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 possible for each bill:

  • Reported out favorably: The bill advances in the legislative process.
  • Sent to study: The bill is tabled and will not move forward this legislative session.
  • Reported out unfavorably: The bill receives a negative vote and will not move forward this legislative session.
  • Deadline extension: The committee gives itself more time to consider the bill and will make a decision later in the session, ultimately landing on one of the three previous outcomes.

Join us as we dive into the results of Joint Rule 10 Day, exploring where some of our priority bills have landed and unpacking what this means for our advocacy over the next few months.

The Good News

The Access to Counsel Bill was reported out favorably, a major milestone in the fight to ensure low-income residents facing eviction have access to legal resources and assistance! With Governor Healey including a line item to fund Access to Counsel in her proposed FY25 budget, this is an opportunity to push for the line item to be passed alongside the more comprehensive bill.

The Education Committee gave a favorable report to the Young Student Exclusion Ban Act, signaling continued support for this bill to address long-standing inequities and opportunity gaps in education. The early years of school are an essential time when children build their educational foundation and reading skills. Alongside our Chapter 222 School Discipline Coalition partners, we’ve been leading the charge on this initiative to keep Massachusetts’ youngest children in class where they are safe, supported, and available to learn.

The Education Committee also favorably reported out the School Interpreter Bill. Demonstrating the important intersection between language access and educational justice, this legislation would ensure families are provided with competent interpretation at school so limited English proficient parents can fully participate in and make informed decisions about their child’s education.

The Everyone Needs ID Bill received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Transportation, bringing us another step closer to removing barriers that prevent youth experiencing homelessness from obtaining state ID! With state ID necessary to accomplish a host of everyday tasks and access services, this bill can help break the cycle of poverty and upheaval that too many young people find themselves trapped in.

And in exciting news, two of our first-time bills also received favorable reports!

  • The passage of the CROWN Act back in 2022 banned race-based hair discrimination, helping prevent the criminalization of students of color. A bill we worked with Rep. Fluker Oakley and Sen. Gomez to file, which would ban suspension or expulsion for violations of rules relating to dress and grooming, received a favorable report. This legislation would build on the progress made by the CROWN Act, further disrupting the over-policing that Black and brown girls endure in school and ensuring Massachusetts classrooms are welcoming and inclusive spaces where all students can succeed.
  • Underage youth may be experiencing homelessness alone and unable to seek their parents’ consent on matters for a number of reasons, such as abuse or family conflict over sexual orientation and gender identity. H.192/S.94, filed by Rep. Khan and Sen. Gomez, recognizes this reality and would ensure those between the ages of 15 and 18 years old can provide consent for themselves to access supportive services and meet their immediate survival needs. 

The Delayed News

The following bills received deadline extensions, giving committees more time to consider them before they make their final decisions. It also gives us and our fellow advocates a chance to build more support, answer legislators’ questions, and convince lawmakers to report them favorably.  

Our 2022 report, “I Just Want to Learn,” highlighted how a lack of diversity among teaching staff can contribute to students of color feeling disconnected, uncomfortable, and fearful of judgement at school. H.549/S.311 would help increase racial and ethnic diversity among school staff, which research shows can lead to direct improvements in educational outcomes for Black and brown students. The deadline has been extended to Friday, March 15.

Good policy starts with good data, and H.454/S.249 would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to publish student-specific education data in a way that can be easily cross-tabulated. Critically, this would enable educators, advocates, parents, students, organizers, and policymakers to better identify disparities and inequitable treatment. The deadline has been extended to Friday, March 15.

The foster care-to-homelessness pipeline is well-established – as much as half of Massachusetts’ youth homelessness population is the result of young people emerging from the child welfare system without support. H.157/S.65 would help disrupt this phenomenon by prohibiting the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families from taking foster children’s Social Security benefits for the state’s General Fund, thereby providing youth with greater financial independence as they age out of the system. The deadline has been extended to Thursday, May 2.

