we’d love to hear from you! take our short survey >
Executive-Director Photo by Jena Cumbo


I wish I had better news to report.

But the honest truth is that civil rights and civil liberties have taken a real beating in the past year. The Supreme Court – the composition of which is a brutal legacy of just one term of the Trump regime – and an energized far-right wing are doing everything they can to turn back the clock on liberty, equality, and democracy.

Having already overturned Roe and gutted the Voting Rights Act, in just one term, the Supreme Court banned affirmative action in college admissions and sanctioned discrimination by certain businesses – not to mention that the right-wing majority all but inoculated the Insurrectionist-in-Chief from the clear impact of the 14th Amendment. And state legislatures across the country have rushed to ban abortion, contraceptives, and gender-affirming care.

But we do have some good news and some really important victories to celebrate. And the NYCLU and ACLU played huge roles in holding the line – and even advancing civil rights and liberties on a number of fronts.

Read more


Even as democracy in the U.S. is seriously threatened and important rights have been undermined by the Supreme Court and state legislatures around the country, we remain optimistic and strong. Our fight for the civil rights and civil liberties of New Yorkers goes on undiminished, and the big wins we logged for LGBTQ+ equality, police reform, privacy protections, and housing justice in another tough year bode well for even more expansive progress in the future. Here are some of our major victories, legal actions, and campaigns from 2023:

We advocated for immigrants’ rights, housing justice, and labor equality:

We achieved a settlement agreement in our 2018 class action lawsuit challenging a cruel Trump-era policy of detaining immigrant children for prolonged periods, which traumatized some New York children for more than a year.

We filed suit against Rockland and Orange Counties for issuing executive orders that unlawfully barred migrants sheltering in New York City from relocating there, violating their due process and equal protection rights.

After the passage of ReZone Syracuse, a revision of the city’s zoning ordinance, we held a community rally and sent a public comment to the department of transportation urging it to protect Black residents from displacement and to fairly and equitably distribute the newly developable land made available after the demolition of the I-81 viaduct.

As part of our racial justice work, the NYCLU and its partners filed a class action lawsuit to compel the courts to ensure that homeowners facing foreclosure, particularly New Yorkers of color, are appointed free legal representation.

After filing a FOIL request, we sued the New York State Department of Labor for withholding records on the error-prone, racially biased automated tools the agency uses for unemployment insurance identity verification.

We achieved stronger protections for LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive freedom:

We filed a lawsuit against the NYPD for refusing to release records showing whether it is complying with a 2020 settlement requiring updated policies that better protect the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people in police interactions and under custody.

As a result of our lawsuit, the agency that runs public assistance programs statewide agreed to make the “X” gender marker available to nonbinary New Yorkers applying for public benefits.

Our lawsuit on behalf of a transgender woman resulted in a landmark settlement with Broome County mandating broad policy changes that affirm access to medical care and freedom from discrimination and abuse for transgender people in custody.

The legislature passed the Equal Rights Amendment, putting it on the November 2024 ballot for voters to ratify. It will enshrine rights to reproductive autonomy and reproductive health care access in the state constitution.

We took legal action to demand police accountability and protect the rights of the incarcerated:

We filed a trio of lawsuits against the NYPD demanding complete, current data on its vehicle stops in recent years, and we released an analysis revealing the stark racial disparities of those searched or arrested during these stops.

We sued the NYPD for information on how the police and other agencies are being trained to carry out the Adams administration’s problematic directive on forcible detentions and hospitalizations of people with perceived mental illness.

Along with Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York, we filed a class action lawsuit against the Department of Corrections for illegally allowing New York prisons to violate restrictions on prolonged solitary confinement.

The NYCLU, the Legal Aid Society, and New York Attorney General Letitia James reached a landmark agreement with the NYPD to reform how it polices protests.

As part of our statewide law enforcement transparency initiative, we filed new lawsuits against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Yonkers Police Department, and the New York State Police for unlawfully withholding misconduct records to which the public is legally entitled; we also made available more than two decades of the State Police’s officer misconduct and use-of-force records.

New Yorkers from across the state came together to make this critical progress possible:

Seek Justice: We filed 26 lawsuits and amicus briefs in support of civil liberties, and reviewed 1,433 legal requests for referral or further investigation.

