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ACLU, Other Groups Report Post-Election Surge of Donations

Since the election, Planned Parenthood has reported an unprecedented outpouring of support

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    FILE - In this Friday, June 10, 2016 file photo, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards raises the arm of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a Planned Parenthood Action Fund membership event in Washington. A week after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, Planned Parenthood has reported an unprecedented outpouring of support, with more than 128,000 people making donations. The organization said at least 20,000 of the donations made reference to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who as a congressman and governor of Indiana has been an advocate of tough anti-abortion restrictions.

    In the week since Donald Trump's election, there's been a dramatic surge in donations to the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club and other progressive organizations which have pledged to resist any moves by the new administration that would undercut their causes.

    Within hours after the election was called, the ACLU unleashed feisty fundraising appeals, including one warning that if Trump implemented certain campaign promises, "We'll see him in court."

    The result, according to the ACLU, has been the largest surge of support in its 94-year history, including roughly 120,000 donations totaling more than $7.2 million.

    "We'll need to build up the most powerful legal organization mankind has ever known to fight for us over the next four years," wrote HIV/AIDS and gay-rights activist Peter Staley, who pledged on his Facebook page to become a monthly ACLU donor.

    The ACLU's executive director, Anthony Romero, said the infusion of new funds would help in addressing several urgent priorities, including resisting possible mass deportation efforts, protecting the civil rights of transgender Americans, and preventing "stop-and-frisk" police policies from being adopted nationwide.

    Among Trump's many promises is to halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood because of its role as the largest abortion provider in the U.S.

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    Since the election, Planned Parenthood has reported an unprecedented outpouring of support, with more than 128,000 people making donations. The organization said at least 20,000 of the donations made reference to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who as a congressman and governor of Indiana has been an advocate of tough anti-abortion restrictions.

    "We will never back down, and we will never stop providing the care our patients need," said Planned Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards.

    Like the ACLU, the Sierra Club, a leading environmental organization, moved swiftly to feature Trump in its fundraising appeals. It depicted him as an "outlier" who denies the dangers of climate change and would dismantle environmental protection regulations.

    The Sierra Club said it had registered 9,000 new monthly donors since the election — more than it had added from Jan. 1 until Election Day.

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    "Their timing couldn't have been better in my opinion, I mean everybody wants to celebrate," said Kyle Steele, a customer at the drive-thru.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    "We don't feel helpless at all," said Debbie Sease, the organization's national campaigns director.

    Other organizations reporting major increases in support included the NAACP, the National Immigration Law Center, and major LGBT-rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. Lambda Legal said it received support from more than 1,000 first-time donors in the four days following the election.

    The Anti-Defamation League, which combats anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, said donations surged 50-fold the day after the election, and some major donors made new, six-figure commitments. Spokesman Todd Gutnick said many of the donors urged the ADL to intensify efforts to combat online hate speech.

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    Californians for Population Stabilization, which seeks to curtail immigration, said online donations have increased fourfold since Trump's victory.

    The group's executive director, Jo Wideman, said in an email that supporters "are very excited that someone finally gets the implications of over-immigration's effects on population growth."

    The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group which organized door-to-door canvassing on Trump's behalf, reported a similar response.

    "Our supporters are calling us to reserve tables at our annual fundraising gala," said spokeswoman Mallory Quigley. "We've had a huge increase in the number of calls and emails simply expressing thanks and support."

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    Another beneficiary of the election results is ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit news organization that produces investigative public-interest journalism.

    Richard Tofel, ProPublica's president and founding general manager, said online donations increased sharply the day after the election, and then skyrocketed after John Oliver — on Sunday's edition of his HBO show "Last Week Tonight" — urged viewers to support "actual journalism" produced by ProPublica and other outlets.

    Tofel said it's too early to calculate the total amount of the new financial infusion, but he said more than $100,000 had been received since the election via credit-card holders donating online — compared to $300,000 received in that fashion for the entire previous year.

    "There are a lot of people who, in response to the election, feel that they need to take some sort of civic action," Tofel said. "One thing they can do is contribute to causes they think will advance their view of a healthy democracy."

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