This fund was created by the law firm of Westrup, Klick & Associates in Long Beach, California to receive and distribute settlement funds from auto advertising cases. Funds are restricted to providing information and education regarding automobile and truck leasing and financing. In 2003, about $370,000 had been awarded to 10 organizations that have raised awareness of consumers and policymakers about the abuses associated with unfair and illegal automobile advertising. CARS, a multi-year grant recipient of the Fund, called for new legislation that addressed the perils associated with the resale of automobiles seriously damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Created in 1999 by the signatories to an agreement between community groups and Verizon Communications, then approved by California Public Utilities Commission, CCPF received $25 million to distribute over 10 years. The purpose of the Fund is to provide increased access to the Internet by underserved populations in California, particularly communities in Verizon California’s current and future service areas. The responsive grantmaking fund initially awarded grants to establish and enhance community technology center programs and the integration of technology in job training and educational curricula. As the field of technology and telecommunications has evolved, so have the needs of consumers. Current awards include support for telecom- and technology-centered microenterprise projects, e-advocacy, telemedicine and media arts educational and social enterprise programs. The foundation has committed more than $21 million toward projects and programs directed by more than 400 community-based organizations located across California. Their work has led to the start-up of small businesses by immigrant women, the employment of people with disabilities who now earn a living wage, the creation of virtual networks where limited resources have been leveraged to change local, regional and state policies, and young people and seniors have developed creative ways to inform the development of civic, educational, and health issues that affect their communities.Privacy Rights Fund (2007-2010)
In 2007, approximately $1 million was awarded to 13 organizations to support a variety of privacy protection efforts in California – some with national implications. The fund was created from a settlement of Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN) v. Capital One. The awards supported privacy-related research, education, advocacy and policy development. Given the impact that technology and telecommunications is increasingly having on how young people communicate, CCPF encouraged an innovative partnership between the ACLU and Zeum, a youth-focused media arts program. The partnership resulted in the launch of an online privacy education campaign targeting young people and their families.
Initially established in 2003 by the Lexington Law Group, the goal of the Fund is to provide increased opportunities for students attending underserved schools to gain the technology skills necessary to achieve their academic potential. Six public schools across California have received grants ranging from $12,000-$42,000 to buy new computers, replace existing equipment, hire high quality instructors and/or purchase much-needed software and curriculum since the fund was created. With the assistance of CCPF, some schools were partnered with community-based organizations that served as technical advisors to ensure that the school had the right support to achieve success.Telecommunications Consumer Protection Fund (2003-2006)
This fund was created by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2003 to distribute $6 million from the settlement of an investigation of GTE California, now VerizonCalifornia, and Communications TeleSystems International for abusive marketing practices. The intent of the Fund was to help Californians, especially low-income, limited-English communities and people with disabilities, be more savvy consumers of telecommunications services. CCPF identified community-based organizations across California to develop web-accessible, culturally-appropriate educational materials to reach thousands of consumers. CCPF also funded technical assistance providers that trained the network on understanding telecom policies and reading bills, and, more importantly, navigating the CPUC bureaucracy to resolve issues. Grants totaling almost $6 million were awarded over a three-year period to about 50 organizations that formed CPUC committees to explore many of the critical issues they raised. The CPUC used this network as a model to establish a CPUC-supported project that continued many of these activities once CCPF funding ended.Telecommunication Consumer Education Fund
The $1.9 million fund was created as a result of an investigation by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) into the allegedly abusive marketing practices of Pacific Bell Wireless dba Cingular Wireless and related entities. The settlement will be used to fund grants that support the efforts of community-based organizations in California to educate consumers on their rights with regard to wireless telecom services and to advocate for policies that protect the rights of consumers with regard to their utilization of affordable and quality wireless telecom services. Eligible applicants will include public and Tribal agencies, and private non-profit 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations state-wide. Priority shall be given to community-based organizations.
