2020 Impact Report

Page 1

2020 Impact Report


Democracy in America endures. A new administration brings reason to expect that the country’s ideals of inclusion, equity, and diversity—the same ideals that inspire LALDEF—may be fulfilled. Yet much remains to be done: 826,000 DREAMers still await regularization of their legal status; their families need vital resources and information; refugees long for ways to embrace our country; children callously separated from their parents seek reunification; and 11 million people living in the shadows strive to gain admittance into what Bruce Springsteen calls “the land of hope and dreams.”

These are big challenges, but challenges that we can face together. Who would have imagined that the tiny group of determined activists that founded LALDEF in 2004 would live to see it thrive as the largest and most effective entity of its kind in this part of the world? We serve more than 3,000 immigrants and Latinx residents each year. Our refurbished Legal Services department is poised to aid an ever growing number of people in need. Our FUTURO program offers support to up to 60 deserving students in transition to college; FUTURO FAMILIA, a new initiative aiming to supply resources and information to struggling families will soon complement those efforts. And thanks to the work of our tireless Interim Executive Director, Lorraine Goodman, a remarkable Board of Trustees, and an extraordinary, dedicated staff, LALDEF stands as a beacon of light in a landscape often marred by shadows and menace. For nearly two decades, LALDEF has been a crucible where elements of effort, faith, and resilience transform under fiery pressure into something new and admirable. As you read this Impact Report, I hope you rejoice, as we do, in what we have accomplished and what -- with your help -we will yet achieve.

Patricia Fernández-Kelly Chair, LALDEF Board of Trustees

That is the word that comes to mind when I think back over 2020, a leap-year with 366 days, and every one filled with drama, from the (first) impeachment of the president to COVID-19 to the election. For LALDEF, it began with the parting of one Executive Director and the installation of a new one, followed by never-ending debasements of immigration law, then consumed by the rapid proliferation of a new deadly disease — which forced us to close our headquarters and pivot to online platforms to deliver our services — culminating with the appointment of a third (Interim) Executive Director. Our response has been to embrace the need for organizational agility. LALDEF has always focused on addressing the underlying issues that lead to food insecurity, economic uncertainty, and resource paucity. COVID-19 forced our innovative staff to dig deeper to provide whatever was needed as the situation demanded: when we saw that information about COVID-19 was not readily available in Spanish, we built a regularly updated resource page on our website linking to a myriad of information regarding food pantries, safety and health standards in the workplace, rent/utility assistance, unemployment, health insurance or other services for you or your family, and more. When schools switched to all-virtual classes, we partnered with both Novo Nordisk and the Trenton Digital Initiative

to distribute over 30 refurbished laptops to Mercer County high school students. When it became apparent that COVID relief checks would not be available to undocumented residents, many of whom are front-line workers and pay federal taxes, we partnered with First Lady Tammy Murphy and her NJ Pandemic Relief Fund to distribute over $100,000 worth of debit cards to nearly 150 local families. Given that many of our ESL clients could not access online classes from home, we installed sneeze guards in our classrooms, purchased contactless thermometers, implemented contact tracing procedures, and opened our classrooms for limited use. When a judge overturned restrictions on DACA applications, we developed special screening protocols to quickly process as many applications as possible. In many ways, this agility, this tenacity, this industriousness is merely a reflection of the best characteristics of the population we serve. Immigrants to this country have always been the most innovative and creative — from Albert Einstein to Elon Musk to Jordi Munoz (founder of 3D Robotics), to the developers of a COVID vaccine: Noubar Afeyan (founder of Moderna) and Charles Pfizer. This is who we foster, this is who we serve. This is who we are.

Lorraine Goodman Interim Executive Director, LALDEF 2

LALDEF’s legal services are dedicated to empowering recent immigrants to Greater Mercer County as they navigate the often-complicated legal systems that lead to permanent status in the United States. We are particularly focused on ensuring that the most vulnerable – including children, survivors of torture or sexual and gender-based violence – can secure low-cost legal aid. An already complicated system was made even more challenging this past year as Executive orders were struck down in court, forcing those working in immigration to be alert and agile. One particularly difficult law that bounced around all year was the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — known as DACA. This year, DACA — along with everything else — has been in constant flux. At first, DACA renewals were due every two years; then it switched to every year; now it's back to every two years. By the end of 2020, the courts had also ruled that the DHS must start accepting new DACA applications. LALDEF immediately implemented quick screening protocols to enable our small staff to process and submit as many new applications as possible — in case the law changed again.