The Bad News

Now for the disappointments. The following bills were “sent to study” – essentially ensuring no further action on them this session, but leaving the door open to refile them in future years.

An Act to Create Access to Justice aimed to fill a gap in existing civil rights law by recognizing that when policies have a discriminatory impact – intended or not – Massachusetts residents must be able to take legal action to enforce their rights. The potential impact of this bill is broad and would affect environmental injustices, lack of language access services, the school-to-prison pipeline, lack of sufficient special education services, inadequate prison conditions for certain populations, and more.

An Act Relative to the Location of School Resource Officers recognized the research showing that police presence has no positive effect on school safety and would have required school resource officers be stationed off school grounds. Read more about this issue on our blog.

What Now?

We know when we lay out an ambitious legislative agenda that not everything is going to make it across the finish line. Grappling with that disappointment is a big part of this work, especially when we’re fighting for commonsense policy changes that address serious needs in our communities.

For bills sent to study – we regroup with our coalition partners. Do we want to refile the bill? Make any changes? Do our legislative sponsors have any feedback from the State House side? We map out what we can do in the meantime, whether that’s conducting deeper policy research or mobilizing in more communities, so we’re ready to hit the ground running next session.

As for the bills that did make it through: We keep going! Getting past Joint Rule 10 Day is a moment to celebrate but until the legislation is on Governor Healey’s desk, ready to be signed, our work is not done. Join MA Appleseed’s mailing list and follow us on Facebook, X (Twitter), and Instagram to stay updated on opportunities to take action in the coming months!

 

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

Liberty Mutual Media Contact:
Molly Stern
Molly.Stern@libertymutual.com
617-470-4898

MA Appleseed Media Contact:
Madeline Poage
madeline@massappleseed.org
617-482-8686

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 7, 2023

Boston, March 7, 2023 – Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a Boston-based research and advocacy nonprofit, announced that it has received a $50,000 grant from Liberty Mutual Foundation to expand MA Appleseed’s project providing access to justice for youth experiencing homelessness. The Foundation also provided a $5,000 supplemental operating grant to reflect the impact of inflation on the economy.

“Liberty Mutual Foundation is a leader in the work to prevent and end youth homelessness and we are so grateful for this investment in our initiative to build a more robust legal safety net for young people experiencing homelessness,” said Deborah Silva, Executive Director of MA Appleseed. “Liberty Mutual’s partnership will allow us to help break down the barriers that trap young people in crisis and give them the tools they need to stay safe and housed for good. The generous supplemental operating grant further demonstrates Liberty Mutual’s understanding of our shared challenges as rising costs have forced nonprofits to do more with less.”

State data and reports from frontline service providers paint a clear picture of the way legal problems regularly intersect with a young person’s life and can impede their efforts to meet basic needs. A common barrier points to the inability for unaccompanied youth to easily obtain a state ID, which they need to access housing, employment, public benefits and more. Similarly, young people aging out of foster care lack traditional support systems and as many as 40 percent of former foster youth will experience homelessness, often because they are not aware of their legal rights.

MA Appleseed took a step towards addressing this problem in 2021 when the organization published the Massachusetts Homeless Youth Handbook, a state-specific resource guide for youth experiencing homelessness. The handbook includes 20 chapters on common legal questions to help young people understand their rights and responsibilities as well as direct them to support systems across the state. Under the guidance of Liberty Mutual’s pro bono program, 29 members of their legal team donated a total of 460 hours to draft chapters of the Massachusetts handbook. The resource was also developed in partnership with law firm Baker McKenzie, attorneys from Boston Scientific, community experts, and youth with lived experience.

“Housing insecurity is a complex social justice issue that can disrupt every aspect of life,” said Melissa MacDonnell, President of Liberty Mutual Foundation. “For youth still trying to figure out how to transition into adulthood, it can be a devastating setback. Liberty Mutual is proud to partner with Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice to help young people navigate challenging times – so they can build the sustainable and promising future they deserve.”

