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

For more than 50 years, our deeply knowledgeable staff has lifted up the voices of children, families, and individuals with low incomes; 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 the lives of people with low income, and create pathways to economic security for everyone.

CLASP understands that poverty in America is inextricably tied to systemic racism. Therefore, we will explicitly and with intention, focus our policy and advocacy efforts for economic and racial justice on systemic racism as the primary cause of poverty in communities of color in the United States. We believe that centering communities of color in our advocacy leads to policies that advance economic justice for everyone. We work in partnership with the people most impacted to advance policies that promote racial and economic justice.

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.

How CLASP makes a difference

Expertise and Credibility

We have extensive experience and deep knowledge on issues critical to people with low incomes, 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 People with Low Incomes

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 people with low income and people of color front and center.

Racial Equity

At CLASP, racial equity is a core value and informs all aspects of our organizational culture and the way we think about and approach our policy, issue, and advocacy areas. Learn more.

A Broad Vision that Leaves No Stone Unturned

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

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

Alongside our dedicated partners and supporters, we are committed to combating poverty, injustice and systemic racism, listening to those with lived experience and creating pathways to economic security for all.

Agility & Persistence

We take a long view on public policy, often over many years, yet are also nimble enough to seize unexpected opportunities to advance and support transformative policies to improve the lives of families and children living in communities with low income, communities of color, young people and immigrant families and children.

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 toward action, and practical, yet daring solutions. What has remained constant over all these years is our effective advocacy and ability to be a trustworthy, respected voice in Washington for communities and people. We work on their behalf to open doors to better jobs, economic mobility, and all the opportunities children, youth, and adults need to thrive.