Citizen Responsibility. At its core, the League believes that citizens are responsible for ensuring that our democratic system of governance functions effectively. The Leagues seeks to:
- Inspire citizens to actively participate in the democratic process;
- Educate citizens about democratic principles;
- Develop in-depth understanding of current public policy issues and come to consensus among League members about the best solutions; and
- Advocate for these solutions in the halls of government.
Decentralized, grassroots organization. The League’s enduring vitality and resonance comes from its unique decentralized structure that consists of a network of groups working at all levels of government â€“ local, state, and national. (Joining the League at one level automatically makes you a member of all levels.)
There are Leagues in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong. Altogether, some 900 state and local leagues comprise a vast grassroots corps of concerned citizens. While paid staff manage the state and national offices of the League, volunteers do the bulk of the League’s work.
Membership Diversity.The League is open to any person who subscribes to LWV principles. It is committed to diversity and welcomes members of varied backgrounds. It recognizes that diverse perspectives are important and necessary for responsible and representative decision-making in a democracy. Since the 1970’s, membership in the LWV has been open to men, as well as women, and now men make up a significant part of the organization. (See also the “Join/Donate” page on this website.)
Finances.As a nonprofit organization, the League relies primarily on dues and contributions to operate and to achieve its goals. Support comes from members, non-members, and the community at large. Each local LWV decides the amount of its dues and the method for collecting them. From its funds, the local LWV pays a per-member payment to support the state and national LWVs. The LWV also conducts fundraising campaigns at each level.
Since the LWV is a lobbying organization, donations for advocacy activities and League membership dues are not tax-deductible. However, both the NYS Education Foundation and the national Education Fund qualify as 510(c)(3) organizations under the Internal Revenue Code and may accept tax-deductible contributions. These funds are used exclusively for educational projects.