Skip to content

What We Do

Friends of the LRC is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in its mission to advance human rights, equality, and social justice in South Africa. We work closely with the LRC by providing financial assistance, collaborating on joint initiatives, and raising awareness of the LRC’s achievements both in the United States and globally.

Financial Support: We understand the critical role that funding plays in the success of any organization. Friends of the LRC accepts contributions from generous donors who are passionate about promoting human rights and social justice in South Africa. As a registered non-profit organization in the United States, we are able to offer our donors the benefit of tax deductibility for their contributions while supporting the work of the LRC in South Africa.

Collaboration: We believe in the power of collaboration to effect meaningful change. Friends of the LRC works closely with the Legal Resources Centre on joint initiatives, leveraging our resources and expertise to support their impactful work. Through these collaborations, we aim to address systemic issues, advocate for legislative reforms, and promote access to justice for all.

Global Awareness: While the Legal Resources Centre’s work primarily focuses on South Africa, we believe that human rights and social justice are universal issues. We strive to raise awareness of the LRC’s accomplishments both within the United States and internationally. By showcasing the LRC’s work, we aim to inspire others to join us in supporting their mission and create a global movement for human rights and social justice.

Overseeing the Portfolio: In accordance with the provisions of our Articles of Incorporation, Friends of the LRC oversees a portfolio held in the United States for the ultimate benefit of the LRC. This allows us to ensure responsible management and allocation of funds, maximizing the impact of every donation received. Our commitment is to be transparent and accountable in all our financial transactions and decision-making processes.

Join Us in Making a Difference: At Friends of the LRC, we believe that change happens when individuals and organizations come together with a common purpose. By supporting the Legal Resources Centre through financial contributions, collaborations, and raising awareness, we can work towards a more just and equitable society in South Africa and beyond.

Our History

The Friends of the LRC (FoLRC) has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1979. With the generous financial support of esteemed organizations like the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund, as well as the collaboration of prominent American attorneys such as Lloyd Cutler, Erwin Griswold, Louis Loss, Bernard Segal, and Reuben Clark Jr., the FoLRC was founded.

The primary objective of the FoLRC was to provide support for what would later become the Legal Resources Centre of South Africa (LRC). As an independent public interest law firm, the LRC has been dedicated to advocating for the rights of impoverished and marginalized individuals in South Africa.

Since its inception, the FoLRC has played a pivotal role in advancing the LRC’s mission. Through both financial contributions and collaborative initiatives, we have continuously supported and bolstered the impactful work carried out by the LRC. Our joint efforts have aimed to promote and raise awareness about the crucial work undertaken by the LRC, both within the United States and globally.

Through the years, the FoLRC and the LRC have forged a strong partnership, united by a shared commitment to promoting human rights, equality, and social justice. Together, we have worked tirelessly to secure justice and empower those who face systemic challenges and discrimination.

The FoLRC’s unwavering support has enabled the LRC to thrive and make a profound difference in the lives of countless individuals and communities. By providing financial assistance, fostering collaborative initiatives, and amplifying the accomplishments of the LRC, the FoLRC has been instrumental in ensuring that the voices of the most vulnerable in South Africa are heard and protected.

As we look to the future, the FoLRC remains steadfast in our dedication to supporting the LRC’s invaluable work. Together, we will continue to champion the rights of the poor and marginalized, striving for a more just and equitable society in South Africa and beyond.

We are proud of our history and the impact we have made, and we are grateful to our supporters and partners who have joined us on this transformative journey.

Pioneering Justice During Apartheid and Beyond

In 1979, at the height of apartheid in South Africa, Arthur Chaskalson, Geoff Budlender, and Felicia Kentridge established the Legal Resources Centre (LRC). Drawing inspiration from the model of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in the United States, they envisioned an organization that would utilize the law as a powerful instrument of justice to challenge and dismantle the oppressive legal structures of apartheid.

The LRC emerged as a beacon of hope, advocating for the rights of the poor and marginalized, and playing a pivotal role in dismantling apartheid. Over the past four decades, the LRC has become the most important and influential public interest litigation organization in South Africa.

While apartheid has officially ended, the LRC recognizes that new structures and forces have emerged that perpetuate inequality gaps and discrimination. In response, the LRC remains steadfast in its commitment to using the rule of law as a peaceful means to address these ongoing challenges and promote a more just society.

Throughout its history, the LRC has been at the forefront of South Africa’s most significant human rights cases. Notably, it has litigated landmark cases post-apartheid, including the largest class action in the country, which resulted in significant compensation for mineworkers. These cases have shaped legal precedents and paved the way for justice and equality.

The LRC’s impact extends beyond litigation. It has been a vital training ground for legal professionals, producing numerous judges, including the first Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Arthur Chaskalson, one of the LRC’s founders. Notable attorneys, such as George Bizos, who famously defended Nelson Mandela during the Rivonia Trial, have also been associated with the LRC. Bizos served as Senior Counsel to the LRC for nearly three decades.

Today, the LRC continues its crucial work, addressing contemporary challenges and utilizing the rule of law to tackle inequality head-on. Their dedication to upholding justice, promoting human rights, and advocating for the marginalized remains unwavering.

To learn more about the Legal Resources Centre’s ongoing efforts and their significant impact, we invite you to visit the LRC’s website. There, you can delve deeper into their work, explore their achievements, and follow their mission in creating a more equitable and just South Africa.

Together, let us support the LRC in their tireless pursuit of justice and equality for all.