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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (The Leadership Conference), formerly called the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, is an umbrella group of American civil rights interest groups.
The Leadership Conference was founded in 1950 by three leaders in the American Civil Rights Movement: Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters founder A. Philip Randolph, NAACP executive secretary Roy Wilkins, and National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council leader Arnold Aronson.
The Leadership Conference is currently led by Vanita Gupta who took the helm in 2017 upon the retirement of Wade Henderson who had served as President and CEO of both The Leadership Conference and The Leadership Conference Education Fund (see below) since 2010. Previously, Karen McGill Lawson was Executive Vice President and COO of both organizations; and Nancy M. Zirkin was Executive Vice President for Policy of both organizations. Dorothy Height, who had been Chairperson of the Leadership Conference's Executive Committee, died on April 20, 2010; as of June 25, 2010, her replacement as chair had not yet been named.
As of June 2010, the Leadership Conference website reported that the organization had "more than 200" member organizations. The site described the organization's mission as "promot[ing] and protect[ing] the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States . . . [t]hrough advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies . . . ."
According to the organization's website, "The Leadership Conference is a 501(c)(4) organization that engages in legislative advocacy. It ... has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957."
The Leadership Conference Education Fund, described by the Leadership Conference website as "the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference," was founded in 1969. It was previously known as the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund.
According to the Leadership Conference website, the Education Fund "builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund's campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States."
The Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, which means that contributions are tax-deductible.
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