The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
We started as pioneers. And we still are.
In 1977, a brave and determined woman—fresh out of law school and eager to make a difference—decided to put her knowledge to good use. As a legal scholar, Donna Hitchens saw the courtroom as a way to change the world. As a lesbian, she had experienced frustrations and fears—both personal and professional—and didn’t want others to suffer the same. And as a future parent, she knew she would face even more challenges ahead.
On this foundation, the National Center for Lesbian Rights was born.
That was in 1977. Today, that pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment to advance the civil and human rights of LGBT people continues. Each year, through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education, NCLR helps more than 5,000 LGBT people and their families nationwide. And our precedent-setting case victories literally re-write the law, changing the legal landscape for all LGBT people and families across the nation. For three decades we’ve led historic cases, and today we are still trailblazing in pursuit of justice, fairness, and legal protections for all LGBT people.
Making change means changing everything.
From a humble yet tenacious focus on the specifics of adoption law, to a broad vision covering almost a dozen diverse issue areas, NCLR has expanded its life- and law-changing work in order to advance the legal landscape for every LGBT person. No stone will go unturned in pursuit of our goal of achieving full and equal access to civil and human rights for all. Our programs focusing on employment, immigration, youth, elder law, transgender law, marriage, relationship protections, healthcare and reproductive rights, and family law create safer homes, safer jobs, and a more just world.
Our Staff & Board
Our dedicated staff of 27 works from our national office in San Francisco, and from regional offices in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles.
Board of Directors: Fourteen Bay Area-based women of diverse backgrounds and professional expertise, committed to advancing the direction and leadership of NCLR in the broader social justice and legal arenas.
National Advisory Board: Eight women in key cities throughout the U.S. bring a national perspective to NCLR’s leadership.
National Advisory Council: Twelve women in key cities throughout the United States extend NCLR’s network and represent NCLR in national conversations about LGBT legal and social justice issues.
Our 2009 Financial Figures
Our 2009 budget is $3.7 million, 80% of which is spent directly on our legal programs and services. As for our revenue, 75% of our annual budget is raised from individual donors, with major gifts of $1,500 or more making up 41% of our total income. Additional funding comes from foundations and corporations, along with pro-bono services contributed by co-counsel.