The Open Society Foundations has announced a $15 million grant to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) in recognition of the critical role civil rights lawyers play in securing, defending, and protecting democracy and to mark the organization’s eightieth anniversary.
Established in 1940 by Thurgood Marshall, LDF works to strengthen democracy, eliminate racial disparities, and promote racial justice while building a more inclusive society. Although LDF traces its origins to the NAACP legal department, it has operated separately from the organization since 1957.
"We are deeply grateful to the Open Society Foundations for this generous and important gift," said LDF president and director-counsel Sherrilyn Ifill. "Our mission has unapologetically focused on the fight for racial justice and equity. We are encouraged by Open Society's recognition of the importance and significance of our work at this moment in our country. The fight for civil rights is, at its core, a fight for our democracy. But this fight requires resources. Open Society is providing critical support as we expand and deepen our work."
"For eighty years now, LDF has set the standard for pushing this country to live up to our highest ideals of liberty and justice for all," said OSF-US executive director Tom Perriello. "At a time when racism, hate crimes, and structural inequality are all on the rise, we are proud to deepen our commitment to this landmark institution and its inspiring leader, Sherrilyn Ifill, and urge other funders to step forward to support their vital labors for years to come."