Youth homelessness is a signature program within Liberty Mutual’s corporate giving strategy, committing over $24 million to youth homelessness efforts since 2018. The company has partnered with organizations that have helped more than 3,800 young people exit to stable housing and nearly 1,200 young people find transitional housing.

This grant will help fund the expansion of MA Appleseed’s Legal Education, Advocacy, and Protections (LEAP) Project for Youth Experiencing Homelessness, enabling the organization to reach more young people directly and raise greater awareness of the Homeless Youth Handbook, increase educational programming around this know-your-rights guide, and ensure staff can keep it up to date as laws change and new resources become available. In addition, the organization plans to use the Handbook as a foundational tool to create a legal network of pro bono attorneys available to dedicate their time and expertise to youth experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.

###

About Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

MA Appleseed is driven by a mission to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues. Through policy analysis and research, coalition building, education and training, community organizing, and advocacy, the nonprofit seeks systems-level change so all Massachusetts families and youth can exercise their legal rights, build pathways out of poverty and crisis, and thrive. Responding to emerging and enduring inequities, MA Appleseed addresses an array of complex issues including self-representation in the civil justice system, language access for immigrant families, the school-to-prison pipeline, and youth homelessness. To explore recent research, find resources, sign up for opportunities to take action, or donate, please visit massappleseed.org.

About Liberty Mutual Insurance

At Liberty Mutual, we believe progress happens when people feel secure. By providing protection for the unexpected and delivering it with care, we help people and businesses embrace today and confidently pursue tomorrow.

In business since 1912, and headquartered in Boston, today we are the sixth largest global property and casualty insurer based on 2020 gross written premium. We also rank 78 on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the US based on 2021 revenue. As of December 31, 2022, we had $50 billion in annual consolidated revenue. 

We employ over 50,000 people in 29 countries and economies around the world. We offer a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobile, homeowners, specialty lines, reinsurance, commercial multiple-peril, workers compensation, commercial automobile, general liability, surety, and commercial property.

For more information, visit www.libertymutualinsurance.com

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Person:
Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
Madeline Poage
madeline@massappleseed.org

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice in Boston, Massachusetts has been selected for a one-time grant from Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand’s Community Grant Program, an initiative of its joint 10-year, $100 million Black Community Commitment (BCC), created in 2020.

Jordan Community Grants are awarded once a year to grassroots, non-profit organizations that are driving action and leading sustainable solutions to improve Black lives in their neighborhoods. As part of the 2023 BCC Community Grant cycle, and in honor of Michael Jordan’s 60th birthday, $2.3M in grant funds were awarded to 48 organizations, including MA Appleseed with a local connection to the initiative’s four key focus areas of economic justice, education, narrative change, and social justice.

Building on the efforts of the BCC, MA Appleseed will use the grant funds to take action through its mission to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues. Additionally, MA Appleseed will invest further in expanding its community organizing strategies to center Black and brown girls in conversations around the school-to-prison pipeline, amplify student voices, and effect positive policy change in schools that is grounded in restorative justice.

“MA Appleseed is honored to have been chosen for a one-time grant by Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand to support our initiatives advancing social justice through powerful policy change,” said Deborah Silva, Executive Director of MA Appleseed. “The COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on how entrenched racial and economic injustices destabilize the most vulnerable among us. As communities continue to recover from the trauma of the last few years, this is a pivotal moment where we can build on recent victories and continue to expand equitable access to justice and opportunity in our courts, our schools, and at every level of public life.”

“Creating more equitable futures for Black people starts with an intentional journey. So, as our Jordan Brand family celebrates Michael’s 60th birthday, we are thrilled to welcome these organizations committed to accelerating progress in their communities,” says Craig Williams, Jordan Brand President.

This is the third cycle of the Community Grant Program as part of Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand’s commitment to the Black community. 

