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2015-2018 Strategic Plan

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
A VISION FOR THE FUTURE

Download the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan  (PDF).

Table of Contents

Leading the Fight

Lambda Legal continues to fight for equal justice for LGBT people and people living with HIV in all areas of our lives using a multipronged strategy:

  • impact litigation
  • public policy advocacy
  • education and communication

We understand that social change must be secured both in the courts and in the court of public opinion. We educate and inform members of our communities and our allies about legal rights and challenges because court victories are hollow if LGBT people and people living with HIV are unable to gain access to and secure their rights.

Great progress has been made since 2011 when Lambda Legal’s last Strategic Plan was adopted. But so much more needs to be done. We thought broadly and comprehensively about the needs of our community and set big, ambitious goals.

What's next for Lambda Legal?

Success over the next four years means going above and beyond our already impressive legal advocacy track record. Our goals include:

  • Increasing our focus on southern states and other regions of the country where LGBT people and people with HIV face discrimination and violence with fewer legal protections. Lambda Legal has had regional offices in the south—in Atlanta and Dallas—for more than 10 years, and our attorneys have fought and won many important victories in states across the region. We are well-positioned to strengthen and expand our work not only in the south, but in more conservative parts of the midwest and west.
  • Ensuring that the formal legal victories we win in court are translated into genuine equality and dignity in the lived experiences of the communities we represent. We will sharpen our focus on the intersections of different types of discrimination in people’s lives and deploy our litigation, advocacy and education tools to eliminate or reduce the barriers to justice that LGBT people and people living with HIV may face based on factors such as race, poverty, age or immigration status.

Lambda Legal’s Growing Impact and Reach

  2010 2014 % growth

Number of cases on our docket

63 104 65%

Number of calls to our Legal Help Desk

6,300

6,951

10%

Social media audience

31,351

282,804

802%

Staff size

84

104

24%

Total Expenses

$16.7M

$26.4M

58%

 

We thought broadly and comprehensively about the needs of our community and set big, ambitious goals. Our vision includes:

  • Marriage equality nationwide.
  • Increased protections for same-sex couples who are not married.
  • State and federal non-discrimination laws barring discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
  • Stopping the backlash and resisting efforts to craft overly broad loopholes to antidiscrimination protections at the federal, state and local levels.
  • Addressing the needs of LGBT youth and the children of LGBT individuals and families including significantly improving school policies and practices aimed at reducing anti-LGBT bullying, discrimination and the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
  • Defending the rights of seniors who face discrimination related to their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status, including discrimination by staff and residents at senior centers and denial of equal Social Security benefits and survivor benefits as compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
  • Eliminate exclusions of transition-related health care for transgender people from Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, government employee and private insurance health coverage.
  • Improved treatment of LGBT people and people living with HIV by law enforcement authorities and in the penal and juvenile justice systems.
  • Development of more robust strategies for respecting and meeting the needs of people with non-binary sexual orientations and gender identities, including combatting gender stereotyping and addressing bisexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity fluidity and the increasing resistance of teens and young adults to LGBT labels.
  • Expand the ways we address the needs of LGBT communities of color including how racial and economic inequality and injustice affect LGBT people and people with HIV, and strengthen our work to translate formal equality into lived equality.
  • More widespread recognition that the LGBT rights movement’s goals are not only about equality but also about justice, liberty, dignity, protections of expression and fair treatment at work, in school, in access to health care and in how the government deals with LGBT people and people with HIV.

How We'll Do This:

Impact Litigation and Public Policy Work:

  • Develop strong cases in each of Lambda Legal’s program priority areas that will have the most impact by securing the rights of large numbers of LGBT people and people with HIV in areas of our lives that matter most.
  • Strategically work with federal, state and local policy makers to enact laws, regulations, guidance and official practices that protect the rights of LGBT individuals, people living with HIV and their families.
  • Address the legal needs of the breadth of our community, particularly those subject to multiple and often intersecting types of discrimination and disadvantage, such as people of color who are LGBT or living with HIV as well as LGBT people and people with HIV who have low income, who live in more conservative parts of the country, who are youth or seniors and/or who are immigrants.
  • Provide current, accessible information to policy makers and the media on the law, trends and issues affecting the civil rights of members of the LGBT community and people living with HIV.

Education, Advocacy and Inclusion:

  • Provide accurate and accessible “know your rights” information to LGBT people and people living with HIV through digital and printed publications and through training and presentations in communities.
  • Explain the meaning of our litigation, enhance its impact and amplify the voices of our plaintiffs and our attorneys.
  • Strengthen public support for the role of the courts.
  • Increase understanding of the lived experiences, with respect to discrimination and access to legal rights, of LGBT people and people living with HIV and address the legal needs of the breadth of our community, particularly those subject to multiple and often intersecting types of discrimination.
  • Build relationships and joint initiatives with key constituencies and partners, including national policy associations, civil and legal rights organizations and other LGBT and HIV organizations and community groups.

Communications and Visibility:

  • Use multiple, integrated channels, such as media outreach, social media and other platforms, to educate and inform, shape public opinion and promote the significance of our work.
  • Shape messages and stories that explain and amplify Lambda Legal’s work and its significance so that staff members, Board, NLC and regional leadership committee members can help drive the national conversation about equality.
  • Increase marketing performance and the visibility of our organization’s leadership role in the movement.

Development:

  • Secure a combined cash and pro bono services operating budget in excess of $30 million by 2018.

Organizational Capacity:

  • Expand our institutional capacity and improve organizational efficiency by investing in the systems, infrastructure and human capital that enable the organization to achieve its mission.
  • Continue our excellent financial stewardship.

Board Engagement:

  • Continue to cultivate a culture of excellence among board members, because the vision, capacity and engagement of the Lambda Legal Board of Directors significantly and directly affect the organization’s impact, fundraising capacity and continued success.

Strategic Planning Process

Lambda Legal engaged The Raben Group to help develop the organization’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2018. Through the more than 70 individual interviews and a comprehensive staff survey, input from the board and monthly meetings of the Strategic Planning Committee, broad, organization-wide goals were identified that we believe will bolster the organization, leverage its strengths for greater impact and promote Lambda Legal’s continued success as the leading LGBT legal organization.

Strategic Planning Committee Members

  • Stephen Winters, Co-Chair
  • Suzanne LeVan, Co-Chair
  • Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director
  • Marla Butler, Board Member
  • Jon Davidson, Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair
  • Trayton Davis, Board Member
  • Karen K. Dixon, Board Co-Chair
  • Leslie Gabel-Brett, Director of Education & Public Affairs
  • Fran Goldstein, Deputy Director
  • Vincent Jones, Board Member
  • Anne Krook, Board Member
  • Laura Maechtlen, Board Member
  • Judy Pfenninger, Chief Financial Officer
  • Vadim Schick, Board Member
  • Brad Seiling, Board Co-Chair (during strategic plan process)

Lambda Legal Board of Directors