Published on January 23, 2023

FurtherJustice Announces $1.2 Million to Inaugural Cohort of Legal Accelerator Grantees

FurtherJustice is pleased to announce that it has selected its first cohort of Legal Accelerator Grantees, an exceptional group of community-based organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York State, focused on providing immigration, housing and family law services. Each organization has a strong track record of responding to the needs of its community and is committed to using legal services to increase access to justice, power and equity.

They collectively will receive $1.2 million in grants in 2023-2024 and individualized programmatic assistance from FurtherJustice to help launch or expand civil legal service programs within their organizations. Each project will also be eligible for an additional $75,000 in matching funds in 2025.

Learn more about our grantees below:

COLUMBIA COUNTY SANCTUARY MOVEMENT: CCSM organizes with immigrants and allies to collectively support, empower and defend their Hudson Valley, New York community.

$300,000 to launch an in-house immigration legal services program in Hudson Valley, New York.

“The FurtherJustice Legal Accelerator Grant will enable us to hire a bilingual attorney and DOJ representative to further strengthen our multilingual team and expand our legal program. It is vital for our community to have access to representation given that unlike the criminal legal system, people facing deportation are not guaranteed legal representation. Due to this bleak reality, CCSM is ready to provide holistic legal representation that is driven to uphold the dignity of our membership and ensure that language and literacy barriers do not prevent them from seeking our services.”

– Diana Cruz, Co-Executive Director, CCSM

CONNECTICUT COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: CCADV leads a statewide network of 18 community-based domestic violence organizations across Connecticut, focusing on advocacy, outreach and education.

$300,000 to provide quality legal consultations to domestic violence survivors in Connecticut with unmet family law needs.

“Providing family law legal consults to the significant group of survivors of domestic violence who do not qualify, financially or otherwise, for legal aid is a critical piece of the mosaic to empower survivors. Ending an abusive relationship is statistically the most lethal period for the survivor and this program is designed to limit the time survivors will be engaged in that process… [It] will promote survivors’ rights when engaging in the legal system by providing them with knowledge and information critical to making informed decisions regarding resolution of their family law matters.”

– Rhonda Morra, Director of Civil Legal Advocacy, CCADV

NEWARK COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS (NCS) and VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR JUSTICE (VLJ): NCS is a community justice initiative that operates at the nexus of the social service and legal systems in Newark. VLJ is a Newark-based legal services organization whose mission is to ensure access to justice for people experiencing poverty.

$300,000 to holistically represent vulnerable tenants in Essex County, New Jersey, in order to better address the myriad issues that contribute to housing insecurity.

“The Legal Accelerator Grant from FurtherJustice will place Newark Community Solutions at the intersection of law and social change and will lead to greater housing stability in Essex County. This collaborative new program will create a formal partnership between Newark Community Solutions and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice. Our shared goal is not only to build capacity to identify and address legal and social issues that contribute to housing instability, but to create an effective model for community lawyering in New Jersey.”

– Kelly Mulligan, Director of New Jersey Programs, NCS

– Cathy Keenan, Executive Director, VLJ

OLA OF EASTERN LONG ISLAND: OLA works to create a more equitable East End for Latino immigrants through advocacy, crisis services, health and wellness services, bridge building, leadership workshops, and educational, arts and cultural programming.

$300,000 to launch an in-house house immigration legal services program on the East End of Long Island, New York.

“With this game changing grant from FurtherJustice, OLA will now have the ability to hire a full-time immigration attorney to provide free immigration legal services to low-income undocumented immigrants in our remote, underserved region of Long Island. East End immigrants will for the first time enjoy easy access to these services from a community organization that is respected and trusted. The widespread fear of deportation prevents many community members from fully participating in civic life. Having legal status goes far to protect people from exploitation, opens doors to more opportunities, and allows families to focus on their future. This benefits not just the individual but the entire East End community.”

– Minerva Perez, Executive Director, OLA

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