GOLD2023

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

aka ACS   |   Washington, DC   |  www.ACSLaw.org
GuideStar Charity Check

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

EIN: 52-2313694


Mission

The American Constitution Society is a 501c3 non-profit, non-partisan organization that supports and advocates for legal systems that strengthen our democratic legitimacy, uphold the rule of law, and repair the enduring inequities in our laws in pursuit of realized equality. ACS has built the nation’s largest progressive legal network, which encompasses a network of 40,000 of the legal profession’s leading progressive voices. The organization brings together lawyers, students, scholars, judges, elected officials, and advocates in support of laws and legal systems that safeguard democracy, uphold the rule of law, and improve the lives of all people.

Ruling year info

2001

President

Russ Feingold

Main address

601 13th St NW Suite 610

Washington, DC 20005 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

52-2313694

Subject area info

Law

Democracy

Human rights

Population served info

Adults

NTEE code info

Law, International Law, and Jurisprudence (V26)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The fight to preserve democracy has never been more urgent. There is an increasingly polarizing Supreme Court who is actively dismantling reproductive rights, voting rights, and more. There has been a sustained assault on the legitimacy of our democracy, including the spread of “the big lie” of verifiably false assertions that the presidential election was stolen. And there is a deepening public distrust of the government, which is eroding faith in democratic norms and ideals. Issues of democracy are undeniably issues of the law, and ACS has spent more than two decades building the nation’s most powerful network of progressive legal minds and is prepared to meet this moment head on. We address challenges to our core constitutional protections by cultivating an exceptional pool of legal leaders, generating the intellectual capital necessary to educate stakeholders and the public, and mobilizing our network to enact change at the local, state, and federal levels.

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?

Path to the Bench

The judiciary should reflect the diversity of the American people and ensure the law is interpreted through all people’s lived experience. ACS works locally to identify and develop a qualified pool of diverse legal professionals to become nominees for the state and federal judiciary. When judicial vacancies occur, ACS provides decisionmakers with the most representative, diverse, and competitive candidates who are ready to step into these roles, backed by a strong group of peers to support them. There is no other organization with the breadth of our nationwide network, or the strategic leadership of our national and local leaders.

Population(s) Served

ACS’s State Attorneys General (AG) Project develops and disseminates resources and hosts programming examining the actions of state attorneys general and the emerging legal and policy issues they face. The project works with 28 state AG offices across the country, regularly providing briefings for high-level state AG staff who are responding to unique legal challenges of the day. Through our State AG working groups, we coordinate meetings to allow AG offices to privately develop policy responses and exchange ideas, and we bring in partner organizations to provide subject-specific expertise, help coordinate efforts, and inform policy solutions. ACS has State AG working groups in the areas of criminal legal reform, immigration, and health equity.

Population(s) Served

ACS provides robust public education through its 1,400 programs, podcast episodes, and convenings to shape the national and local debates on pressing legal issues to spur collective progressive action. Anchored by ACS scholars, experts, staff, and movement lawyers, these events drive thought leadership on important policy and legal priorities and spur collective action. These resources also serve as non-partisan educational tools and strategies for key policymakers, our nationwide network, and the general public, who utilize them to mobilize in their respective communities.

ACS is a sought-after resource for media and public education on current legal issues, including:
• Court reform,
• Human rights,
• Judiciary,
• Reproductive rights,
• Gender equity,
• Diversity, and more.

Population(s) Served

Public officials in positions of legal authority must be committed to the rule of the law, the Constitution, and electoral integrity. ACS deploys our network of 40,000 progressive lawyers, students, scholars, and advocates to identify people to run for or be appointed as state attorneys general, secretaries of state, and state judges, increase voter education and engagement on these races, and recruit qualified, diverse, progressive people to work for these elected offices. No other non-partisan organization with a national footprint is currently recruiting or developing pipelines for these offices.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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.

