BY: | DATE: Dec 13, 2023

text: MacKenzie Scott Donates $1 Million Dollars to CLEAR, a CUNY Law Top-Ranking Social Justice Project & Clinic and image of CLEAR team

The gift supports the CLEAR clinic and project as it builds for the future


NEW YORK, NY — The City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law and CLEAR—which stands for Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility—a resident nonprofit and clinic in the law school’s top-ranked program, celebrate a $1 million gift to CLEAR from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. It marks the single largest major gift in both CLEAR’s history and that of CUNY Law’s clinical program, one year after a $2 Million pledged grant from the Foundation to Promote Open Society was awarded to CLEAR.

“We thank MacKenzie Scott for this generous gift,” said Naz Ahmad, Acting Director of CLEAR. “It will help ensure that CLEAR can continue its work supporting communities and movements targeted by national security law enforcement practices and policies, work which is needed more than ever in our current moment.”

“We are deeply grateful to MacKenzie Scott and her team for recognizing and supporting CLEAR and the vital work it has been doing for nearly fifteen years,” said Dean Sudha Setty.

Founded in 2009 by CUNY Law Professor Ramzi Kassem (presently on leave), CLEAR began as a cross-clinical project and has since grown into an award-winning, fully accredited clinic and resident nonprofit. Each year, CLEAR faculty, students, and staff provide free legal representation to hundreds of individuals, facilitate scores of Know Your Rights workshops, support diverse movements for racial and social justice, and litigate landmark national security, criminal, immigration, and civil rights cases, including Tanvir v. Tanzin, which Professor Kassem argued and won before the Supreme Court in 2020.

In MacKenzie Scott’s December announcement of the gift, she outlines her donor-advised fund’s process for researching and selecting recipients, noting that they were chosen for their “ability to advance the opportunities of people in underserved communities,” that display “indicators of high potential for sustained positive impact,” and have missions driven by “experienced leadership representative of the community served,” among other qualities. CLEAR is one of 360 such organizations that received gifts from MacKenzie Scott this year.

The gift expresses the donor’s trust in CLEAR’s proven ability as well as its promise, from its mission to transform law enforcement practices to its leadership in service of clients, communities, and movements.


The City University of New York School of Law is the nation’s leading public interest law school and ranked highest in diversity of students and faculty. CUNY Law has a dual mission: to recruit and train excellent public interest lawyers and to diversify the legal profession so that it includes and reflects more people and communities needed to transform justice.

CLEAR is defined by its relationships with communities and movements whose members wish to transform or abolish the law enforcement policies and practices affecting them. CLEAR’s approach includes free legal representation and consultation; know-your-rights workshops; and support for community organizing and social movements.