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.

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.

Research

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.

Collaborate

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.

Advocate

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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Featured Volunteers: The Liberty Mutual Legal Department

When Kathy McGrath, the pro bono manager for Liberty Mutual’s legal department, heard about the Homeless Youth Handbook project, she immediately knew she would easily find willing volunteers. And she soon had 25 people signed up to help make…
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Featured Monthly Donor

Thank You, Jennifer Sunderland: Board Member, Boston Attorney, and Generous Monthly Donor!   Jennifer is a Massachusetts native who attended college and law school here and clerked for judges in the Massachusetts Trial Court and…
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Coronavirus Has Made Courts Go Remote. Will This Lay The Groundwork For Using Technology to Expand Access to Justice In The Future?

By Jake Hofstetter | Research and Policy Associate The coronavirus crisis has impacted every part of society, and even public institutions are having to be flexible and creative to respond to the pandemic. Schools are using remote learning,…
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Responding to COVID-19: Resources from Lawyers for Civil Rights

Systemic injustice and legal crises don't go away because of a virus. For those experiencing food insecurity, in need of medical support, and more, please check out the resources below provided by our friends at Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston:  Need…
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Tell Your Legislators: We Need Right to Counsel!

Action Alert In 2018 alone, more than 40,000 households in Massachusetts were served with eviction papers, and over 92% of these tenants were unrepresented. Women, families of color, and households with children disproportionately face eviction,…
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2020 Good Apple Reception Announcement

Save the Date! March 26, 2020 6:00 pm Reception 7:00 pm Award Ceremony Boston Harbor Hotel, Wharf Room 13th Annual Good Apple Award On Thursday, March 26th, 2020 Massachusetts Appleseed will host its 13th annual Good Apple Reception…

2020 Good Apple Award

The Good Apple Award is presented annually to a person in the business or legal community who personifies Massachusetts Appleseed’s commitment to public service, fairness, and social justice. This year, we are proud to honor Enrique Colbert, General Counsel of Wayfair. Please note that in light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, this event has been postponed until fall 2020. The new event date will be announced soon.

Current Projects

Access to Justice

A 2014 study by the Boston Bar Association found that civil legal aid service providers turn away 64% of income-eligible cases, for lack of funds. That means that over 30,000 low-income residents in Massachusetts, facing eviction, domestic violence, and other crises, faced them alone. The BBA Report made special note of family law cases, which are turned away 80% of the time. Is technology a big part of the solution for this tremendous need? MA Appleseed thinks so, and is embarking on a new direction for our organization to look at the models by which low-income people are provided legal services and how technology can make a real difference in access to justice.

Keep Kids in Class

Our signature project positions MA Appleseed at the forefront of understanding the intersection of school discipline practices, zero tolerance, and youth entering the juvenile justice system. We seek to mitigate effects of zero tolerance, remove barriers to access to public education, and support at-risk youth to keep kids in class where they are safe, supported, and available for learning.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Unaccompanied homeless youth are youth who are not in the care of a parent or guardian and who lack safe, stable housing. Their numbers are growing and their needs go largely unmet. Massachusetts Appleseed co-wrote a policy brief entitled, “Unaccompanied, Unidentified and Uncounted: Developing Strategies to Meet the Needs of America’s Homeless Youth,” which examines their plight. The brief suggests recommendations meant to spur advocacy, further research and ultimately meaningful improvement to the lives of these children. The brief forms the basis ofMassachusetts Appleseed’s youth homelessness policy agenda, much of which we have achieved through our work on the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Youth.

Legislative & Budget Advocacy

Each year, the Massachusetts state legislature passes a state budget that provides funding for various state programs, agencies and departments for the following year. Throughout the budget process, advocates, including Massachusetts Appleseed and our supporters, have opportunities to contact their elected representatives and urge them to adequately fund programs that they care about.

Immigration

We partnered with the Massachusetts Law Reform InstitutePAIRKIND and other organizations to create a “Family Preparedness Packet” for immigrants and others who might need to make arrangements for their children in case they are suddenly unable to care for them themselves. This packet includes information about how families can protect their assets and determine who will care for their children in emergency situations such as a medical crisis or the need to leave the country.

Contact Us

Massachusetts Appleseed Logo
Massachusetts Appleseed
Center for Law and Justice

44 School Street, Suite 415
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 482-8686
Inquiry@massappleseed.org