Non-profit

Mississippi Center for Justice

Website:

www.mscenterforjustice.org/

Location:

JACKSON, MS

Tax ID:

13-4203234

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $3,774,368
Expenses: $3,829,032
Assets: $2,906,772

Formation:

2003

Founder:

Martha Bergmark

The Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ) is a public interest law firm that focuses on racial and economic issues in the state of Mississippi. The center has also provided legal support for left-of-center causes such as challenging pro-life laws in the state[1] and providing legal assistance to illegal immigrants detained as a result of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. [2]

MCJ is funded by multiple foundations including George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Atlantic Philanthropies, as well as through multiple grants from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Background

The Mississippi Center for Justice is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm that focuses on racial and economic cases in the state of Mississippi. It was founded in 2003 by Martha J. Bergmark, a prominent attorney who was named the received the Public Interest Pioneer designation from the left-of-center Stern Family Fund; the award came with a $200,000 grant to launch the Mississippi Center for Justice. [3]

Funding

The Mississippi Center for Justice received funding from multiple sources including foundations and government grants.

The MCJ has received multiple grants from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a federal Cabinet-level agency responsible for administering federal housing assistance programs and other housing-related regulations. [4] HUD gave the Mississippi Center for Justice a $125,000 Education and Outreach grant in 2014; these grants are awarded to groups that provide education to the public and housing providers regarding rights and responsibilities under federal, state, or local laws that are that are substantially equivalent to the Fair Housing Act. [5][6]

HUD also granted MCJ two grants in 2016, one of these was a grant of $86,473 as part of the department’s Fair Housing Organizations Initiative which focused on enhancing the ability of non-profit fair housing organizations to continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act. The other grant was for $125,000 as part of the HUD’s Education and Outreach Initiative. [7]

The Department of Housing and Urban Development also granted MCJ another grant of $300,000 in 2018 as part of its Private Enforcement Initiative,[8] which funds non-profit fair housing organizations in order for them to test or enforce activities to prevent “discriminatory housing practices.” HUD also granted the center another $125,000 in 2018 as part of its Education and Outreach Initiative. [9]

The Mississippi Center for Justice also receives funding from multiple foundations including George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

The Atlantic Philanthropies is a collection of principally overseas private foundations that provide major support to international left-wing advocacy organizations,[10] and is involved in left-of-center politics by taking advantage of weak restrictions on the funding of 501(c)(4) advocacy groups by offshore foundations, most notably through spending in the 2016 general elections via the secretive left-of-center advocacy group Civic Participation Action Fund, which it reportedly provided with $50 million in support. [11] The Atlantic Philanthropies granted the Mississippi Center for Justice $800,000 in 2009, $600,000 in 2012, and $500,000 in 2013 to promote increased government control of health care. [12]

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is the seventh-largest private foundation in the United States and focuses explicitly on race-based causes. Alongside the $1,000,000 grant it provided the Mississippi Center for Justice in 2016 for “thriving children,”[13] the foundation has also funded left-of-center organizations such as the Tides Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

The Open Society Foundations, a network of more than 20 national and regional foundations that have given hundreds of millions to left-wing political organizations including multi-million dollar gifts to the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood,[14]  presented the Mississippi Center for Justice with a $75,000 grant in 2017 for the center’s anti-bullying project that would focus on reducing “bullying related to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and religion.” [15] MCJ was also included in a $100,000 grant in 2013 that was collectively awarded to five Mississippi-based groups to increase the income and influence of minority communities in the state. [16]

The Mississippi Center for Justice also received multiple grants from the Kresge Foundation, a left-of-center philanthropic organization that funds left-of-center and liberal organizations that support causes such as illegal immigration, aggressive environmentalism, and race issues. The foundation granted MCJ $350,000 in 2012 for “organizational improvements and capacity building,”[17] as well as another $300,000 grant in 2013 for general operations support, staffing, coaching, and programming. [18]

The center also received a $200,000 grant for general operations in 2015 from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation,[19] a grant-making foundation that focuses on giving to organizations and groups based on their adherence to left-of-center policy. [20] [21] [22]

The Marguerite Casey Foundation, a left-of-center private foundation notable for its support of left-of-center community organizing, including the now-defunct ACORN network, and being related to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, granted the Mississippi Center for Justice $300,000 for “general support” in 2018. [23]