Stand United: We brought together 138,984 members and donors with 8,803 volunteers across New York’s 62 counties.

Take Action: We rallied 329,836 e-activists, 124,821 social media followers, and 8,083 volunteers to get involved through opportunities for action—including 75 protests monitored by 250 NYCLU-trained protest monitors.

Strategic Initiatives


Defending the Voting Rights of Communities of Color in New York

The NYCLU is a long-standing leader in the fight to protect every New Yorker’s ability to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Making the vote easy, accessible, and equitable is essential to our democracy, as it’s the bedrock constitutional right that protects all others. Unfortunately, partisan forces in the state persist in undercutting equal representation and fair access to the ballot via voter intimidation, gerrymandering, discrimination, and misinformation. Historically disenfranchised communities of color remain the primary target of these undemocratic practices, and the NYCLU continues to devote significant resources to defending their political participation.

Read more


Making New York a Haven for Abortion and Gender-Affirming Care

New York has often served as a bellwether for the protection of core civil liberties. As many states across the country have moved to ban or severely restrict access to abortion and gender-affirming care, the NYCLU’s work to advance equality has only become more essential. Our state must lead the fight against extreme anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ agendas while keeping New York a safe place for those providing, assisting in, and obtaining essential health care.

Read more

Struggle for Justice

Reducing Violent Police Presence at Protests

The NYCLU has long prioritized transforming the role of law enforcement across New York. Policing remains dangerously unregulated and racially biased, and it fuels mass incarceration, which cripples whole segments of society. We fight for greater police transparency and accountability, and the reallocation of funds into public services that keep communities safe. Because we know that one of the best ways to reduce the harms of policing is to get officers out of situations where they don’t belong, we support efforts to remove police officers from involvement with mental health emergencies, the homeless crisis, and student discipline. Additionally, we fiercely defend the First Amendment rights of protestors subjected to violence, intimidation, and wrongful arrest by out-of-control law enforcement.

Read more

Protect Privacy & Autonomy

Banning Facial Recognition Technology in New York Schools

Our right to privacy is perpetually under attack from new technologies. Law enforcement surveillance of activists and protestors, cell-phone spying, the use of drones and facial recognition software without sufficient public transparency and oversight—all this advancing tech can have a radical impact on the safety and autonomy of New Yorkers. Inevitably, communities of color that already suffer from rampant discrimination end up disproportionately targeted. The NYCLU strives to stay ahead of these innovations by establishing protections against the warrantless collection of sensitive information, including biometric data such as facial or voice recognition, by private companies and government agencies and by advocating for New Yorkers to retain control over who has access to their data.

Read more

The NYCLU is proud to present 
our FY23 financial report

In the face of many challenges and uncertainties, our network of supporters has remained strong – helping us to achieve our fundraising goals and setting us on the path to success in 2024. Your commitment and participation through giving ensures that we can continue our relentless defense of democracy at a time when attacks on civil liberties are on the rise.

Last year, 73% of our total organizational expenses went directly toward salaries and benefits for our diverse staff made up of over 100 attorneys, policy experts, field organizers, communications and fundraising professionals, and administrative specialists. Investing in our employees means investing in legal services for vulnerable New Yorkers, grassroots organizing and community outreach, policy research and advocacy, and so much more.

And the NYCLU achieved top ratings from Charity Navigator and GuideStar, two independent charity assessment organizations that provide insights to nonprofit organizations’ financial transparency and accountability.

See our full revenue and expense breakdown below.

Financial Statement

FY 2022: APRIL 1, 2022 – MARCH 31, 2023

View full financials


  • Membership - $4,372,892
  • Contributions and Grants - $8,516,603
  • Legal Fee Awards - $981,735
  • All Others - $352,829


  • Administration - $2,848,233
  • Development & Fundraising - $1,025,909
  • Legal - $5,750,030
  • Education Center - $2,737,964
  • Policy Advocacy - $3,415,074
  • Field Organizing - $2,386,994
  • Communications - $1,967,200

our mission

The New York Civil Liberties Union’s mission is to defend and promote the fundamental principles and values embodied in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Constitution, including freedom of speech and religion, and the right to privacy, equality and due process of law for all New Yorkers. In pursuit of these principles, we fight for the dignity of all people, with particular attention to the pervasive and persistent harms of racism.