Research. Collaboration. Advocacy.

Our Projects

Our projects use policy analysis, research and documentation, public education, community organizing, pro bono engagement, and coalition building to bring about positive change.

About Us

Massachusetts Appleseed’s mission is to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues.

Contact Us

For more information about how you can get involved in Massachusetts Appleseed’s efforts, contact us today!

Celebrating 25 Years of Fighting for Justice

Our Story

In the early 1990s, the Harvard Law School Class of 1958 wanted to make a class gift that would leave a lasting impact. They wanted to leverage the power of pro bono and collaboration, and create systemic change that would help as many people as possible.

In 1994, the Class of ’58 founded Massachusetts Appleseed and the Appleseed Network.

For 25 years we have grounded our work in identifying unseen injustices and fighting to reform and reverse harmful policies. As we enter the next 25 years, we will continue to follow this mission, advocating for Massachusetts’ most vulnerable communities.

Thank You, Cummings Foundation!

We are proud to announce that Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program. Our Boston-based organization was chosen from a total of 590 applicants during a competitive review process, and will receive $100,000 over four years.

“We are deeply grateful for this extraordinary and generous support from Cummings Foundation,” said Deborah Silva, Executive Director of Massachusetts Appleseed. “Over the past year, we have seen the needs of our communities rise, systemic inequities worsen, and the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately devastate the most vulnerable among us. This grant will help us meet this historic moment and push for community-informed solutions to ensure Massachusetts families and youth can exercise their legal rights, build pathways out of poverty and crisis, and achieve meaningful access to essential services and opportunities.”

Increase Your Impact!

Massachusetts Appleseed

Our Mission

MA Appleseed’s mission is to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues.

Building a better, fairer Massachusetts

At MA Appleseed, we research and identify the ways in which the justice system, schools, and government agencies are systematically failing our most vulnerable residents, such as through uneven access to the courts and unfair enforcement of school discipline policies. Then we collaborate with community partners to identify solutions and advocate for their implementation.

Through in-depth research, community problem-solving, and raising our voices, we can develop powerful solutions and make lasting change.

Learn More: National Appleseed Network

Identify Issues

We identify the ways in which the justice system, schools, and government agencies are systematically failing our most vulnerable residents. We listen to our community partners when they report urgent, emerging issues that need to be addressed.


We research how and why marginalized populations experience uneven access to justice and opportunity and identify systems-based solutions through data collection and sophisticated analysis.


We collaborate with the courts, public agencies, community organizations, and those experiencing injustice to ensure the solutions we recommend are practical and comprehensive. We rely on pro bono support from law firms, law schools, and corporate partners.


We advocate for the implementation of solutions with policymakers, lawmakers, and through coalition-building that brings together stakeholders. We bring awareness to systemic issues of injustice and solutions that can bring about positive change.

In the Spotlight

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Take Action: Ask Your Legislators to Support The Young Student Exclusion Ban Act!

  The Massachusetts Legislature is preparing to break for the holidays soon. But before that happens, we have an exciting opportunity to move the Young Student Exclusion Ban Act forward and eliminate harsh…
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Contact Your Senator Today to Provide Critical Funding for Students, Youth Experiencing Homelessness, and Renters Facing Eviction

Just a few weeks ago, the House debated hundreds of amendments to determine how to allocate funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and surplus funds from last fiscal year. And with your help, several significant amendments were…
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Contact Your Representative Today to Provide Critical Funding for Students, Youth Experiencing Homelessness, and Renters Facing Eviction

On Monday, the Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means (HWM) released House Bill 4219, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs, a bill to allocate funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and surplus…
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Your Legislators Need To Hear From You About Right To Counsel!

In Massachusetts, over 90% of tenants facing eviction are unrepresented, yet 81% of landlords do have legal representation. This inequitable distribution of power means that thousands of people – disproportionately women, families…
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Day of Action: Urge Your Representatives to Support An Act to Create Access to Justice!

  The Massachusetts legislative session is in full swing, and we have an unprecedented opportunity to advance civil rights for Massachusetts residents. Join us TODAY for a Day of Action! Contact your legislators…
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Day of Action: Urge Your Representatives to Support Language Access for All!

Exciting news: the Language Access and Inclusion Act is scheduled for a hearing before the legislature next week! But before that happens, we need to consolidate as much support behind this bill as we can. This is an unprecedented…

2021 Good Apple Award

On October 14, 2021, Massachusetts Appleseed held its virtual 14th Annual Good Apple Award Reception honoring Karen Morton, Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for Liberty Mutual Insurance and recipient of the 2021 Good Apple Award. Enrique Colbert, General Counsel of Wayfair and recipient of the 2020 Good Apple Award, was also recognized during the event program following the cancellation of last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This event provides core funding for Massachusetts Appleseed’s work throughout the year, ensuring we can respond to urgent community needs and seize opportunities for action. 

Current Projects

Access to Justice

Many systemic barriers within Massachusetts’ civil and criminal legal systems, and various administrative agencies, deny justice to thousands of residents each year. The growing number of people who cannot afford an attorney and must represent themselves in legal matters continues to worsen disparities between wealthy and poor litigants, while inequitable policies and structures contribute to unjust outcomes based on an individual’s race, citizenship status, or English language proficiency. Our Access to Justice projects identify how we can hold these systems accountable and provide meaningful reform to ensure all Massachusetts residents have equitable access to legal rights and protection.

Keep Kids in Class

The school-to-prison pipeline places students into the juvenile and criminal justice systems, rather than providing them with the support and care they deserve. Through practices such as zero-tolerance policies, the deployment of police to patrol school hallways, and the criminalization of disorderly behavior, Massachusetts schools do not represent institutions of learning for many students. Rather, they are the starting point of a long and painful relationship with the criminal justice system. Harsh discipline practices are disproportionately applied, as students of color and students with disabilities are punished, excluded, and arrested at much higher rates. Our education-focused projects seek to protect students’ rights, promote racial justice, and keep all students in class where they are safe, supported, and available for learning.

Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Young people experiencing homelessness and chronic poverty face unique barriers to housing, education, healthcare services, and more. Youth of color, youth in foster care, immigrant youth, survivors of abuse and neglect, and youth identifying as members of the LGBTQ+ community are overrepresented within this population and face daily challenges to achieve safety and stability. Our projects serving this too-often invisible population seek to provide policy recommendations, ease systemic barriers, advocate for greater investment in supportive services, and develop resources to aid fellow advocates and vulnerable youth themselves. 

Legislative & Budget Advocacy

At the start of each legislative session, the Board of Directors at Massachusetts Appleseed selects and approves a number of legislative and budget initiatives to support. These bills and budget line items aim to increase access to justice, challenge unjust treatment of students by expanding access to education, and support youth experiencing homelessness. Often working with statewide coalitions, we view the State House as a vehicle to enact sweeping change on a broad scale and fight to fully fund the services our most vulnerable populations rely on.

Contact Us

Massachusetts Appleseed Logo
Massachusetts Appleseed
Center for Law and Justice

101 Federal Street, Suite 1900
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 482-8686