The Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, established in 1996, is the education and litigation sister organization of the Free Speech Coalition, Inc., a nonpartisan group of nonprofit organizations, and the commercial firms which help these nonprofits raise money and conduct their programs. The Coalition seeks to protect human and civil rights secured by law, study and research such rights, and publication of papers designed to educate its members, the public, and government officials concerning such rights.

FSDEF assisted the Christian Action Network (CAN) after it appeared that CAN might be unable to pursue its appeal in CAN v. West Virginia (after the case had been accepted by the West Virginia Supreme Court). FSDEF assisted with the appeal &emdash; which challenged certain aspects of the West Virginia state charitable solicitation law &emdash; notably the state's authority to demand copies of solicitations and disclaimers from out-of-state charities.

In November 1997, FSDEF and 26 other nonprofits and companies filed an Amicus Curiae brief in support of FSC member American Target Advertising in its challenge to the Utah charitable solicitations statute (ATA v. Giani, U.S. District Court, Dist. of Utah, Central Div., Civil Case No. 2:97-CV-610B). It is the first direct challenge by an out-of-state agency to the constitutionality of a state's charitable solicitation laws.

FSDEF assisted in the filing of two amicus briefs on July 22, 1998 in the case of United Cancer Council, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service before the Seventh Circuit. One amicus brief was filed on behalf of the interests of fundraising agencies; the other was filed on behalf of the interests of nonprofit organizations.