“My family and I immigrated from Costa Rica when I was 5 years old. For over eighteen years, the United States is the only country that I have known. I used LALDEF’s Legal Services to obtain my DACA and was guided through the process from the very beginning. It has opened many doors for me as a student and an employee. It was very meaningful to have all that legal help and support behind me. I made this video to thank LALDEF, which was featured on PBS: https://tinyurl.com/PBSLALDEF.” -Rut, LALDEF client


COVID-19 has presented a number of challenges in our legal services department, most significantly the loss of face-to-face interactions with our clients. Still, 2020 has been a year of growth and adaptability in our legal services department. We gained a DOJ accredited representative. We also hired two new Legal Services Coordinators in 2020, as well as a new Supervising Attorney, Carolina Curbelo, Esq., and the role of our Supervising Attorney has shifted from part-time to a nearly full-time position.

These changes and others will allow us to expand our capacity going forward.

Adjustment of Status Change of Venue Consular Processing Citizenship DACA Renewal Employment Authorization Family Petitions FOIA Requests Humanitarian Deferred Action Legal Permanent Residency Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Stay of Removal U-Visas (domestic violence)

We thank Rev. David McAlpin for his generous donation, which will allow us to defend the legal rights of a greater number of immigrants in Mercer County.


LALDEF’s Community Outreach and Education programs include Adult Education; FUTURO, LALDEF's high impact mentoring program for promising junior and senior high school students; Client Advocacy; Community Organizing; and more.

English for Speakers of Other Languages Citizenship Preparation Spanish High School Equivalency Preparation



new clients

returning clients

Driver's Education

Following the recent legislation change in NJ which allows driver’s licenses to be available to all qualified adults, we offered our first Driver’s Education Workshop Series in 2020. An eight-part workshop series, the course covered topics such as how to get a driver’s license, driver safety, rules and regulations when driving, defensive driving techniques, and other basic driving skills. 5

LALDEF's FUTURO program is a two-year, high-impact mentoring program that targets promising junior and senior high school students (most of whom are first-generation Americans) and provides them with academic support, SAT preparation, college application guidance, mentoring, social support, and community service opportunities.


Free or reduced lunch


1st in their families to attend college


Maintain a

3.0 GPA or above at all times

in scholarship money

"This program has been a great blessing to my life and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.” -Joana, FUTURO Class of 2020

COVID-19 necessitated a switch to virtual learning in our FUTURO program this year. Given that some students do not have regular access to computers/Internet, we: Partnered with Trenton Digital Initiative (TDI) to provide web-enabled computers to students Set up WiFi hotspots in our courtyard and parking lot, so that students can access the Internet as needed 6

For the third year in a row, thanks to a grant from the All Kids Thrive initiative of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, one of our bilingual Client Advocates worked with middle school students and their families in 2020 to reduce absenteeism among first-generation American middle school students.

174 Families served

Checking in regularly with students and families Translation services Distributing laptops to students who didn’t have access to computers at home Helping families make doctors appointments, negotiate with landlords, and more Referrals to other organizations and community resources

In 2020, we assisted...

Each year, we partner with the United Way of Greater Mercer County to offer FREE income tax preparation to individuals and families with annual household incomes below $65k.

120 clients with tax preparation

Our Client Advocates will shift their focus to health advocacy in 2021. 7

People without identification documents are often denied access to even the most basic services. Documentation issues are one of the biggest barriers that immigrants face in their interactions with a new culture.

When seventeen year old Arnold broke his leg working at a construction site, he was denied a follow-up appointment at the hospital because he lacked identification. For over three weeks, Arnold felt scared and powerless.Then he heard about LALDEF’s Community ID program. He visited our office and worked with our staff to get his ID.

The very next day, Arnold went to the hospital for his follow-up visit on his broken leg. The Mercer County Area ID Card extends access to basic services to traditionally excluded populations, including immigrants, the elderly, and persons in transitional housing or without a permanent home. The ID Card can be used for access to services at... Municipal and social service agencies Schools Clinics Food pantries Parks Post offices Libraries

In spite of COVID-19, in 2020, we issued 339 ID cards. 8

In May, we gave away free masks to community members in need.

5000 Masks donated

In spring and summer 2020, we facilitated virtual readings of stories by Latin American authors in Spanish over Zoom, for adults and teenagers 16+.

