Advancement Project is a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change.
Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project uses the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras. Advancement Project works in deep partnership with organized communities of color to dismantle and reform the unjust and inequitable policies that undermine the promise of democracy through the development of community-based solutions to racial justice issues.
Theory of Change
A decade ago, Advancement Project’s founding team of veteran civil rights lawyers believed that structural racism could begin to be dismantled by multi-racial grassroots organizing focused on changing public policies and supported by lawyers and communications strategies. The collective experience of Advancement Project’s founders, as well as the conclusion of some of the most creative thinkers in the civil rights field, suggested that when this method of change is employed, it can have much greater resonance than policy advocacy, litigation, or organizing tend to have on their own. Yet racial justice efforts that incorporated this essential- and powerful-mix of lawyers, organizers, and communications experts rarely occurred.
To implement our theory of change, Advancement Project operates on two planes:
- Locally, we provide direct, hands-on support for organized communities in their struggles for racial and social justice, providing legal, communications and campaign organizing resources for on-the-ground efforts, while assisting in building their own capacity and power in their communities.
- Nationally, we help weave movement and create context for breakthroughs on race. We serve as a convener to build momentum beyond place, creating a space to learn from one another and work together across space. We connect partners doing similar work across geographies and provide legal, policy, strategic campaign and communications support including shaping the narrative, exposing the problem and highlighting solutions. We also actively broaden and extend the practice of community-centered racial justice lawyering through training, networking, and the creation of tools and resources. We use strategic communications to influence public opinion on issues of race, democracy and justice, creating an opening for local change to occur.
- We choose project activities, whether national or local, with the potential to build power at the grassroots level and to reframe and accelerate the quest for racial justice. We do not shy away from difficult issues and typically are first responders to civil rights crises, as well as on the cutting edge of racial justice issues.