ICNL strives to create a world where civil society can freely develop in all its forms and participate in public decisions. In pursuit of that goal, ICNL's programs and research focus on promoting an enabling legal environment for civil society and public participation worldwide.

ICNL helps establish the legal framework for a strong and effective global civil society through:

  • technical assistance to over 100 countries;
  • the expertise of our multinational in-house staff and global network of legal specialists; and
  • our partnerships with civil society representatives, government officials, scholars, and business leaders.

Sponsored by a wide range of institutional supporters, including community-based organizations, governments, private foundations, and corporations, ICNL provides valuable resources for strengthening civil society all over the world.

Our program areas include legal framework for civil society, civil society sustainability, good governance and accountability, public-private partnerships, self-regulation, advocacy and public participation, and educational initiatives.

Mission and Activities

The International Center for Not-For-Profit Law (ICNL) is an international not-for-profit organization that promotes an enabling legal environment for civil society, freedom of association, and public participation around the world.

ICNL's work incorporates several important core values:

  • Reform results from an indigenous and transparent process;
  • Sustainability is achieved through capacity-building;
  • Programs must incorporate public participation and consensus-building; and
  • Healthy civil society features the principles of self-governance, accountability, and transparency.

ICNL has earned the trust and respect of civil society organizations, scholars, government officials, and the business community as a leader in effectively addressing not-for-profit law issues and challenges to civil society. We receive substantial institutional support to focus our work on civil society legal reform across the world. For more specific details, including summaries of activities and finances, browse through the ICNL Annual Reports.


Governance and Management

The governance and management structure of ICNL is truly international—the ethnicity, background, and language skills of our staff, Board and Advisory Council reflect the diversity of our activities and reach.

In keeping with our focus on developing local leadership, ICNL also draws on a wide network of legal professionals to develop partnerships across the globe. ICNL presently has offices in Washington, DC; Budapest, Hungary; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Kiev, Ukraine, as well as other established alliances in Central Europe and Bulgaria.