,459 $623,203 $639,058 $875,720 $931,763

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 3.0 6.5 6.7 9.2 5.0
Months of cash and investments 3.0 6.5 6.7 9.2 5.0
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 2.8 6.5 6.5 8.7 4.7
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $102,742 $313,057 $331,287 $621,790 $355,944
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 6.5% 2.5% 4.1% 3.5% 4.5%
Unrestricted net assets $96,115 $309,978 $317,844 $585,463 $339,764
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $96,115 $309,978 $317,844 $585,463 $339,764

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director/Staff Attorney

Lauren Regan, AAL

After five years of public interest environmental law, Lauren Regan went on to create the Civil Liberties Defense Center and is currently the executive director and senior staff attorney. Over the past 20 years, Lauren and CLDC have defended over 4,000 activists from around the country for free. Lauren is a national expert in the defense of political activists, particularly those engaged in the climate, environmental, indigenous and animal rights movements. She is a trial lawyer who handles state and federal criminal defense, SLAPP defense, grand jury resistance, and federal civil rights litigation against police and government agencies for violating the rights of activists and organizations. Lauren and CLDC provide over 20 Know Your Rights trainings a year to activists, immigrants, and other at risk groups. Lauren is also an Oregon State Bar leadership fellow, a volunteer Teen Court judge, and has been given dozens of public interest attorney awards over the decades.

Director of Civil Litigation & General Counsel

Marianne Dugan

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Board of directors
as of 04/02/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Glencora Borradaile

Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, OSU

Term: 2022 -

Dana Johnson

Kerul Dyer

Michael (Mookie) Moss

Glencora Boradaille

Anna Held

Miriam Oomen

Michael Hames-Garcia

Cindy Cordova

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/2/2022

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation