ACLU vs. ACLU Foundation

The ACLU's work to protect the enduring values of freedom and equality is based on a three-pronged approach: litigation, public education, and lobbying.

In order to support all three advocacy tools and to comply with federal tax law, it is necessary to have two organizational entities: the ACLU and the ACLU Foundation. Fully funding both is vital to protecting civil liberties in Pennsylvania and across the country.

  • The ACLU Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation. Foundation gifts fund our litigation and public education efforts. Gifts to the ACLU Foundation are fully tax-deductible to the donor.
  • The ACLU is a 501(c) (4) nonprofit corporation, but gifts to it are not tax-deductible. It is the membership organization, and you have to be a member to get your trusty ACLU card. ACLU monies fund our legislative lobbying--important work that cannot be supported by tax-deductible funds. Thus, your membership dues supported our successful lobbying efforts in Congress and Harrisburg.

Many donors choose to make their larger tax-deductible gifts to the ACLU Foundation, but also continue to make smaller gifts to the ACLU in order to maintain their "card-carrying" membership status with the ACLU and to support our important lobbying efforts.

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