Research. Collaboration. Advocacy.

Our Initiatives

Our initiatives 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!

More Than 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 more than 25 years we have grounded our work in identifying unseen injustices and fighting to reform and reverse harmful policies. We 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


STATEMENT: MA Appleseed Condemns U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Historic Homelessness Case

Boston, MA — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court made its decision in the historic Johnson v. Grants Pass case, allowing cities to punish people with no choice but to sleep outside for using things like pillows, blankets, or cardboard boxes…

Joint Rule 10 Day Progress Report: Where Did Our Legislative Priorities Land?

Earlier this month marked Joint Rule 10 Day, the deadline for legislative committees to take action on bills and a pivotal moment as we learn which of our legislative priorities have a chance to get passed this session. Four outcomes are…

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Liberty Mutual Insurance Expand Youth Homelessness Project

Liberty Mutual Media Contact: Molly Stern 617-470-4898 MA Appleseed Media Contact: Madeline Poage 617-482-8686 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 7, 2023 Boston, March 7, 2023 –…

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice Awarded a 2023 Community Grant Through Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand’s Black Community Commitment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Person: Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice Madeline Poage Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice in Boston, Massachusetts has been selected for a one-time…

Law Firm Goodwin Supports Racial and Gender Justice in Massachusetts Schools Through Donation to Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

Media Contact: Madeline Poage, 617-482-8686 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDecember 26, 2022 Boston, Dec. 26, 2022 – Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a Boston-based research and advocacy nonprofit,…

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice Awarded $100,000 Cummings Grant

Boston nonprofit receives 4 years of funding from Cummings Foundation For Immediate Release Contact: Deborah Silva, Massachusetts Appleseed, 617-482-8686, Contact: Alison Harding, Cummings Foundation, 781-932-7093,…

2024 Good Apple Award

On Thursday, April 11, 2024, MA Appleseed held its Good Apple Award Reception at the Boston Harbor Hotel to celebrate and honor Yasmin Ghassab, Compliance Director at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. A civic leader, a pro bono champion, and a steadfast advocate of diversity and inclusion, Yasmin’s dedication to public service reminds us of the important role the legal community has in creating profound and positive change. She is truly a Good Apple and serves as an inspiration to us all.

Funds raised from this event fuel MA Appleseed’s initiatives to dismantle discriminatory policies affecting students of color, strengthen legal protections for youth experiencing homelessness, safeguard the language access rights of immigrant families, and advocate for fair treatment in the courts. If you weren’t able to attend, you can still support this work and make a donation here!

Our Initiatives

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 initiative identifies how we can hold these systems accountable and provide meaningful reform to ensure all Massachusetts residents have equitable access to legal rights and protection.

Educational Justice

The school-to-prison pipeline pushes 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 Educational Justice initiative seeks to protect students’ rights, promote racial justice, and keep all students in class where they are safe, supported, and available for learning.

Youth 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. 

At the State House

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.

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Massachusetts Appleseed
Center for Law and Justice

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