What’s the Difference Between the ACLU and the ACLU Foundation?

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties is comprised of two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties (“ACLU”) and the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties (“ACLU Foundation”). Although both the ACLU and the ACLU Foundation are part of the same overall effort, there are two separate organizations in order to protect civil liberties through a broader range of work. This Web site at times collectively refers to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”
Although there is some overlap in the work done by each organization, certain activities the ACLU does to protect civil liberties must be done by one organization and not the other. This is primarily in the area of lobbying. The ACLU engages in legislative advocacy and lobbying. As an organization that is eligible to receive contributions that are tax-deductible by the contributor, federal law limits the extent to which the ACLU Foundation may engage in lobbying activities. Therefore, most of the lobbying activity done by the ACLU and discussed in this Web site is done by the ACLU. By contrast, most litigation and communication efforts described in this Web site are done by the ACLU Foundation.

You may make a contribution to the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU Foundation, or both. A contribution to either organization will be used to support, promote and defend civil liberties. However, each organization will only use the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the specific activities it conducts as part of the overall ACLU mission. A donor may make a tax-deductible gift only to the ACLU Foundation. A donor who chooses to “Join” and become a card-carrying member, or renew a membership, is supporting the ACLU, and such support is not tax deductible.