Giving to the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation: What Is the Difference?

ACLU mission represented by icons of scale, megaphone, and book

All activities undertaken by the ACLU fall into one of three categories: litigation, education, and lobbying. Because these activities are governed by different tax laws, the ACLU Foundation only conducts activities that allow for tax deductible donations. You can defend and advance civil liberties by donating to either the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or the ACLU Foundation.

Giving to the ACLU vs the ACLU Foundation


ACLU mission represented by icons of scale, megaphone, and book

Gifts to the ACLU allow us the greatest flexibility in our work. While not tax deductible, they advance our extensive litigation, communications, advocacy, and public education programs. As a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, the ACLU can participate in the political process through lobbying lawmakers in legislatures at the federal and local level. In compliance with U.S. tax codes, the ACLU’s lobbying efforts make donations non-deductible, but when you make a contribution to the ACLU, you become a “card-carrying” member who takes a stand for civil liberties.

ACLU Foundation:

Donations to ACLU foundation fund litigation and advocacy

If you prefer to make a tax deductible gift, we encourage you to support the 501(c)(3) ACLU Foundation. Gifts to the Foundation support our litigation, communications, and public education efforts. With a gift of $1,000, you join the ACLU Impact Society, a group of supporters leading the fight for equality and freedom. By donating to both the ACLU and ACLU Foundation, donors can support all three arms of the ACLU’s overall mission and take advantage of a tax deduction for part of their gift.

Regardless of how you choose to support the work of the American Civil Liberties Union, we’re honored to have you as a partner in this critical work.