What is the Difference?
Technically speaking, the “ACLU of RI” is comprised of two separate corporate entities: the ACLU of Rhode Island (a 501c4) and the ACLU Foundation of Rhode Island (a 501c3). Although both are part of the same overall organization, for legal reasons, we have two separate corporate entities to allow us to do a broader range of work in protecting civil liberties. Although there is some overlap in the work done by each entity, certain activities we do to protect civil liberties must be done by one and not the other. This is primarily in the area of lobbying.
The ACLU Foundation of Rhode Island is responsible for most of our legal and public education work, and IS eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. Federal law limits the extent to which the ACLU Foundation of Rhode Island may engage in legislative lobbying. A donation to the ACLU Foundation of Rhode Island is tax-deductible.
In contrast, the ACLU of Rhode Island engages in legislative lobbying, and is not eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. Contributions to the ACLU of Rhode Island, including membership dues, are not tax-deductible.
You may make a contribution to either the ACLU Foundation of Rhode Island, the ACLU of Rhode Island - or both. A contribution to either organization will be used to support, promote and defend civil liberties. However, each organization will only use the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the specific activities it conducts as part of our overall mission.