The Impact Fund



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2019):

Revenue: $3,059,764
Expenses: $2,200,002
Assets: $3,040,844



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The Impact Fund is a legal activist organization which provides financial support and counseling services to left-of-center activists and organizations. The Fund assists plaintiffs by using its legal team to help organize and initiate lawsuits and to prepare amicus briefs in support of ongoing lawsuits supporting left-progressive political goals.

The Fund also provides training for lawyers and activists on how to use individual and class-action lawsuits to advance a left-progressive agenda – an approach which the Fund calls “impact litigation.” The Fund explicitly states that it engages in legal action “with the goal of achieving broad social change.” 1


The Impact Fund was founded in 1992 by career civil rights attorney Brad Seligman, who went on to become a judge on the California Superior Court for the County of Alameda. Seligman recruited several of the state’s leading left-of-center activist litigators to become the Fund’s original Board of Advisors. The Fund is now headquartered in Berkeley, California. 2


The Impact Fund issues grants to numerous smaller legal activist organizations with a left-progressive agenda. In 2020, the Fund gave grants of between $7,500 and $50,000 to at least 20 such groups. These included a transgender legal center in California, which received $50,000; an environmentalist legal center in New Mexico, which received $35,000; and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a leading firearm rights restriction advocacy group, which also received $50,000. The Fund also sent $27,500 to two undisclosed recipients outside the United States for “program support.” In total, the Fund distributed more than $570,000 worth of grants and other financial support. 3

That year, the Fund also joined several high-profile lawsuits related to LGBT issues, including one involving a male Starbucks employee who sued the company for not recognizing his self-identification as female. Another involved a female high school student who identified as male. The Fund was also involved in a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture which was intended to overrule the federal government and extend welfare benefits in California during the COVID-19 pandemic. 4


Jocelyn Larkin is the executive director of the Impact Fund. She has served as class counsel in numerous class-action lawsuits against major corporations such as Walmart and Costco. Larkin attended the University of California, Los Angeles law school. 5

Teddy Basham-Witherington is the deputy director of the Impact Fund. He has an extensive track record in organizing activism for same-sex and transgender issues, most recently as the chief marketing officer for the LGBT activist group Out and Equal Employment Advocates. He previously spent more than a decade organizing LGBT parades in San Francisco and London. 6

David Nahmias is the staff attorney at the Impact Fund. He started out as a law fellow at the Fund, and during that time, he oversaw the launch of its LGBT activist litigation effort. He previously worked for several other left-of-center legal activist organizations, including California Rural Legal Assistance and Legal Aid at Work. He also interned for the office of California-based federal judge Charles Breyer. Nahmias attended the University of California, Berkeley law school, where he was an editor at two of the university’s law journals. 7


In 2020, the Impact Fund received more than $1.1 million in contributions and grants. The Fund also received a loan of more than $170,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was part of the federal economic stimulus package intended to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 8 Notable donors to the Fund in 2020 included the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Pisces Foundation. 10


  1. About Us. Impact Fund. Accessed July 31, 2021.
  2. About Us. Impact Fund. Accessed July 31, 2021.
  3. Impact Fund 2020 IRS Form 990. Accessed July 31, 2021.
  4. 2020 Annual Report. Impact Fund. Accessed July 31, 2021.
  5. Staff Profiles. Impact Fund. Accessed July 31, 2021.
  6. Staff Profiles. Impact Fund. Accessed July 31, 2021.
  7. Staff Profiles. Impact Fund. Accessed July 31, 2021.
  8. Impact Fund 2020 IRS Form 990. Accessed July 31, 2021.
  9. 2020 Annual Report. Impact Fund. Accessed July 31, 2021.[/note] The Fund also receives funding from the California Bar Association’s legal services trust fund. 9 About Us. Impact Fund. Accessed July 31, 2021.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1992

  • 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
    2019 Jun Form 990 $3,059,764 $2,200,002 $3,040,844 $120,657 N $1,071,928 $1,938,127 $45,118 $272,935 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $2,216,053 $1,535,043 $2,246,026 $297,416 N $1,907,510 $297,380 $29,629 $285,533 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $889,590 $1,506,545 $1,584,952 $322,434 N $585,533 $264,503 $37,290 $168,873
    2016 Jun Form 990 $1,679,982 $1,965,121 $2,187,916 $399,307 N $513,494 $1,124,544 $62,530 $444,538 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $2,845,985 $1,420,409 $2,243,063 $178,863 N $435,617 $2,406,354 $49,861 $380,977 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $795,150 $920,527 $735,039 $96,415 N $619,511 $155,538 $15,303 $135,232 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $776,822 $913,697 $893,074 $174,978 N $586,322 $164,732 $17,532 $118,959 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $1,368,282 $1,165,457 $1,080,549 $264,804 N $1,037,126 $336,763 $10,858 $214,404 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $821,913 $940,174 $725,521 $109,363 N $632,205 $196,538 $14,011 $240,546 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    The Impact Fund

    2080 ADDISON ST STE 2
    BERKELEY, CA 94704-1693