Southern Poverty Law Center

We are unable to accept donations on behalf of this organization.
Medal-big-2012
39 Thumbsup 8 Thumbsdown   Info-sm
"Up" is the number of experts who agree that the nonprofit has had the most impact in the field. "Down" is the number of experts who disagree that the nonprofit has had the most impact in field.
Southern-poverty-law-center
Headquarters Location: Montgomery, AL
Founded: 1971


Mission: The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.


Tags: national, lgbt equality and support, 2012, hate crimes, policy, public education


Southern-poverty-law-center
Story: The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded to ensure that the promises of the civil rights movement became a reality for all.

By the late 1960s, the civil rights movement had ushered in the promise of racial equality as… Read the full story.

Expert Reviews: Evidence of Impact
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) brings issues of hate crimes to national attention through their research and public education work. Their research has informed policy, such as the James Byrd-Matthew Sheppard Act. Their research also helped to inform the public and program facilitators. SLC also has made significant progress in demonstrating the link between white nationalist activity ands anti-LGBTQ activity, helping to galvanize groups around the same issues.
See the complete expert review.

Leadership
Southern-poverty-law-center Richard Cohen. A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Richard Cohen came to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1986 as its legal director after practicing law in Washington, D.C., for seven years. Under his guidance, the SPLC won a series of landmark lawsuits against some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist organizations. He also… See full bio.


Transparency Information
Silver-big
This organization has earned the GuideStar Participation Level Silver, demonstrating its commitment to transparency (learn more)


Financial Data
Charity Navigator Rating: 3stars (profile)
Total Revenue:
$38,712,628


From the Nonprofit
The nonprofit has not added any comments yet. If you are a representative of this nonprofit and would like to leave a comment, please email us at feedback@myphilanthropedia.org with your request.


Contact Info
E-Mail:
Phone:
(334) 956-8200
Facebook:
Follow_fb
Address:
400 Washington Avenue
 
Montgomery, AL 36104, USA
Twitter:
Follow_twitter


Southern-poverty-law-center Story: The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded to ensure that the promises of the civil rights movement became a reality for all.

By the late 1960s, the civil rights movement had ushered in the promise of racial equality as new laws ended legal apartheid in the United States. But the new laws had not yet brought the fundamental changes needed in the South.

Blacks were still excluded from good jobs, decent housing, elective office, a quality education and a range of other opportunities. There were few places for the disenfranchised and the poor to turn for justice. Enthusiasm for the civil rights movement had waned and few lawyers in the South were willing to take controversial cases to test new civil rights laws.

Alabama lawyer and businessman Morris Dees sympathized with the plight of the poor and the powerless. The son of an Alabama farmer, he had witnessed firsthand the painful consequences of prejudice and racial injustice. Dees decided to sell his successful book publishing business to start a civil rights law practice that would provide a voice for the disenfranchised.

His decision led to the founding of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“I had made up my mind,” Dees wrote in his autobiography, A Season for Justice. “I would sell the company as soon as possible and specialize in civil rights law. All the things in my life that had brought me to this point, all the pulls and tugs of my conscience, found a singular peace. It did not matter what my neighbors would think, or the judges, the bankers, or even my relatives.”

Dees joined forces with another young Montgomery lawyer, Joe Levin. They took pro bono cases few others were willing to pursue - the outcome of which had far-reaching effects. Some of their early lawsuits resulted in the desegregation of recreational facilities, the reapportionment of the Alabama Legislature, the integration of the Alabama State Troopers and reforms in the state prison system.

The lawyers formally incorporated the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971, and civil rights activist Julian Bond was named the first president. Dees and Levin began seeking nationwide support for their work. Committed activists responded from across the country, and the SPLC carried forward its mission of seeking justice and equality for society’s most vulnerable.

In the decades since its founding, the SPLC has shut down some of the nation’s most dangerous hate groups by winning crushing, multimillion-dollar jury verdicts on behalf of their victims. It has dismantled institutional racism in the South, reformed juvenile justice practices, shattered barriers to equality for women, children and the disabled, and protected low-wage immigrant workers from abuse. It also has reached out to the next generation with Teaching Tolerance, a program that provides educators with free classroom materials that teach students the value of tolerance and diversity.