ACS seeks to build a multi-racial, representative democracy that includes:

- A judiciary that reflects the diversity of the public it serves, interprets the U.S. Constitution through the backdrop of history and through the lens of lived experience, and protects democratic guardrails, upholds the rule of law, and vindicates fundamental rights;
- Democratic institutions that uphold the rule of law, guard against the abuse of power, and promote laws and policies that advance realized equality; and
- A robust and diverse legal civil society that actively promotes progressive legal transformation and redress of the founding failures of our Constitution and of our laws and legal systems.

Sustain a Pipeline of Diverse Legal Leaders: The judiciary should reflect the diversity of the American people and ensure the law is interpreted through all people’s lived experience. ACS works locally to identify and develop a qualified pool of diverse legal professionals to become nominees for the state and federal judiciary. When judicial vacancies occur, ACS provides decisionmakers with the most representative, diverse, and competitive candidates who are ready to step into these roles, backed by a strong group of peers to support them. There is no other organization with the breadth of our nationwide network, or the strategic leadership of our national and local leaders.

Advance a Flourishing, Inclusive Democracy: Public officials in positions of legal authority must be committed to the rule of the law, the Constitution, and electoral integrity. ACS deploys our network of 40,000 progressive lawyers, students, scholars, and advocates to identify people to run for or be appointed as state attorneys general, secretaries of state, and state judges, increase voter education and engagement on these races, and recruit qualified, diverse, progressive people to work for these elected offices. No other non-partisan organization with a national footprint is currently recruiting or developing pipelines for these offices.

Promote Equity Within the Legal System: ACS is committed to addressing changes needed to achieve a legal system that promotes racial and social equity. ACS is heavily engaged in legal examinations and remedies for reforming our criminal justice system so that it is fair and just. In addition to robust programing, debate, policy, and public engagement, we also recently launched an initiative to abolish the federal death penalty and have called on the administration to take bold steps to end this practice.

As a multi-issue legal organization, ACS has the tools to influence change through our nationwide network, particularly in the states where our lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, and activists strengthen on-the-ground organizing. Our Path to the Bench initiative boasts 55 working groups across 42 states that consist of more than 200 diverse local legal leaders who can identify potential judicial nominees.

Our thought leadership shapes the narrative around the most pressing matters of law for a broad audience. These tools transform our over 250 student and lawyer chapters in almost every state and on most law school campuses into a powerful pool of movement builders, pro bono partners, activists, and legal scholars. Our network develops quick, accessible responses to legal questions that we use to educate Congressional and state leaders, reporters, the legal community, and the public. What makes ACS unique is that we provide substantive analysis and network building across the legal spectrum in a way that cannot be carried out by single-issue activist groups—an invaluable resource to push back against creeping authoritarianism.

ACS has spent more than two decades building robust networks across the country and shaping the debate on the nation’s most important legal issues. Our network can be found at the highest levels of local, state, and federal governments; occupy seats on state and federal benches; and have leadership roles throughout legal academia, private industry, and nonprofit and advocacy organizations—all vital components of thriving progressive legal communities.

Throughout our 22-year history, ACS has been deeply committed to building the bench of progressive, diverse lawyers who are equipped to take on roles of legal authority. Our Path to the Bench initiative is more robust than ever before, with 55 working groups across 42 states who identify potential judicial nominees, with an explicit focus on racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and practice area diversity with the goal of achieving a judiciary that reflects the public it serves. At the federal level, with the help of ACS’s Path to the Bench initiative the current administration has so far nominated more than 150 people to Article III courts, the Court of Federal Claims and the DC Court of Appeals. Of these nominees, one-third were identified and recommended to the White House by ACS’s working groups or were otherwise affiliated with ACS.

Additionally, ACS has been ramping up our state court work, recognizing the increased importance of these roles as the Supreme Court signals a propensity for state’s rights on critical issues of human rights. ACS has long been committed to identifying and recruiting diverse, qualified candidates to serve on the bench who believe in the judiciary’s responsibility to vindicate our fundamental rights. In several of the states that appoint their judges, ACS is engaging with the state bodies responsible for nominating or appointing judges. In states that elect their judges, ACS is educating and engaging voters on the importance of voting in these judicial races. Currently, we have established state court pipelines in eight states, with a goal of at least 12 states by the end of 2024.