Auto Consumers Fund (2002)
This fund was created by the law firm of Azimy & Nathan in Norwalk, California to receive and distribute settlement funds from auto advertising cases. Funds were restricted to consumer education and protection regarding automobile leasing and financing.
Bank of America Consumer Trust (2003-2004)
This fund was created from the settlement of Bank of America v. Lallana. Funds were restricted to grants to support consumer advocacy in the State of California. Approximately $225,000 in grants was used to support consumer advocacy projects by Consumers Union and Consumers for Auto Reliability.
Consumer Auto Advertising Fund (2001-2009)
This fund was created by the Lexington Law Group in San Francisco to receive and distribute settlement funds from auto advertising cases. Funds were restricted to providing information and education regarding automobile advertising, leasing and financing. Approximately $240,000 was awarded under this fund.
Consumer Credit Trust (2009)
Established by the law firm of Mallison and Martinez, this fund supports financial literacy, privacy and credit card education. Funds were the result of legal action taken after consumers’ privacy was violated by their credit card company. Approximately $13,000 was provided to establish this fund.
Electric Education Trust (2000-2001)
Created by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, this fund aimed to support a statewide consumer education program regarding electric industry restructuring. Funds were provided by the investor-owned utilities, as directed by the California Public Utilities Commission, as needed to pay EET expenses and grants up to $13 million over two years.
Consumer Health Education Fund
Barrera & Associates, Attorneys of Manhattan Beach, California created this $183,000 fund as a result of the class action lawsuit Kneafsey v. Alva-Amco Pharmacal Companies, Inc. This case addressed the fact that the advertisements covering a consumer health product were false and knowingly ineffective for the advertised function. This fund addresses consumer health education broadly.
Khorrami Trust (2005)
This fund was created by the law firm of Shawn Khorrami (Van Nuys) and mandated by the court in the civil procedure Ho v. Samsung. Funds were restricted to providing consumer education regarding false and misleading advertising and other issues as contained in the Settlement Agreement. Approximately $13,000 was received to establish this fund.
Lemon Law Defense Fund (1996)
This fund was created by Mark Anderson of the Kemnitzer, Dickinson, Anderson & Barron law firm in San Francisco to receive and distribute funds to strengthen and protect auto lemon laws. Approximately $6,000 was received under this fund and organizations like Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety benefited.
Levi Strauss Consumer Trust Fund (1991- 1992)
This fund was created by the parties to litigation, as approved by the Superior Court of the State of California, to receive and distribute $5 million remaining in settlement funds from State of California v. Levi Strauss & Co. The trust was restricted to antitrust activities and other activities to benefit and protect consumers in California.
Montgomery Ward-Consumer Trust (1991)
This fund was created by the California Department of Consumer Affairs to receive and distribute a portion of the legal settlement in State of California v. Montgomery Ward & Co. Funds were restricted to providing consumer or merchant education regarding false and misleading advertising in furniture sales.
Telecommunications Consumer Trust Fund (2003-2005)
This fund was created from the settlement of Utility Consumers’ Action Network v. Prodigy. Funds were restricted to grants to nonprofit organizations to assist consumers in resolving claims involving their rights and obligations in connection with telecommunications service issues. The community-led advisory team that monitored the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Fund, highlighted above, was supported by this fund. The $6 million fund was used to make grants to approximately 90 community-based organizations across California over a three-year period. These agencies formed a statewide advocacy network that was educated on consumer telecommunications issues and trained to serve as advocates on behalf of underserved communities before the CPUC.
Utility Consumer Protection Trust Fund (2004)
This fund was created by the law firm of Rosner Law & Mansfield in San Diego. Funds were restricted to grants to nonprofit organizations to assist consumers in resolving claims involving their rights and obligations in connection with telecommunications and other utility service issues. Three grants totaling approximately $100,000 were made to support a variety of activities designed to protect the telecommunications rights of California consumers.