Justice Equity Power

aka CCLS   |   Fresno, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 94-1631809


To Advance Justice and Empower People.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Patience Milrod

Main address

2115 Kern Street, Suite 200

Fresno, CA 93721 USA

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Subject area info

Legal services


Population served info


Ethnic and racial groups

Economically disadvantaged people

Low-income people

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

CCLS seeks to advance justice and empower people by providing high quality civil legal services, improving the wellbeing of our communities through systems-changing advocacy, as well as through civil legal work that meets individual clients’ immediate needs, fighting social injustice and protecting the rights of individuals, groups, and communities.

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?

Civil Legal Services

Central California Legal Services was founded in 1966. Its service area includes Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Merced, Tuolumne, and Mariposa Counties, an area roughly the size of the state of West Virginia. This region is unique in California because of its rural nature, and the need to serve a population that is spread across a large geographic area. These counties share similar characteristics in terms of high levels of poverty, lack of education, domestic violence issues, high medical debt, and environmental pollution.

CCLS provides individual legal representation and educational services as well as wider-impact representation in affirmative cases in civil matters to eligible low-income individuals in these six counties with limited services to seniors in Madera County. In addition, through a partnership with the statewide Health Consumer Alliance, CCLS serves residents in the counties of Madera, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Monterey and San Benito regarding their specific health care concerns.

Clients may access legal services at the offices (phone or in-person intake), at legal clinics and through outreach and community education workshops that inform the eligible community of their rights and the available services. Outreach efforts are augmented by extensive use of local ethnic media (print, radio and television) and with printed materials distributed area-wide through educational workshops and at various activities such as cultural/ethnic events, health fairs and school and parent groups. Visitors to the CCLS website can access educational materials on matters such as tenants’ rights, elder abuse prevention and domestic violence restraining orders, debt collection, Social Security/SSI, and the Earned Income Tax Credit program (EITC).

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups

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.

Legal and economic problems are a direct result of the extreme poverty experienced by our clients which negatively impacts their well-being and safety. Legal issues – housing, employment, financial – place families at risk and are further complicated by barriers. People of color and low-wage workers are among those most affected by COVID 19. They face additional barriers - inadequate transportation, language, and little to no access to internet services.

Legal services are critical to navigating the legal system to prevent an eviction, secure protections for victims of domestic violence and to stabilize a family’s income. These families, without our assistance, find themselves at risk of losing their home as they struggle to provide for their families. Attorneys can preserve their rights and assist with additional services to support their household.

CCLS provides both legal representation and legal education to marginalized communities, addressing legal needs ranging from ensuring access to basic life necessities such as healthcare and housing, to protecting families and seniors from domestic violence or consumer fraud, to helping veterans overcome barriers to employment. We also work closely with agencies and community organizations that share our commitment to support low-income individuals, families, and communities in being their own agents of change.

To access services, individuals may call our Legal Advice and Referral Line (LAL), or visit one of our three offices located in the cities of Merced, Visalia, and Fresno (all physical offices are currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions but we are available by phone or online). An online intake portal, compatible with mobile phones, gives 80% of our client population an additional means to contact us for assistance.

Our teams are made up of highly skilled lawyers, paralegals and outreach individuals that educate clients, families and the community. CCLS staff of almost 90 reflects the Central Valley’s diversity, with capacity to serve clients in numerous languages including Spanish, Khmer, Lao, Mixteco,

Punjabi, and Hmong. CCLS is effective in reaching area residents in collaboration with community and faith-based organizations, area schools, colleges and universities, courts, and others.

CCLS is proud of its accomplishments on behalf of clients. The program assists victims of domestic violence and sexual assault with protective orders, custody and other civil legal matters. We stop illegal evictions from occurring in private or subsidized housing and advocate for correction of substandard housing conditions. Advocates help obtain assistance for people with disabilities. We restore and preserve public assistance grants and overcome denial of emergency assistance programs such as food stamps, disability or veterans' benefits. CCLS represents individuals regarding their employment rights including wage collection, discrimination and denial of benefits.