The Mississippi Center for Justice also received $30,000 from the Mississippi Bar Foundation in 2011,[24] and was an IOLTA grantee of the American Bar Association in 2010. [25]

Political Activities

The Mississippi Center for Justice, alongside Lambda Legal, a left-leaning, LGBT advocacy organization based in New York City, filed a lawsuit in 2017 against the “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,” which protects by law “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral conviction for persons, religious organizations, and private organizations,” which would prevent government intervention if a person, business, or religious institution act “based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” [26] The lawsuit argued that House Bill 1523 was unconstitutional with the MCJ claiming “LGBT Mississippians should not have to endure even more profound discrimination.” [27]

MCJ alongside the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion advocacy group which frequently sues to overturn pro-life laws in the United States, brought forward a lawsuit in 2017 against Mississippi legislation prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation. The Center for Reproductive Rights claimed that the ban was a “coordinated strategy to undermine or eliminate women’s constitutional rights to legal abortion,” and had nothing to do with healthcare but “shaming women.” [28] The two groups also worked together in 2019 to challenge a 6-week abortion ban brought forward by the state, claiming the ban was unconstitutional. [29]

The Mississippi Center for Justice created a “rapid response legal team” in 2019, to provide legal assistance for illegal immigrants who were detained in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in Mississippi. The center also offered legal help to those that were facing removal. [30]

