Cy Pres

The Equal Justice Society is making cy pres awards a regular component of our revenue stream to underwrite the vital and cutting-edge programs we provide to advance racial and economic justice and dismantle structural racism. These awards will allow us to expand the reach of our National Implicit Bias Network, grow our bias education and training programs, enhance our racial justice impact litigation programs, and improve our other services and educational offerings. EJS is grateful to the law firms and trial advocates who leverage their class action lawsuit gains to support social justice programs.

Cy Pres Distributions to EJS

If you, your firm, or someone you know is party to or counsel on a class action case involving potential cy pres awards, you can nominate the Equal Justice Society as an awardee. Awards can be accepted to benefit our general programming, or they can be designated to a specific practice area: racial/economic justice litigation (i.e. school to prison pipeline disruption, education equity, access to justice enhancement, voter suppression disruption, etc.); Implicit Bias research and development; equal opportunity advocacy, etc.

If you have any questions, need documents or information, or are interested in designating EJS as a cy pres award recipient, please contact Ginger Johnson at or 415-288-8700.

Cy Pres Doctrine

When a class action lawsuit settles, it’s possible that not all of the money will be claimed by class members. Cy pres awards are a way for this extra money to be put to good use.

California allows cy pres funds to be distributed to nonprofit organizations that provide education, advocacy and legal services. Before cy pres funds can be distributed to a non-profit entity, a court must approve the distribution.

The Equal Justice Society is an ideal cy pres recipient for class actions involving unconstitutional policing, education equity, voting rights and equal opportunity

employment (such as wage-and-hour, discrimination, or harassment cases). Additionally, under California law, we are an appropriate recipient of monies arising out of UNRUH, FEHA, consumer, antitrust, privacy, securities, or any other class action types as well.

Federal law regarding cy pres differs across the Country, with case law providing guidance. In the Ninth Circuit, federal case law requires cy pres fund recipients to have a “nexus to the interest of the class members” such that the distribution of cy pres funds provide the “next best relief” to the class.

The following types of federal class claims are well matched to Equal Justice Society’s mission:

  • Education equity class actions.
  • Discrimination, hostile work environment and harassment class actions.
  • Consumer claims, contract claims and unfair competition law claims, particularly those that uplift racial minorities
  • Environmental justice and Housing claims
  • Access to justice claims
  • Racial and Gender Equality claims under the Equal Protection Clause, Title VI, VII, IX and U.S.C. Section 1981, 1983 statutes

We hope you will join the many lawyers, community organizations, and firms across the country that help support the Equal Justice Society by including us as recipient of cy pres funds. These monies are essential in sustaining programs like ours that level the playing field for underserved individuals and communities and advance shared opportunity for all.