Peggy Browning Fund




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $796,516
Expenses: $738,932
Assets: $1,857,403


Labor Law Fellow



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The Peggy Browning Fund provides funding, employment, and networking opportunities to law students interested in working for labor unions, practicing labor law, and engaging in labor advocacy. It is named for Margaret “Peggy” Browning, the first labor lawyer to be appointed a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

Activities and Donors

Peggy Browning Fund is a left-leaning grantmaking nonprofit organization that supports law students interested in labor law and union advocacy. Its flagship activity is the Peggy Browning Fellowship Program, which provides stipends to law students who spend 10 to 12 weeks after their first or second year of law school working for labor unions, worker centers, labor-related nonprofit organizations, and union-affiliated law firms. The fellowship is intended to encourage students to consider labor law as a viable career choice, and the fund works closely with law schools, labor lawyers, and nonprofit leaders to identify challenging work opportunities for fellows. The fund also offers a school-year fellowship. 1

From 1998 to 2022, the fund offered more than 1,300 fellowships at 72 mentor organizations to law students at 157 law schools. It offered 104 fellowship positions in 2022. 2

In 2022, the fund supported fellowships at organizations including the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers, Community Legal Services, Farmworker Justice, Make the Road New York, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. 3

The fund also sponsors an annual National Law Students Workers’ Rights Conference for law students interested in labor law. The 2022 conference, held in October, featured sessions on labor organizing at Starbucks, immigrant rights and the labor movement, and the benefits of practicing labor law. 4 The plenary sessions featured an address by labor organizer Christian Smalls, leader of the Amazon Labor Union. 5 The fund also offers “Advocating for Workplace Justice” workshops on working in the labor movement at law schools throughout the year. 6

The fund is largely supported by donations from labor unions and other labor-focused organizations. These donors include United Steelworkers, the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, United Auto Workers, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, and various law firms that represent both workers and labor unions in the courts. 7


Peggy Browning Fund is named for Margaret “Peggy” Browning, a labor lawyer who was the first union-side attorney to serve on the National Labor Relations Board from 1994 to 1997. Browning was born in Tennessee and educated at Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She was a former figure skating champion in Philadelphia and, in 1990, had served on the U.S. Figure Skating Association’s judges committee. 8 9

Browning clerked for U.S. District Judge Murray M. Schwartz for the District of Delaware and became an appellate attorney at the Philadelphia firm of Spear Wildman, representing labor unions in the federal appellate courts. 10 Browning was appointed to the NLRB in 1994 by President Bill Clinton and died of breast cancer at the age of 46 in 1997. She was remembered by President Clinton for her “dedication to justice and to fair labor practices throughout the nation.” The fund was started by Joe Lurie, Browning’s husband at her death and a Philadelphia law partner, and opened its doors in 1998. 11

In 2016, NLRB regional director Dennis Walsh was suspended for a month without pay for undisclosed conflicts of interest after he overruled an employer’s objections to a union organizing vote at a rehab center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Walsh had worked with Browning at Spear Wildman, was Browning’s counsel at the NLRB, and had been active with the fund since 1997 and served as its chairman from 2011 until his appointment to his NLRB position. The NLRB’s Inspector General criticized Walsh’s close relationship with the fund and with its union donors, stating: “The local union officials and their representatives make a donation, get drinks and dinner and hang out with the decision maker for the NLRB cases. Why wouldn’t a rank and file unit member who filed a duty of fair representation charge or a charged employer perceive that the union officials had some special access to the NLRB process?” 12

The fund has served as a pipeline into key positions in the federal government dealing with labor issues. Fellowship alumni serving in the Biden Administration include Lisa Gomez, the assistant secretary of labor for employee benefits security; 13 Moshe Marvit, member of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission; 14 and David Prouty and Gwynne Wilcox, members of the National Labor Relations Board. 15


The executive director of the Peggy Browning Fund since July 2021 is Rachel del Rossi. She was previously the executive director of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco and program director at Compass Family Services, which provides assistance to homeless families in the Bay Area. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of California at Berkeley. 16

