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.

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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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In Remembrance: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Our hearts are heavy this week. Just a few days following the tragic passing of Massachusetts’ own Chief Justice Gants, we have lost another beacon of light in the judiciary. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her decades-spanning…
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Massachusetts Appleseed Statement on the Passing of Chief Justice Gants

We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, and join the Massachusetts legal community in mourning the loss of an extraordinary leader. Chief Justice Gants had a consummate…
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Appleseed Justice Centers Release New Report: Protecting Girls of Color from the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Report Finds Black Girls are Subject to Discriminatory School Disciplinary Action in Kansas, Massachusetts, and Alabama WASHINGTON, DC, September 2, 2020 – Three members of the Appleseed Network, a non-profit network of independent organizations…
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Action Needed Now for Right to Counsel!

Action Alert Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 93% of tenants facing eviction from their homes did not have lawyers, while 70% of landlords had representation. While the eviction moratorium ending October 17th protects many of these tenants for…
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Protections for Young People Needed in Police Accountability Bill

Action Alert It’s our last chance to act!   The Police Accountability Bills from the House and Senate have been sent to a six-member Conference Committee for reconciliation. We need your help to make sure the final Police…
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Essential Reforms Missing from Police Accountability Bill

Action Alert The House has introduced its police accountability bill, H.4860!   As the legislative session comes to a close, it is essential that we use the momentum of nationwide protests to fight for racial justice…

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

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

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