National NOW Times >> Summer 2002 >> Article
The Pieces of the NOW Puzzle: Assembled for You!
NOW, Inc. (NOW) is the national membership organization dedicated to grassroots organizing and political action on behalf of women's rights. National NOW was founded in 1966 and has 500,000 contributing members. Contributions to NOW, Inc., are not tax-deductible.
NOW State and Chapter Organizations are subunits of NOW, and serve as the building blocks of NOW. All NOW members are automatically members of their state NOW organization. Upon request, members can also join their local chapter at no additional cost. States and chapters often send newsletters to their own members. Some states and chapters also conduct their own fundraising campaigns (by mail and/or phone), independent from those of national NOW, in order to raise money for local organizing. NOW is one of the few national organizations that rebates a significant portion of its membership dues back to the states and chapters for their organizing efforts.
The NOW Foundation is the education and legal arm of NOW, and is our tax-deductible 501(c)(3) sister organization. NOW Foundation is known for its policy and advocacy work, the Women's Health Project, the Love Your Body campaign and the groundbreaking NOW v. Scheidler case against anti-abortion terrorists. NOW and the NOW Foundation have the same national priorities and leadership, and share some staff and office space in Washington, D.C., but remain separate entities.
The NOW Political Action Committee (NOW/PAC) is an electoral politics arm of NOW. NOW/PAC endorses and supports feminist candidates for federal office (U.S. House and Senate). Like NOW Foundation, NOW/PAC shares priorities, leadership, staff and office space with NOW. Pursuant to Federal Election Commission rules, only NOW members may contribute to NOW/PAC.
NOW Equality PAC (NEP) is a separate entity that supports the election of feminist candidates for state and local offices around the country, such as governor, state legislature or city council. Anyone may contribute to NEP. Many individual NOW chapters also form their own separate PACs to support local candidates.
Some members are surprised to learn that the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (NOW LDEF), while founded in 1970 by NOW leaders, is not associated financially or operationally with NOW, the NOW Foundation or the NOW PACs. Although the NOW Foundation and NOW LDEF often work in coalition with other organizations on feminist issues, NOW LDEF's priorities, leadership, staff and offices are separate and distinct from NOW.