References

  1. “Center for Reproductive Rights Announces Challenge to Dozens of Abortion Restrictions in Mississippi.” Center for Reproductive Rights. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://reproductiverights.org/press-room/center-for-reproductive-rights-announces-challenge-to-dozens-of-abortion-restrictions-in-. ^
  2. Thomas, Dana. “Crisis in Mississippi: Help Us To Fight For Immigration Rights.” Justice Blog. Justice Blog, August 8, 2019. https://www.mscenterforjustice.blog/blog-1/2019/8/8/crisis-in-mississippi-help-us-to-fight-for-immigration-rights. ^
  3. “Staff.” Staff | Mississippi Center for Justice. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.mscenterforjustice.org/about-center/staff. ^
  4. “Grants.” HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.hud.gov/grants. ^
  5. “MCJ Awarded HUD Grant to Fight Housing Discrimination.” MCJ awarded HUD grant to fight housing discrimination | Mississippi Center for Justice, October 29, 2014. https://www.mscenterforjustice.org/newsroom/press-release/mcj-awarded-hud-grant-fight-housing-discrimination. ^
  6. Hud, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Office of Public Affairs. “News Releases: HUD AWARDS $38 MILLION TO FIGHT DISCRIMINATION.” HUD Archives. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://archives.hud.gov/news/2016/pr16-150.cfm. ^
  7. Hud, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Office of Public Affairs. “News Releases: HUD AWARDS $38 MILLION TO FIGHT DISCRIMINATION.” HUD Archives. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://archives.hud.gov/news/2016/pr16-150.cfm. ^
  8. “HUD AWARDS $23 MILLION TO FIGHT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION.” HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_18_142. ^
  9. “HUD AWARDS $37 MILLION TO FIGHT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION .” KMAccess, January 23, 2018. https://www.kmaccess.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/hud-grants-18-004.pdf. ^
  10. Callahan, David. “A Closer Look at Atlantic’s End Game-And Where It’s Putting the Biggest Money.” Inside Philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy, August 20, 2014. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2014/8/20/a-closer-look-at-atlantics-end-gameand-where-its-putting-the.html. ^
  11. Mider, Zachary. “Little-Known Force on the Left Tiptoes into 2016 Races.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, October 21, 2016. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-21/little-known-force-on-the-left-tiptoes-into-2016-races. ^
  12. “Mississippi Center for Justice: Atlantic Philanthropies.” The Atlantic Philanthropies. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/grantees/mississippi-center-for-justice. ^
  13. “Mississippi Center for Justice General Operating Support.” W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.wkkf.org/grants/grant/2016/03/mississippi-center-for-justice-general-operating-support-p3033650. ^
  14. “Open Society U.S. Programs Board Meeting.” Investigative Project. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/892.pdf. ^
  15. “Open Society Foundations – Awarded Grants, Scholarships, and Fellowships.” Open Society Foundations – Awarded Grants, Scholarships, and Fellowships – Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/past?filter_amount=500001-9999999999,50001-100000&grant_id=OR2017-32657. ^
  16. “Jackson Nonprofits Win Grant to Plan Local Change.” Jackson nonprofits win grant to plan local change | Mississippi Center for Justice, April 8, 2013. https://www.mscenterforjustice.org/newsroom/press-release/jackson-nonprofits-win-grant-plan-local-change. ^
  17. “0 – Mississippi Center for Justice.” The Kresge Foundation, June 5, 2013. https://kresge.org/grant/mississippi-center-justice. ^
  18. “0 – Mississippi Center for Justice.” The Kresge Foundation, March 4, 2014. https://kresge.org/grant/mississippi-center-justice-0. ^
  19. “Mississippi Center for Justice.” Mississippi Center for Justice | Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, January 1, 1970. https://www.mrbf.org/grants/mississippi-center-justice-0. ^
  20. “Our Commitment to Racial Equity.” Our Commitment to Racial Equity | Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.mrbf.org/our-commitment-racial-equity. ^
  21. “About.” About | Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.mrbf.org/about#content-bar-93ba475d-9768-43d8-b520-5c07faea4ae4. ^
  22. “Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation Sharpens Focus.” bizjournals.com. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.bizjournals.com/triad/stories/2005/08/01/newscolumn1.html. ^
  23. “Mississippi Center for Justice.” Marguerite Casey Foundation. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://caseygrants.org/grantee-database/mississippi-center-for-justice/. ^
  24. “Mississippi Bar Foundation.” BIG Online: US Foundation Summary. Accessed November 29, 2019. http://www.bigdatabase.com/Big-DB/USFoundation-profiles/MISSISSIPPI BAR FOUNDATION INC-646029087.HTML. ^
  25. “IOLTA Grantees.” American Bar Association. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/interest_lawyers_trust_accounts/publications/iolta_grantees/. ^
  26. “House Bill 1523.” Mississippi State Legislature Index. Accessed November 29, 2019. http://index.ls.state.ms.us/isysnative/UzpcRG9jdW1lbnRzXDIwMTZccGRmXGhiXDE1MDAtMTU5OVxoYjE1MjNpbi5wZGY=/hb1523in.pdf. ^
  27. Lambda Legal. “Advocates Will Appeal Case Against Mississippi Anti-LGBT Law HB 1523 to Supreme Court.” Lambda Legal. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/20171002_ms-hb-1523-appeal-to-supreme-court. ^
  28. “Center for Reproductive Rights Announces Challenge to Dozens of Abortion Restrictions in Mississippi.” Center for Reproductive Rights. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://reproductiverights.org/press-room/center-for-reproductive-rights-announces-challenge-to-dozens-of-abortion-restrictions-in-. ^
  29. “Mississippi Six-Week Abortion Ban Challenged in Court.” Center for Reproductive Rights. Accessed November 29, 2019. https://reproductiverights.org/press-room/mississippi-six-week-abortion-ban-challenged-in-court. ^
  30. Thomas, Dana. “Crisis in Mississippi: Help Us To Fight For Immigration Rights.” Justice Blog. Justice Blog, August 8, 2019. https://www.mscenterforjustice.blog/blog-1/2019/8/8/crisis-in-mississippi-help-us-to-fight-for-immigration-rights. ^
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 2002

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $3,774,368 $3,829,032 $2,906,772 $116,714 N $3,689,284 $65,175 $3,014 $1,520,679 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $5,364,336 $3,606,434 $2,971,025 $126,303 N $5,286,956 $53,045 $37 $1,384,697 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,658,175 $4,545,487 $1,299,437 $212,617 N $2,519,947 $151,699 $353 $393,950 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $3,966,974 $4,516,182 $3,409,157 $435,026 N $3,720,013 $244,945 $563 $634,307 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $4,747,166 $4,064,409 $3,786,312 $262,973 N $4,363,047 $382,823 $1,292 $686,479 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $3,405,486 $3,783,986 $3,070,758 $230,178 N $3,264,006 $140,703 $236 $248,819 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $4,759,723 $2,593,354 $3,427,297 $208,217 N $4,625,015 $94,447 $2,375 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Mississippi Center for Justice

    PO BOX 1023
    JACKSON, MS 39215-1023