Our history: CLASP began in 1968 with an open-ended mission: to be a voice in Washington for institutions and people not represented by special interests, through legal, legislative, and regulatory channels. Early on, staff attorneys were involved in a broad array of issues from mining safety, the environment, and mental health, to women’s rights, consumer protection, and media access. As highly effective organizations spun off from CLASP to take on each of these issues, CLASP focused in on poverty as its central mission starting in the early 1980s. Drawing on CLASP’s history of deeply credible analysis, a bias towards action, and practical, yet daring solutions, what has remained constant over all these years is our effective advocacy and ability to provide a trustworthy, respected voice in Washington for disadvantaged populations. To learn more about CLASP's history, click here.
Who we are: The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty organization advancing policy solutions that work for low-income people. We offer nearly 50 years of trusted expertise, a deeply knowledgeable staff, and a commitment to practical yet visionary approaches to opportunity for all. We lift up the voices of poor and low-income children, families, and individuals, equip advocates with strategies that work, and help public officials put good ideas into practice. Our solutions directly address the barriers that individuals and families face because of race, ethnicity, and immigration status, in addition to low income. We know there is no silver bullet, so we put good ideas together for maximum impact—such as “two-generational” approaches that help both children and parents escape poverty.
Who our work supports: Poor and low-income children, youth, families, and individuals.
Mission: CLASP advocates for public policies and programs at the federal, state, and local levels that reduce poverty, improve the lives of poor people, and create ladders to economic security for all. We identify and seek to tear down barriers that hold people back due to their race, ethnicity, immigrant status, or geography, as well as low income. We look for large-scale opportunities to improve federal and state policy, funding, and service systems, and we work back and forth between levels of government to achieve maximum impact, bringing state and local innovations to the federal level and translating federal legislation and regulation into ambitious game plans for state and local change.
How CLASP makes a difference:
- We have extensive experience and deep knowledge on issues critical to poor and low-income people, and we use that expertise to inform practice and advocate at the federal, state, and local levels.
- We ground our recommendations in an awareness of the disproportionate impact of poverty on communities of color.
- We push back on the damaging myths and misconceptions about poor people. Because there is no single solution that will end poverty, we bring deep expertise in a range of areas crucial to promoting opportunity and look for the most promising ways to bring policy ideas together.
- We promote a two-generational approach to public policy that enhances the development of children and youth so they can fully achieve their potential as adults—and at the same time improves the well-being and economic security of parents.
- We take a long view on public policy, often over many years, yet also are nimble enough to seize unexpected opportunities to improve the lives of low-income people. Our experts are respected both inside and outside of government for their deep credibility and expertise.
CLASP works to reform policies and helps to implement them so they will make a real difference in the lives of people nationwide. We use a hands-on approach to equip policymakers, program managers, and advocates with the tools they need—from a clear vision and policy ideas to the practical information they need for successful implementation.
Through effective advocacy, a strong public voice, practical advice, and analysis of data, research evidence, and policy options, CLASP develops and promotes new ideas, mobilizes others, and directly guides government leaders and advocates to successful strategies that deliver meaningful results to people across America.