Prior to becoming executive director at the fund, del Rossi regularly wrote online essays. In one, titled “I Need You to Factcheck Your Stupid Friends,” she advocated for “throwing sand in the gears” of “online disinformation” on social media outlets such as Facebook by engaging strangers in “[o]nline activism countering disinformation.” 17 She is also a strong advocate for legal abortion, arguing that “It’s not possible for one body to hold two equal sets of rights, which means that if a zygote is granted full personhood rights, those rights must be removed from the pregnant person. The consequences of pregnant people losing their personhood rights are wide ranging, brutal, and disproportionately harm vulnerable populations.” 18

Joseph Lurie, Peggy Browning’s husband at the time of her death, remains an ex officio member of the fund’s board. 19 Other board members include chair Richard J. Brean, former general counsel of United Steelworkers; Michael Artz (a 2000 Peggy Browning Fund fellow), associate general counsel of AFSCME; Samantha Dulaney, general counsel of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; and Patrick J. Szymanski, general counsel of the labor federation Change to Win. 20


  1. “About the Fellowships.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  2. “Facts About the Peggy Browning Fund.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  3. “Summer Fellowship Positions.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  4. [1] “Program Schedule.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  5. “Plenary, Keynote, and Workshops.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  6. “Regional Workshops.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  7. “Leadership Circle Members.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  8. “Labor Relations Board Member Margaret Browning Dies at 46.” Washington Post. March 1, 1997. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  9. Richard Freeman. “A Tribute to Peggy Browning.” Philadelphia Lawyer. Fall 2004. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  10. “Labor Relations Board Member Margaret Browning Dies at 46.” Washington Post. March 1, 1997. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  11. Richard Freeman. “A Tribute to Peggy Browning.” Philadelphia Lawyer. Fall 2004. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  12. Jane M. Von Bergen. “Why Philly’s NLRB head was suspended for a month.” Philadelphia Inquirer. May 9, 2016. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  13. “President Biden Announces 9 Key Nominations on July 27.” July 28, 2021.
  14. “President Biden Announces Key Nominees.” June 22, 2022. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  15. “Senate Confirms Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty to the NLRB.” Senate HELP Committee. July 28, 2021. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  16. “Rachel del Rossi.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  17. Rachel del Rossi. “I Need You to Factcheck Your Stupid Friends.” Outside Voice. Jan. 16, 2020. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  18. Rachel del Rossi. “We can still defend the right to an abortion, but we’re going to have to be smart about it.” Outside Voice. Oct. 26, 2020. Accessed Dec. 3, 2022.
  19. Peggy Browning Fund. Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). 2019.
  20. “Home.” Peggy Browning Fund. Accessed December 12, 2022.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: March - February
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1997

  • 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
    2020 Dec Form 990 $796,516 $738,932 $1,857,403 $105,612 N $607,341 $18,730 $45,216 $111,642
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,153,419 $860,057 $1,663,118 $35,003 N $1,131,543 $37,663 $37,350 $110,089 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $860,482 $839,829 $1,252,073 $39,546 Y $804,308 $46,608 $32,007 $106,193 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $938,712 $870,245 $1,345,338 $36,073 N $1,012,438 $17,043 $40,658 $102,693 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $784,883 $789,776 $1,170,551 $32,359 N $851,956 $13,937 $33,499 $99,428 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $863,383 $791,433 $1,159,264 $46,085 Y $880,264 $17,012 $43,466 $101,627 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $828,428 $690,740 $1,198,028 $85,846 Y $776,704 $24,809 $56,426 $94,248 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $762,546 $661,008 $1,013,355 $7,153 Y $761,527 $14,966 $39,543 $93,794 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $667,341 $671,918 $846,769 $6,921 N $660,939 $15,400 $35,625 $94,870 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $717,865 $580,132 $852,808 $21,115 N $260,958 $16,916 $39,672 $82,961 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Peggy Browning Fund

    100 S BROAD ST STE 1208
    PHILADELPHIA, PA 19110-1015