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 2.43 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 4.1 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 33% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


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


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of CENTRAL CALIFORNIA LEGAL SERVICES INC’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 $210,906 $61,450 -$763,567 $3,052,130 -$720,269
As % of expenses 3.2% 0.8% -9.0% 33.5% -6.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $193,217 $40,728 -$783,035 $3,032,661 -$739,738
As % of expenses 3.0% 0.6% -9.2% 33.2% -6.9%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $7,227,622 $7,232,458 $9,479,735 $10,435,598 $9,538,575
Total revenue, % change over prior year 21.4% 0.1% 31.1% 10.1% -8.6%
Program services revenue 0.2% 0.8% 0.1% 0.3% 0.6%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.1% 0.4% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%
Government grants 81.1% 71.7% 66.8% 72.1% 69.3%
All other grants and contributions 18.4% 26.6% 32.5% 26.8% 30.0%
Other revenue 0.2% 0.5% 0.5% 0.7% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $6,495,119 $7,313,726 $8,462,731 $9,120,044 $10,727,458
Total expenses, % change over prior year 7.7% 12.6% 15.7% 7.8% 17.6%
Personnel 78.2% 79.0% 79.1% 81.4% 81.0%
Professional fees 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.6% 0.6%
Occupancy 5.9% 5.9% 5.7% 5.1% 4.9%
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 15.4% 14.6% 14.8% 12.9% 13.5%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $6,512,808 $7,334,448 $8,482,199 $9,139,513 $10,746,927
One month of savings $541,260 $609,477 $705,228 $760,004 $893,955
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $48,607 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $7,102,675 $7,943,925 $9,187,427 $9,899,517 $11,640,882

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 4.1 5.1 6.3 4.3 2.6
Months of cash and investments 4.1 5.1 6.3 4.3 2.6
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 2.4 2.3 0.9 5.5 3.8
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $2,213,422 $3,081,091 $4,414,182 $3,295,992 $2,360,746
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $543,425 $236,546 $679,454 $3,050,436 $2,656,671
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $565,715 $565,715 $565,715 $565,714 $565,714
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 71.3% 75.0% 78.4% 81.9% 85.3%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 24.1% 38.1% 39.4% 24.5% 29.5%
Unrestricted net assets $1,484,081 $1,524,809 $741,774 $4,244,858 $3,505,120
Temporarily restricted net assets $842,438 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 $842,438 $771,274 $2,551,845 $815,269 $350,930
Total net assets $2,326,519 $2,296,083 $3,293,619 $5,060,127 $3,856,050

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

Ms. Patience Milrod

As the Executive Director, Patience provides overall organizational leadership and support in the delivery of high quality legal representation for clients. With extensive litigation experience and a recent Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Cornell University, Ms. Milrod brings a wide range of litigation, policy and advocacy experience. After three years as a CCLS staff attorney in the early 80s, Ms. Milrod entered private practice, focusing on complex litigation involving criminal defense, civil rights and land use and planning for well over thirty years. Her record of public service is significant, working with community groups and local government to increase the supply of affordable housing and improve conditions for low-income renters. Recent work resulted in the City of Fresno’s adoption of the Rental Housing Improvement Act in 2017 (requiring routine interior inspections of rental properties), and a city ordinance regulating payday lenders (enacted in 2014).

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


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


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


Board of directors
as of 04/03/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mrs. Samya Burney

Paul Thao

Lao Family of Merced

Maria Villasenor

Dolores Huerta Foundation

Teresa de la Rosa

OLA Raza

Lynette A. Gonzales

La Raza Lawyers Association

Darryl E. Young

Law Offices of Darryl E. Young

Pahoua Lor

Law Offices of Pahoua C. Lor

Armando G. Lope

Merced County Bar Association

Ponzella Brackens-Boissiere

Client Member

Laura Ward

Fresno County Bar Association

Martha Tamayo

Kings Community Action Organization

Virginia Harper

Community Representative

Michael P. Smith

Tulare County Bar Association

Samya Burney

Fresno County Bar Association

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/8/2021

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
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data


Fiscal year ending
There are no fundraisers recorded for this organization.