As the country has grown increasingly diverse, the SPLC’s work has only become more vital. And its history is evidence of an unwavering resolve to promote and protect our nation’s most cherished ideals by standing up for those who have no other champions.

Expert Reviews of Southern Poverty Law Center

Evidence of Impact Summary:

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) brings issues of hate crimes to national attention through their research and public education work. Their research has informed policy, such as the James Byrd-Matthew Sheppard Act. Their research also helped to inform the public and program facilitators. SLC also has made significant progress in demonstrating the link between white nationalist activity ands anti-LGBTQ activity, helping to galvanize groups around the same issues.
See expert comments.

Organization Strengths Summary:

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is great at translating their work into tangible actions at the local level. They collaborate with local community organizations and law enforcement to improve community safety. SPLC staff members excel at working across issues and communicating the way that various issues overlap. The organization also produces informative, well-written publications.
See expert comments.

Areas for Improvement Summary:

Southern Poverty Law Center could improve on their communication and messaging. For example making information on their website more accessible. They also need to grow their resources in order to better serve areas with less assessability.
See expert comments.

Expert Comments: Evidence of Impact

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Linking Social Issues

R
SPLC has made it a priority to link white nationalist activity to anti-LGBTQ activity. Their investment in framing the issues as intersectional have made a significant impact in the way people approach organizing around these issues.

Litigation

N
They do strong work in the area of impact litigation focused on LGBT rights; they have achieved results and are bold about taking on cases that others turn down.

Information Sharing

N
The Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) newsletter titled "Intelligence Report" informs me about anti-LGBT and racist hate groups throughout the United States and what efforts are being made to prevent them from harming people. This is a unique service that the SPLC provides, and it helps me to know both what challenges LGBT people continue to face, who our allies are, and how we can work together to ensure our safety.
N
SPLC has brought awareness to the issue of hate/bias crimes into the national debate. Their research and watch-dog programs helped propel national policy into action through such laws as the James Byrd-Matthew Sheppard Act.


Expert Comments: Organization Strengths

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Cross-Issue Work

R
They are great at framing the arguments to make it easier to connect seemingly "different" issues together.
N
They do strong cross-issue work. They are based in the South and deeply understand the region. They also have a talented group of staff members.

Great Communication

N
The Southern Poverty Law Center's publications are well-written and easy to read. The SPLC also makes clear the connections between different forms of hate.

Strong Local Connection

N
Specifically, they have done strong work in their mapping of hate groups, and working with local communities on awareness has allowed grassroots organizations to improve community safety and collaborations with local law enforcement.


Expert Comments: Areas for Improvement

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Improve Communication

N
They need greater clarity on their website on how community members can seek assistance from SPLC.

Grow Resources

N
They just need more resources to bring their messages and trainings into more rural communities.


Leadership

Southern-poverty-law-center
Richard Cohen
President
A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Richard Cohen came to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1986 as its legal director after practicing law in Washington, D.C., for seven years. Under his guidance, the SPLC won a series of landmark lawsuits against some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist organizations. He also successfully litigated a wide variety of important civil rights actions – defending the rights of prisoners to be treated humanely, working for equal educational opportunities for all children, and bringing down the Confederate battle flag from the Alabama State Capitol. Prior to becoming SPLC president in 2003, Cohen served as its vice president for programs, which include the Intelligence Project and Teaching Tolerance.

In 1997, the national legal magazine The American Lawyer selected him as one of 45 public sector lawyers “whose vision and commitment are changing lives.” In 1999, he was a finalist for the national Trial Lawyer of the Year Award for his work on Macedonia Baptist Church v. Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a lawsuit that ended with a record $37.8 million judgment against a Klan group for its role in the burning of a South Carolina church.

From the Nonprofit

The nonprofit has not added any comments yet. If you are a representative of this nonprofit and would like to leave a comment, please email us at feedback@myphilanthropedia.org with your request.


Philanthropedia is a division of GuideStar, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Through independent research, Philanthropedia has leveraged the wisdom of 3121 experts to provide reviews on 715 top nonprofits across 44 causes.