Our Grants For 2021

The Board met during September 2020 to discuss grant applications. As a result of that discussion, the Board made the following grants to four worthy organizations.

Click on each Grantee’s name below to read more about their organization and the case for which they received funding.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Rooted in the dreams of immigrants and inspired by the promise of opportunity, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) advocates for an America in which all Americans can benefit equally from, and contribute to, the American dream. Our mission is to advance the civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all. Advancing Justice | AAJC is a national 501 (c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1991 in Washington, D.C.  Advancing Justice | AAJC is the voice for the Asian American community – the fastest-growing population in the U.S. – fighting for our civil rights through education, litigation, and public policy advocacy. We serve to empower our communities by bringing local and national constituencies together and ensuring Asian Americans are able to participate fully in our democracy.

THE CASE: La Union Entero Del Pueoblo Entero v. Ross (D.Md.). On September 13, 2019, Advancing Justice | AAJC and MALDEF filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s plan to collect and provide incomplete citizenship data to the states for purposes of redistricting as an unconstitutional and racially discriminatory scheme intended to deprive Latinos, Asians, and non-citizens of equal representation.  On July 21, 2020, after issuance of the Presidential Memorandum excluding undocumented individuals from the apportionment base, the court granted Plaintiffs’ motion to amend the complaint. Most recently, on August 4, 2020, the government announced the latest of their efforts to ensure minorities are undercounted and underrepresented: to end field collection of data for the decennial census one month early on September 30, 2020, even though, at that time, an estimated 60 million households (nearly 40%) remained uncounted, most of whom are from “hard to count” communities that include Latinos and Asian Americans and to truncate necessary post processing to ensure an accurate count. These collective actions are (combined with the unsuccessful attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census), in the words of a Republican strategist who laid the foundation for these efforts, to benefit the political power of “non-Hispanic whites” at the expense of other racial groups.  Accordingly, plaintiffs have sought declaratory, injunctive, and mandamus relief to prevent the government from carrying out its unlawful and racially discriminatory plans.

Grant Contact: Niyati Shah, Director of Litigation, 1620 L Street, NW, Suite 1050, Washington, DC 20036, 202.815.1098, nshah@advancingjustice-aajc.org

Disability Rights of New York

Disability Rights New York (DRNY) provides free civil legal and advocacy services to advance and protect the rights of people with disabilities across New York State. DRNY is committed to enabling those we serve to exercise their own life choices and fully participate in community life by engaging in both individual and systemic advocacy, targeting areas such as health care, housing, employment, community integration, education, prisoner rights, voter rights, and income maintenance.

We monitor, investigate, and advocate to remedy adverse conditions in facilities. DRNY advocates to ensure full access to inclusive educational programs, financial entitlements, healthcare, accessible housing, transportation, and productive employment opportunities, as well as continuing to seek prevention of abuse and neglect. Our advocacy includes fighting for accessible streets and sidewalks; demanding text-to-911; challenging segregated school systems; making sure that service animals are allowed in schools, work places and public places ;identifying and remedying barriers to voting;  addressing practices that foster abuse and neglect; and ensuring equal access and integration are more than just aspirations.

THE CASE: Jose Hernandes, et. al. v. New York State Board of Elections, et. al.  SDNY 1:20-cv-04003-LJL; DRNY led a coalition of disability right groups - including the American Council of the Blind - New York, Inc.; Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York; National Federation of the Blind of New York State, Inc.;  and several New York voters with disabilities  in filing a lawsuit against the New York State Board of Elections for excluding New Yorkers with disabilities from their Absentee Ballot program.  Disability Rights Advocates and the law firm, Brown Goldstein Levy, are co-counsel in this lawsuit.  The Complaint can be found at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9ihq2g9wzd9vsak/Filed%20Complaint.pdf?dl=0

New York’s Absentee Voting program requires voters to fill out a paper ballot using a pen or marker and to return the ballot by mail. Our plaintiffs have print disabilities (i.e. blindness, low vision, physical disabilities, learning disabilities), and are unable to independently mark a paper ballot. The Absentee Voting program provides no alternatives to accommodate individuals with print disabilities who vote from home. Plaintiffs must choose between their health and their right to vote because they are forced to go to their board of election if they want to privately and independently mark their ballot. Plaintiffs should be provided as the lawsuit seeks with a fully-accessible absentee voting program, including electronic request, electronic ballot delivery, and secure electronic ballot return. 

Grant Contacts: Timothy A. Clune, Executive Director, tim.clune@drny.org and Christina Asbee, Director PAAT, PAVA & PATBI, Christina.Asbee@drny.org.   518.432.7861.

