Tonight in New York City, the caped crusaders over at the ACLU announced the public phase of the largest fundraising campaign on behalf of civil rights and liberties in American history. According to the group's press release:
"The $335 million "Leading Freedom Forward: The ACLU Campaign for the Future" is an unprecedented effort to build the organization's infrastructure by increasing funding to key state affiliates nationwide, dramatically enhancing advocacy capabilities and securing the ACLU's financial future for generations to come."
The group already has raised more than 2/3 of the money:
"The campaign has already raised more than $258 million - over $102 million in cash and pledges and $156 million in planned gifts - highlighted by 21 contributions of $1 million or more from the ACLU's staunchest supporters and several of the world's most noted philanthropists. These include two gifts of$12 million, one from George Soros, through his Open Society Institute, and one from the Sandler Foundation. Other leadership contributors include the Leon Levy Foundation, which donated $5 million, and Delaney and her husband,Wayne Jordan, who donated $4 million."Personally, I've always thought capital campaigns got to cheat by waiting until they've almost raised all the money before announcing the actual number of the goal. How many annual fund directors are allowed to get 2/3 of the way through their fundraising drive before acknowledging the actual number goal.
What impresses me (and I'm sure other donors) about this press release is the bold commitment outlined in regards to how the money will be spent to achieve growth goals.
"A major goal of the campaign is to substantially increase the ACLU's presence and effectiveness from coast to coast by significantly increasing the programmatic and institutional capacity of its affiliates, particularly instates where civil liberties violations are most egregious and opportunities for change most promising. These states include Florida, Texas, New Mexico,Montana, Mississippi, Michigan, Missouri, and Tennessee.While the ACLU was making this fundraising promise to donors in New York City, the organization was also hosting a huge membership conference for donors in Washington, DC.
Moreover, smaller affiliates located mainly in the South and in the country's heartland will be bolstered by increased resources that will enable them to hire full-time attorneys, launch new advocacy programs, and expand communications and public education initiatives."