Charity Review

Issued: July 2016 Expires: July 2018

Charity Seal Holder

Legal Action Center

Meets Standards
 
(212) 243-1313 225 Varick Street, 4th floor, New York NY 10014-4304 lac.org/
  1. Conclusions
  2. Purpose
  3. Programs
  4. Governance & Staff
  5. Fund Raising
  6. Tax Status
  7. Financial
Conclusions

Legal Action Center meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Purpose

The Legal Action Center is the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addictions, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas.

For more than four decades, LAC has worked to combat the stigma and prejudice that keep these individuals out of the mainstream of society. The Legal Action Center is committed to helping people reclaim their lives, maintain their dignity, and participate fully in society as productive, responsible citizens.

Incorporated: 1974 in NY

Programs

LAC promotes access to prevent and treatment services and combats stigma and discrimination. LAC uses a combination of legal services and litigation, policy advocacy, technical assistance for service providers, training, and educational resources to accomplish these goals.

LAC works to prevent HIV/AIDS by providing legal assistance to people with HIV and programs that serve them, and advocating for expanded prevention, care, and other services.

LAC works to improve the criminal justice system by helping qualified people with criminal records obtain employment and services needed to successfully re-enter society and assisting programs that work with them. LAC also conducts public policy advocacy and research to reform sentencing laws, expand community corrections, and promote other sound policies.

 

Governance & Staff

Board Chair: Mr. Daniel K. Mayers, Retired Senior Partner Business Affiliation: Wilmer, Cutler, and Pickering

CEO: Mr. Paul N. Samuels Compensation:* $209,554

Board Size: 24

Staff: 30

* Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts and other allowances.
Fund Raising
Method(s) used: Direct Mail Appeals Invitations to Fundraising Events Grant Proposals Internet Appeals

% of Related Contributions on Fundraising: 9.77%

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.

Financial

The following information is based on Legal Action Center Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Source of Funds
Contributions and special events, net of the cost of direct benefits to donors of $77,820 and $72,947 $1,165,625
Donated services $393,181
Grants $2,472,854
Government contracts $1,497,474
Publications and consultations $94,394
Member fees and miscellaneous $202,198
Total Income: $5,825,726
 
Fusion Chart
 
Program Expenses: $3,588,170
Fundraising Expenses: $393,695
Administrative Expenses: $746,976
Total Expenses: $4,728,841
 
Income in Excess of Expenses: $1,096,885
 
Beginning Net Assets: $568,234
Ending Net Assets: $1,665,119
Total Liabilities: $635,808
Total Assets: $2,300,927


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This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

Standards Legend

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  • Standards Not Met IconStandards Not Met
  • Did Not Disclose IconDid Not Disclose
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Standard 1: Board Oversight


Description:

Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

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Standard 2: Board Size


Description:

Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

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Standard 3: Board Meetings


Description:

An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

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Standard 4: Board Compensation


Description:

Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

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Standard 5: Conflict of Interest


Description:

No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.

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Standard 6: Effectiveness Policy


Description:

Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

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Standard 7: Effectiveness Report


Description:

Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

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Standard 8: Program Expenses


Description:

Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

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Standard 9: Fund Raising Expenses


Description:

Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

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Standard 10: Accumulating Funds


Description:

Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charity's unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year's expenses or three times the size of the current year's budget, whichever is higher.

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Standard 11: Audit Report


Description:

Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

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Standard 12: Detailed Expense Breakdown


Description:

Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.

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Standard 13: Accurate Expense Reporting


Description:

Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

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Standard 14: Budget Plan


Description:

Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

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Standard 15: Truthful Materials


Description:

Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard. A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.

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Standard 16: Annual Report


Description:

Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

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Standard 17: Website Disclosures


Description:

Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

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Standard 18: Donor Privacy


Description:

Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

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Standard 19: Cause Marketing Disclosures


Description:

Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services (i.e., cause-related marketing) that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction. Such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation: (a) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to abc charity for every xyz company product sold), (b) the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), (c) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).

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Standard 20: Complaints


Description:

Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy policy violations and/or other issues.