###

About Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

MA Appleseed is driven by a mission to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues. Through policy analysis and research, coalition building, education and training, community organizing, and advocacy, the nonprofit seeks systems-level change so all Massachusetts families and youth can exercise their legal rights, build pathways out of poverty and crisis, and thrive. Responding to emerging and enduring inequities, MA Appleseed addresses an array of complex issues including self-representation in the civil justice system, language access for immigrant families, the school-to-prison pipeline, and youth homelessness. To explore recent research, find resources, sign up for opportunities to take action, or donate, please visit massappleseed.org.

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

Media Contact: Madeline Poage,
madeline@massappleseed.org
617-482-8686

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 26, 2022

Boston, Dec. 26, 2022 – Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a Boston-based research and advocacy nonprofit, announced it has received a $15,000 donation from global law firm Goodwin that will help expand its work to advance racial and gender justice in Massachusetts schools.

“Goodwin is a leader in the Boston legal community, and we are extraordinarily lucky to count the firm among Appleseed’s longtime partners,” said Deborah Silva, Executive Director of MA Appleseed. “This generous donation will provide critical support as we dismantle the policies and practices that harm girls of color caught in the intersection of racial and gender-based discrimination whose lives are disrupted by unjust school discipline. We are so grateful for Goodwin’s continued investment to help us move the needle on entrenched social justice problems.”

Racial disparities in education have long persisted, and COVID-19 left many students struggling with pandemic-related trauma and learning gaps. With the resulting surge in behavioral and mental health issues among students, concerns for school safety and subsequent calls for increased punitive discipline and policing have reemerged in the public discourse. MA Appleseed has joined fellow advocacy groups in condemning the use of harsh, exclusionary discipline and are instead pushing for solutions that center students’ health and well-being.

“Goodwin is thrilled to continue supporting MA Appleseed and its important mission,” said Alison Douglass, Goodwin partner. “As a member of MA Appleseed’s board, I have a front-row seat to their incredible work in the areas of social, racial and gender justice, and look forward to continuing our firm’s long-standing partnership with the organization.” 

This donation will help fund the expansion of MA Appleseed’s initiative to end the criminalization of girls of color, who face disproportionate levels of discipline that push them out of the classroom. Following the publication of their latest community-led report examining this issue, the organization has launched a multi-pronged advocacy campaign to create safe and affirming school cultures grounded in restorative practices where every student can succeed. The firm’s donation will also help MA Appleseed deepen its grassroots organizing power as the nonprofit continues to grow its community engagement capacity and expands its impact in Gateway Cities like Malden, Lawrence, and Lowell.

###

About Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

MA Appleseed is driven by a mission to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues. Through policy analysis and research, coalition building, education and training, community organizing, and advocacy, the nonprofit seeks systems-level change so all Massachusetts families and youth can exercise their legal rights, build pathways out of poverty and crisis, and thrive. Responding to emerging and enduring inequities, MA Appleseed addresses an array of complex issues including self-representation in the civil justice system, language access for immigrant families, the school-to-prison pipeline, and youth homelessness. To explore recent research, find resources, sign up for opportunities to take action, or donate, please visit massappleseed.org.

About Goodwin

We are in the business of building authentic, long-term relationships with our clients, who are some of the world’s most successful and innovative investors, entrepreneurs and disruptors at the convergence of and within the life sciences, private equity, real estate, technology and financial industries. Our immersive understanding of these industries — combined with our expertise across high-stakes litigation and dispute resolution, world-class regulatory compliance and advisory services, and complex transactions — sets us apart. At Goodwin, we are committed to building a more diverse and inclusive community. Learn more about our Diversity, Equity + Inclusion efforts.

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

Boston nonprofit receives 4 years of funding from Cummings Foundation

For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Silva, Massachusetts Appleseed, 617-482-8686, deb@massappleseed.org
Contact: Alison Harding, Cummings Foundation, 781-932-7093, aeh@cummings.com

BOSTON, June 1, 2021 – 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. The Boston-based organization was chosen from a total of 590 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $100,000 over four years.