Financials

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Financial documents
2021
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
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

6.60

Average of 11.52 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

8.5

Average of 8.2 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

17%

Average of 16% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

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

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy’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 $471,606 -$593,179 $1,995,041 -$511,988 -$214,882
As % of expenses 7.4% -8.8% 37.0% -8.1% -3.3%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $418,718 -$683,193 $1,904,834 -$605,121 -$305,018
As % of expenses 6.5% -10.0% 34.7% -9.5% -4.6%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $4,948,783 $8,154,588 $6,026,578 $5,609,154 $6,077,061
Total revenue, % change over prior year -22.7% 64.8% -26.1% -6.9% 8.3%
Program services revenue 14.9% 2.9% 0.2% 0.5% 2.5%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 1.1% 0.9% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 11.5% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 83.9% 96.2% 87.9% 99.3% 98.3%
Other revenue 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.2% -0.9%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $6,344,524 $6,709,644 $5,395,107 $6,285,493 $6,498,841
Total expenses, % change over prior year 8.1% 5.8% -19.6% 16.5% 3.4%
Personnel 61.7% 61.3% 74.5% 74.2% 72.3%
Professional fees 11.6% 12.6% 12.1% 10.0% 7.1%
Occupancy 6.6% 6.0% 7.5% 6.4% 0.2%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 1.9% 1.9% 0.6% 0.4% 0.4%
All other expenses 18.2% 18.2% 5.3% 9.0% 19.9%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $6,397,412 $6,799,658 $5,485,314 $6,378,626 $6,588,977
One month of savings $528,710 $559,137 $449,592 $523,791 $541,570
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $204,256 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $7,130,378 $7,358,795 $5,934,906 $6,902,417 $7,130,547

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 7.3 6.8 13.1 8.8 8.5
Months of cash and investments 7.3 6.8 13.1 8.8 8.5
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 6.1 4.7 10.3 7.8 7.1
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $3,847,865 $3,807,161 $5,874,746 $4,615,544 $4,589,233
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $506,899 $1,953,914 $473,111 $1,128,990 $722,110
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $461,750 $463,316 $462,903 $478,236 $397,570
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 16.6% 35.0% 51.5% 67.7% 82.3%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 10.0% 7.4% 5.8% 8.6% 12.0%
Unrestricted net assets $3,628,816 $2,945,623 $4,850,457 $4,245,336 $3,940,318
Temporarily restricted net assets $718,080 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $127,067 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $845,147 $2,883,270 $1,519,700 $1,355,349 $1,148,451
Total net assets $4,473,963 $5,828,893 $6,370,157 $5,600,685 $5,088,769

Key data checks

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

Operations

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

Documents
Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President

Russ Feingold

Russ Feingold is the President of the American Constitution Society. He served as a United States Senator from Wisconsin from 1993 to 2011 and a Wisconsin State Senator from 1983 to 1993. From 2013 to 2015, he served as the United States Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Russ has taught extensively at various American law schools including Stanford Law School (where he is currently teaching), Yale Law School, Marquette University Law School, and Harvard Law School. In this capacity, he has played a significant mentoring role to law students, preparing him for his role as President of the American Constitution Society. Russ holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar), and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, all degrees awarded with honors.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
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Compensation data
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The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

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

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Board of directors
as of 05/22/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Peter Karanjia

DLA Piper LLP

Garrett Epps

Holly Fechner

Gabriella Barbosa

Owen Flomberg

Michelle Goodwin

Keith M. Harper

Aziz Z. Huq

Peter Karanjia

Derek T. Ho

Roscoe Jones

Joshua Matz

Melissa Murray

Peter Shane

Ganesh Sitaraman

Franita Tolson

Russ Feingold

Alice O'Brien

Zoraima Palaez

Shira Scheindlin

Joyce Vance

Ralph Sutton

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/30/2020

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

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

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Contractors

Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser