County ACLU National and Illinois
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These web pages, maintained by the Champaign County ACLU, were last updated on March 10, 2023 by bi
HOW THE ACLU WORKS
The ACLU has approximately 2,000 attorneys--66 paid staff members, the rest volunteers--handling about 6,000 cases annually, making it the largest private law firm in the country. Indeed, the ACLU appears before the U.S. Supreme Court more often than any other organization except the U.S. Justice Department.
The ACLU is made up of a network of 51 state affiliates and hundreds of local chapters guided and coordinated by a national office in New York. The organization also has a legislative office in Washington, DC that handles congressional lobbying, and regional offices in Atlanta and Denver. The ACLU has special national projects devoted to specific civil liberties issues: the Reproductive Freedom Project, the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, the AIDS and Civil Liberties Project, the National Prison Project, the National Security Project, the Children's Rights Project, the Capital Punishment Project, the Privacy and Technology Project, and the Immigration and Aliens' Rights Task Force.
The ACLU is governed by an 81-member Board of Directors which has one representative from each state affiliate and 30 at-large members elected by the affiliate and national boards. The affiliate boards, in turn, are elected by all ACLU members within the state. On a day-to-day basis, each affiliate is autonomous and makes its own decisions about which cases it will take and which issues it will emphasize. All collaborate regularly with the national ACLU in carrying out common goals.
These goals are scheduled in a 430-page policy guide that is continually
revised by committees of the national Board. In an emergency, decisions
are made by the Board's Executive Committee.
THE FINANCIAL PICTURE
The ACLU depends exclusively on contributions from its 275,000 dues-paying members and grants from foundations and individuals for its support. The ACLU does not receive and would not accept government funding.