Massachusetts Appleseed is a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with community organizations, pro bono attorneys, coalitions, and community members to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues. The organization uses policy-driven investigations and powerful advocacy to remove the systemic barriers that prevent Massachusetts’ vulnerable populations from accessing their legal rights, education, and economic stability.

Staff from Massachusetts Appleseed celebrate generous support from Cummings Foundation.

Massachusetts Appleseed staff celebrate Cummings Foundation’s generous support.

“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.”

These funds will support and grow Massachusetts Appleseed’s many initiatives to expand access to opportunity and rebalance the scales of the civil justice system to ensure fair and equitable outcomes for all. In particular, this award will support the organization’s work to end language discrimination immigrant families face in state courts and agencies and to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, focusing on the ways girls of color are unjustly targeted and punished in schools. This funding will also support Massachusetts Appleseed’s work to help young people experiencing homelessness overcome legal barriers and build safe, stable futures.

The Cummings $25 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties.

Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties. This Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 10 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“We aim to help meet the needs of people in all segments of our local community,” said Cummings Foundation executive director Joel Swets. “It is the incredible organizations we fund, however, that do the actual daily work to empower our neighbors, educate our children, fight for equity, and so much more.”

With the help of about 80 volunteers, the Foundation first identified 140 organizations to receive grants of at least $100,000 each. Among the winners were first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings Foundation grants.

“We have adopted a democratic approach to philanthropy, which empowers an impressive roster of dedicated volunteers to decide more than half of all our grant winners each year,” said Swets. “We benefit from their diverse backgrounds and perspectives; they benefit from a meaningful and fulfilling experience; and the nonprofits often benefit from increased exposure and new advocates.”

This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including social justice, homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. The nonprofits are spread across 43 different cities and towns.

The complete list of 140 grant winners, plus more than 800 previous recipients, is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $300 million to greater Boston nonprofits.

About Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

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. The nonprofit researches and identifies the ways in which the justice system, schools, and government agencies have systematically failed impoverished and vulnerable communities, challenges harmful public policies that perpetuate injustices and inequities, advocates for long-term solutions, and develops know-your-rights resources for those impacted. (https://massappleseed.org)

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings and has grown to be one of the three largest private foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn, and Veterinary School at Tufts, LLC in North Grafton. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice commends the Trial Court for Emergency Administrative Order 20-10, issued on June 24th 2020, which takes effect on July 13th and temporarily eliminates bans on the use of cell phones and other personal electronic devices (“PEDs”) inside all Massachusetts state courthouses. Our 2018 report, Cell Phones in the Courthouse: An Access to Justice Perspective, examined the disproportionate impact courthouse cell phone restrictions have on self-represented litigants and low-income court users. 
 
As that report demonstrated, many self-represented litigants need to use cell phones within the courtroom to display evidence, conduct legal research, or access language translation services. In addition, many court users require their cell phones to coordinate aspects of everyday life, such as ensuring proper childcare, obtaining transportation, or communicating with employers. Our report found that without access to these resources through their cell phones, self-represented litigants are placed at an even further disadvantage compared to litigants with attorneys. To fully correct the unintended consequences of these cell phone bans, Massachusetts Appleseed recommended that the Commonwealth adopt a universal permissive policy that allows cell phone use in courthouses statewide.
 
The Court’s Order temporarily eliminating all cell phone bans is a significant step towards that goal and has the potential to greatly expand access to justice in Massachusetts. We are extremely grateful to the Trial Court for this essential progress, but we urge the Trial Court to make this temporary change permanent in order to further increase self-represented litigants access to justice.

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

Logo for Liberty Mutual InsuranceWhen 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 a Massachusetts version of the Homeless Youth Handbook that the Baker McKenzie law firm had spearheaded in 10 places already.

“Liberty has a robust pro bono program,” she said, “and many of our lawyers and paralegals already had experience on key legal issues such as obtaining domestic violence restraining orders, finding housing, and accessing education.”