Gender Justice

Gender Justice is a nonprofit legal and policy advocacy organization based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Founded by accomplished plaintiffs’ attorneys ten years ago, Gender Justice’s mission is to advance gender equity through the law. Gender Justice’s programs, strategic and impact litigation, policy advocacy, education, and movement building work to fight gender discrimination and add protections to our civil rights. We place a high value on cases, policies, and projects that have the opportunity for the most significant impact. We take on cases that have the opportunity to set lasting precedents, improving the lives of our clients and others across the state, region, and country, who face similar barriers.   We advocate for new policies and laws that work to improve the ways our country addresses gender injustice and act as a resource for lawmakers hoping to gain a stronger understanding of gender rights and equality.

Our organization has a reputation for taking on bold, envelope-pushing legal and policy advocacy, and most importantly, securing wins in both the courts and the legislature. In December 2019, we successfully settled our first case filed under the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act (a landmark bill we helped pass in 2014) to enforce a nursing parent’s right to pump breast milk at work. And, in March 2015, we secured a historic first-in-the-nation win when a federal court in Minnesota ruled that Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act’s ban on sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of transgender status. 

THE CASE: Andrea Anderson vs. Grand St. Paul CVS, LLC dba CVS Pharmacy #10397; CVS Health Corporation; CVS Pharmacy, Inc.; Aitkin Pharmacy Services, LLC dba Thrifty White Pharmacy; CVS Pharmacist #1; George Badeaux; Gender Justice is representing a rural Minnesota woman who was forced to contact three pharmacies and travel over 100 miles in blizzard conditions j to fill her emergency contraception prescription. In 2019, Gender Justice filed a complaint on behalf of this individual who was denied service by pharmacists at not one, but two pharmacies in rural Minnesota - the McGregor Thrifty White and Aitkin CVS - when she sought to fill a prescription for emergency contraception in January 2019. The complaint filed in Minnesota’s Ninth Judicial District, lays out our case that her experience constitutes illegal discrimination based on sex and that denying her service based on her pregnancy-related health care needs violates the Minnesota Human Rights Act. 

Pharmacies have a duty to ensure patients can receive their prescription medications, regardless of the pharmacist’s personal religious beliefs. This case is unique because the patient is suing a pharmacist for failing to provide her with birth control. Her story highlights the struggle that rural women, in particular, face when accessing health care. Gender equality cannot exist without the ability for people to decide when and whether to become parents. This requires meaningful access to reproductive care in our communities, including access to emergency contraception. No one should be denied the health care they need due to the personal beliefs of their provider. 

Grant contact: Megan J. Peterson, executive director, megan.peterson@genderjustice.us, 651-789-2090

National Center for Youth Law

For almost 50 years, the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) has fought to advance justice by defending the rights of children and improving the systems impacting their lives. We focus on complex challenges that disproportionately affect children and communities of color and on solutions that require multiple public systems to change their policies, practices, and culture. We are headquartered in Oakland, CA, with offices in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Arizona. Our focus areas include immigration, juvenile justice, education, health, child welfare, and child trafficking. 

Our long-term goals are to ensure that public systems treat children and youth equitably, with compassion, and provide the opportunities each one needs to thrive; that racial disparities are eradicated; and that youth have a central role in designing the systems that impact them and in shaping their experiences within our public systems. To achieve this, our campaigns weave together impact litigation, policy development and implementation, partnerships with public agencies, demonstration sites, research, communications, coalition building, and capacity building of grassroots and public interest partners, including youth-led organizations.

THE CASE: LUCAS R. v. AZAR; Lucas R. v. Azar is a federal class action lawsuit filed in 2018 on behalf of unaccompanied migrant children and youth by NCYL and co-counsel: the Immigration Law Clinic at University of California Davis, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and the law firm, Cooley LLP. Plaintiffs allege that the Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR), a program operated by the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), violates the legally protected rights of children in ORR custody. Lucas R. seeks to enforce constitutional protections for unaccompanied children in federal custody. At its core, this case seeks to protect the civil liberties of some of our most vulnerable children and youth. Thousands of class members in ORR custody will be directly impacted by the outcome of this lawsuit. Our expertise at the intersection of children’s rights, immigrant rights, and disability rights will improve the health, safety and well-being of all children and youth in ORR custody.

In November 2018, Federal District Judge Dolly Gee denied ORR’s Motion to Dismiss and certified five national classes of children in ORR custody subject to the challenged policies and practices, allowing this case to move forward as a class action. Over the course of 2020, we have been actively engaged in discovery, reviewing thousands of pages of documents produced by the government, conducting depositions, and analyzing evidence needed in order to prevail on our claims. We have also facilitated nine expert reports in anticipation of Motions for Summary Judgment this Fall. This case is currently scheduled for a six-week trial in January 2021. 

Grant Contact: Marie Lim, Development Manager, Mlim@youthlaw.org, (510) 920-3511

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