Letter from the Executive Director
This year, the Impact Fund marks its 20th year as the only legal foundation dedicated to advancing the use of impact litigation as a tool for social justice. Its remarkable evolution from a new and unique resource to pay litigation expenses into a nationally-recognized social justice litigation resource center is a testament to the vision and dedication of our founder, Brad Seligman. By providing resources, training, and inspiration to committed advocates around the nation, the Impact Fund has far greater reach and impact than would be expected from its small staff and modest budget. Brad understood that a small commitment of resources – strategically directed – can have a profound effect in improving the lives of those most in need.
In these pages, we provide you with a retrospective of the organization’s growth and most significant accomplishments. You will also find an in-depth review of our work this year. We’ve funded 26 new grants for litigation that are already having an impact – protecting the right to vote in Wisconsin, fighting for a ballot initiative banning massive coal train shipments in Washington, and improving conditions for prisoners with mental disabilities in Florida.
At the same time, we have been hard at work retooling our own litigation strategies and training programs to address the profound and troubling consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision last year in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes. We are already seeing favorable results as courts approve class actions to protect the rights of workers from discrimination in the workplace despite the high court’s ruling. We have at the same time led the effort to educate advocates and provide resources to continue that trend.
We recognize, though, that we cannot rest. This fall, the staff and board have convened to plan for the future of the Impact Fund. With the thoughtful insight of many members of the Impact Fund community, we are developing strategies to further expand our reach and lead the effort to ensure that the public and the courts understand the importance of impact litigation in protecting the rights of the poor, individuals with disabilities, workers, consumers, women, and minorities.
We could not do any of this without the generous support of our donors and friends to whom we are profoundly grateful. Thank you for taking the time to read about our work and history, and for joining our cause.
Jocelyn D. Larkin
Click icon to read this year's Annual Report.
Please use the links on the right to download past years' Annual Reports. (These are in the Adobe Acrobat file format.)