Fourteen years ago, when I used my money and legal expertise to start The Impact Fund, I never dreamed we’d be leading the largest class action suit in history.
I was brought up in a Jewish middle class family, where we sat around the table and talked about current events. My dad’s sudden death from a heart attack galvanized me into social action, so after I graduated from law school I chose to focus where I could make a real difference — class action suits. I become a managing partner at a small firm. That firm grew from five attorneys to forty (and a staff of one hundred and thirty five) in just four years! Although I enjoyed the work, I was a single parent, turning 40, and was eager to have more flexibility in my life, so I resigned. I discovered to my shock that the partnership had made me a wealthy man.
I knew I didn’t just want to give the money away. I hit upon the idea of starting a nonprofit that would give grants to small firms and non-profits, enabling them to litigate big cases. I set up a small, storefront office, pulled together leading public interest litigators, and together we designed The Impact Fund's grantmaking. Years later, we’ve given over $4 million to support complex, public interest litigation. We train new lawyers and litigate a select number of class action civil rights cases. We’ve touched thousands of lives, providing representation, technical assistance and funding to addressing social and environmental injustice, human and civil rights and poverty.
Now The Impact Fund is heading up a coalition of six firms, to take on the world's largest employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in the largest class action discrimination suit in history. I couldn’t be more delighted. I bet my dad would be, too.
| West | 40 to 59 Years Old | $1-$10M | at least 50% | Profession |
| Environment | Social Justice | Fairness | Passion |
Posted on April 4th by Molly Stranahan
I have seen mentions of the Impact Project for years, but this is the first time I read the story of its founding and work. What a wonderful, inspiring story of creatively using all your resources to fill a gap in our society with the knowledge and experience you developed, as well as your values. I love that you brought other people with similar interests in to help you design the Impact Project.
Thank you Brad, for what you do and for sharing your story so openly!