June 18, 2019
Gr. Boston Immigrant Defense Fund Launched; $1.1M Available

September 16, 2017 — A consortium of Massachusetts nonprofits and corporate funders has raised $1.1 million to create the Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund, which aims to support immigrants and refugees, and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, a Boston nonprofit that works to improve legal services for low-income people, invited area nonprofits to apply for grants from the new fund.

Specifically, the fund seeks to strengthen the Greater Boston area’s capacity to protect and defend its many immigrant communities, refugees, and temporary status holders by increasing education and access to legal services.

The fund was announced Wednesday at a Boston City Hall event that featured Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and representatives of a dozen lead partners including, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), the Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, the Hyams Foundation, the Fish Family Foundation, the Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation, and corporate funders Foley Hoag and Mintz Levin.

"Civil legal aid plays a vital role in protecting the rights of individuals and families that come to the United States in search of economic opportunity and freedom from violence and persecution." said Lonnie Powers, executive director of MLAC. "We are deeply grateful for this much-needed funding, which will enable legal aid programs to partner with community-based agencies to educate, empower, and provide legal support to vulnerable immigrants and refugees in the Greater Boston area."

Orlando Watkins, vice president of programs at The Boston Foundation (TBF), which provided $75,000, said, “At a time when the justice scales seem to be weighted against those with immigrant status, it is inspiring to see so many rally to ensure that these residents get the legal support they need.”

"Last week, the Trump Administration threw the lives of 800,000 young people into turmoil and uncertainty with the stroke of a pen," said Jocelyn Sargent, executive director of the Boston-based Hyams Foundation. "In an era of volatile federal politics and a growing nationalist movement, it is our collective and moral responsibility to ensure that Boston continues to serve as a sanctuary for all.

According to the mayor's office, foreign-born Bostonians account for 28.4% of city's population, and nearly half of Boston's children under 18 lived with at least one foreign born parent in 2015.

Nonprofit agencies and nonprofit legal services providers with 501(c)(3) status, based in the Greater Boston area, that meet the following eligibility criteria may apply for grants through the fund:
  • Located in communities along and/or east of the 495 corridor (i.e. inclusive of Lawrence, Lowell) as well as 195 (i.e. inclusive of Fall River, New Bedford).

  • Demonstrated knowledge of the Greater Boston immigrant community, including populations that are most vulnerable to immigration enforcement action.

  • Proven track-record and capacity to provide services to immigrants in the Greater Boston area.
Deadline to apply is Sept. 29. Details.

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