About

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advancing policy solutions for low-income people.

For nearly 50 years, our deeply knowledgeable staff has lifted up the voices of low-income children, families, and individuals; equipped advocates and organizers with policy ideas that work; built coalitions and partnerships to advance a bold vision; and helped public officials put good ideas into practice.

CLASP works to develop and implement federal, state, and local policies (in legislation, regulation, and on the ground) that reduce poverty, improve low-income people’s lives, and creates pathways to economic security for everyone. That includes directly addressing the barriers people face because of race, ethnicity, and immigration status. We also fight back against bad ideas as well as political attacks on effective policies and investments.

Through high-quality analysis grounded in data and on-the-ground experience, effective advocacy, a strong public voice, and hands-on technical assistance, CLASP develops and promotes new ideas, mobilizes others, and provides guidance to government leaders and advocates to help them implement strategies that deliver meaningful results to people across America.

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How CLASP makes a difference

Expertise and Credibility

We have extensive experience and deep knowledge on issues critical to low-income people, and we use that expertise to inform practice and advocate at the federal, state, and local levels. Our experts are respected and trusted both within and beyond government for their depth of knowledge and, credibility.

Core Commitment to Low-Income People

We work on many policy areas, from early education to high-quality jobs and much more.  In each area, we come to the table as an anti-poverty organization that places the lives of low-income people and people of color front and center.

Racial Equity

We analyze policies and identify solutions with a core focus on their impact on communities of color. Learn more.

Telling the Story

We bring data, deep research knowledge and real-life experience, and a commitment to center the voices of low-income people to our policy advocacy.  That includes pushing back on damaging myths and misconceptions about poor people. 

A Broad Vision that Leaves No Stone Unturned

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 on behalf of children, youth, families, and individuals.

Federal, State, and Local Agenda

We work at the federal, state, and local levels to achieve maximum impact. CLASP brings state and local innovations to the federal level and translates federal legislation and regulation into ambitious game plans for state and local change.

Partnership and Coalition Building

No one organization can achieve economic justice alone. As leaders and colleagues, we strengthen and create partnerships that leverage the efforts of many organizations.

Agility & Persistence

We take a long view on public policy, often over many years, yet are also nimble enough to seize unexpected opportunities to improve low-income people’s lives.

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 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.