NEW YORK--The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that Peter B. Lewis, chairman of The Progressive Corporation and a long-time ACLU member and donor, has made a gift of $7 million to the Trust for the Bill of Rights, ACLU's endowment fund.
The donation is the largest endowment gift from an individual that the ACLU Foundation has ever received, the organization said.
"We are inspired by Peter's generous gift and his willingness to assist in meeting Ford's challenge to our organization,"" said Anthony D. Romero, who will take office as the new Executive Director of the ACLU in September.
""His generosity has increased our endowment fund to nearly $37 million and gives us a boost toward our new goal of a $50 million endowment fund. His leadership insures that the battle for civil liberties of all U.S. residents will continue to be fought in perpetuity,"" he added.
The ACLU created the Trust for the Bill of Rights endowment fund to help meet unanticipated emergencies, sustain ACLU program quality and ensure the ACLU is strong in all areas of the country.
Lewis's gift helped match a $14 million challenge from the Ford Foundation, which had contributed $7 million to the endowment campaign in June 1999. The Lewis gift will support the general programs of the Ohio Affiliate and the national ACLU as well as a special ACLU fund designed to support personal freedoms, including those diminished by the war on drugs.
Lewis, an ACLU member since 1972, said that the ACLU does critically important work to protect individual freedoms in this country and that he has been an admirer of this work for years.
""I've been impressed by how well-managed the ACLU has been under Ira Glasser's leadership. And, after meeting Anthony Romero, the ACLU's new executive director, I'm confident that they will continue to succeed in protecting our civil liberties in today's challenging environment.""
""Their work doesn't seem to have an end; many of these battles have been re-fought by each succeeding generation," added Lewis. ""That's why I've invested in the ACLU.""