What subjects the volunteers didn’t already know, they were willing to learn about to make the handbook comprehensive and useful. 

Another motivation for Liberty getting involved with the handbook was the valuable organizational support from MA Appleseed. The staff at Appleseed greatly assisted the drafters from Liberty and Boston Scientific by compiling a thorough list of online research sources for Massachusetts law. Then the staff assembled a network of local subject matter experts, who they have been working with to review and edit the drafts volunteers submit to ensure the finalized handbook is thorough and accurate.                        

Participating in the handbook was a great fit for the Liberty legal department because one of the primary goals of the company’s charitable foundation is addressing homelessness, with a special emphasis on preventing youth homelessness. For example, in 2018, Liberty Mutual funded the purchase of Liberty House, a transitional residence for young people experiencing homelessness managed by Bridge Over Troubled Waters. The staff at Bridge Over Troubled Waters were excited when Attorney McGrath told them about the handbook, seeing it as providing legal information to supplement Bridge’s own app that helps young people experiencing homelessness navigate resources for shelter, meals, mental health, and more. In fact, Bridge agreed that it would have the final draft of the handbook reviewed by teenagers experiencing homelessness to confirm it was written and organized in an understandable way.     

“MA Appleseed has done a wonderful job coordinating the handbook project,” McGrath said. “With so many authors collaborating and experts reviewing the handbook sections, something this complex needed the structure that Appleseed provides. I think the handbook is going to be truly useful to homeless young people and the network of providers who guide them.”

“Not only has Liberty consistently been a champion of our most vulnerable youth over the years,” said Deborah Silva, Executive Director of MA Appleseed, “but we have been amazed by their tireless dedication to this project, especially during such a difficult time. As the world has shut down around us, the Liberty team and all our volunteers continue to write and turn in handbook chapters, which will enable us to get the finished resource into the hands of the young people who need it as soon as possible. We rely on pro bono assistance at MA Appleseed, and partners like Liberty are an extraordinary gift. I couldn’t be more grateful for their hard work and the time and energy they have donated to make this know-your-rights resource a reality.”

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

Thank You, Jennifer Sunderland: Board Member, Boston Attorney, and Generous Monthly Donor!

 

Image of Jennifer Sunderland, Member of Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice's Board of Directors

Jennifer Sunderland, Board Member

Jennifer is a Massachusetts native who attended college and law school here and clerked for judges in the Massachusetts Trial Court and Supreme Judicial Court. As a public defender for four years, Jennifer witnessed the importance of expanding access to justice within our legal system firsthand. After working for three boutique law firms doing civil litigation, she started her own law firm with a former colleague this past January. They focus on criminal defense and business and employment litigation.

“When I first became involved in MA Appleseed, I particularly appreciated the organization’s approach of engaging stakeholders in order to develop evidence-based solutions,” Jennifer said. “It has a unique mission and approach, and I think its work fills a gap in finding solutions to systemic access to justice problems.”

Jennifer is a champion of MA Appleseed’s Board of Directors. She has spearheaded multiple events like last September’s Trivia Night during which her team, the Lady Killers, came close to winning the ultimate prize! A committed donor, she recently began giving on a monthly basis last November.

“By giving monthly, I can do my part to help ensure MA Appleseed has consistent and regular support,” Jennifer said. “Also, it’s easier because I can give a smaller amount over time rather than a larger amount at one time. Now that donating monthly is an option, I cannot see a downside to doing it. It also saves me from having to think about it because my donation is automatically processed every month – one less task to worry about!”

“Because MA Appleseed is a small organization, it has the ability to be nimble and flexible where other nonprofits might be burdened and slowed by bureaucracy,” she added. “However, because it is smaller, every bit of support counts!”

To join Jennifer and become a monthly donor, click here and sustain MA Appleseed’s work all year with a gift of $15 a month.

Jennifer Sunderland has been a member of Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice’s Board of Directors since 2016.  

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.