15 Participants

16 Stories


Over the summer, thanks to funds from the NJ Pandemic Relief Fund, we were able to distribute debit cards to clients who live below the poverty line but are not eligible for regular stimulus checks. Recipients shared their gratitude for the resources provided by posting thank you notes on a board at our office:

$100k Donated

110 Clients


In September, with the support of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, we coordinated with LAZOS and Westminster Presbyterian Church to organize a giveaway event, where we distributed school supplies, fresh produce, backpacks, books, and information about COVID-19.

More than

300 People attended

FUTURO students met on Saturdays at the Johnson Center in Princeton to prepare artwork that represents their cultural heritage, which they presented in a socially-distanced Masquerade Parade on October 31 with D&R Greenway. We then displayed their artwork at LALDEF for Hispanic Heritage Month.


In October, we partnered with TCNJ to host a clothing drive for the community as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

In October, we partnered with Trenton Digital Initiative (TDI) to distribute laptops to middle and high school students who did not have computer access at home.

In December, we presented a virtual reading of Donna Barbara Higuera’s new novel, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance, followed by a Q&A session with the author.

30 Laptops donated

30 Children attended the virtual reading; all received free books


Trenton’s population is approximately 84,000, 23.3% of whom are foreign-born. COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges immigrant communities face: they are more likely to hold "essential" jobs, but less likely to carry health insurance and more likely to face job loss as they try to support their families. As a result, demand for LALDEF's services has increased exponentially. Clients reach out to us for help dealing with food insecurity, unemployment, rent issues, and more.

LALDEF is immersed in the community we serve and is a trusted source of information and assistance. Most of our staff is Latinx, and 77% of staff is bilingual; many have spent a good portion of their lives in Trenton.

1600+ Facebook followers


Nearly 1000 Trenton residents' phones accessed via EZ Texting

Nearly 300 People accessed our list of COVID-19 resources on our website

7,000 Views for some social media posts


What to do if contacted by the police or ICE The importance of filling out the census, regardless of immigration status

Information about the virus and how to protect yourself Updates on the situation in Mercer County How to register for the vaccine How to register for health insurance during the open enrollment period in New Jersey

In 2019, legislation was passed promising to give undocumented immigrants in NJ access to driver's licenses, but rollout of the driver's license privileges has still not happened.

We continued to fight for access to driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. We also offered a brand new driver’s education class this year (see page 5 for more information).


Immigrants have been hit especially hard by COVID-19. In 2020, we disseminated vital information about COVID-19 to the community. Now, in 2021, thanks to funding from the CDC Foundation and supported by the New Jersey Department of Health, Family Services, we are collaborating with Catholic Charities and Trenton Health Team to ensure that vulnerable communities in Trenton not only have trustworthy information about COVID-19, but also equal access to vaccine protection.

Many of our families have experienced trauma, either in their home countries or in the U.S. Emotional challenges faced by our clients have been exacerbated by COVID-19. In order to better equip our staff to interact with clients who have experienced trauma, LALDEF partnered with the Center for Great Expectation in September to provide our staff with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) training.

LALDEF also recently hired Dr. Tara Chalakani as a Professional Counselor Consultant (PCS). Dr. Chalakani brings to LALDEF over 30 years’ experience in healthcare, behavioral health, trauma, and organizational leadership. She has undergraduate degrees in Nursing and Psychology, a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling, and doctoral degree in Psychology with a focus on Behavioral Health Leadership. Dr. Chalakani supports staff in fostering a traumainformed culture at LALDEF.


REVENUE AND SUPPORT IN 2020 In-kind contributions $126,150

Other $397

Individual contributions $170,007

Program income $61,102

Grants $471,239

Total revenue and support in 2020: $828,895

2018 assets include donations made toward the purchase of Casa de Bienvenida. 16

*Reflects a fiscal year from July 1 - June 30. 17

In summer 2020, Lorraine Goodman stepped into the position of Interim Executive Director of LALDEF. Goodman, a Princeton University graduate, earned a master’s degree in nonprofit administration at NYU Steinhardt/Stern Business School. After a number of years working for nonprofits in New York City, she was invited back to New Jersey to serve as Princeton AlumniCorps’ Development Officer. Goodman has a wide variety of volunteer and fundraising experience. Our organization is growing stronger thanks to her skills and knowledge. After serving as LALDEF’s Supervising Attorney for six years, Aleksandra Gontaryuk, Esq. stepped down to better serve her burgeoning private practice. This fall, Carolina Curbelo, Esq. took her place. Fluent in Spanish and English, Curbelo brings to LALDEF years of experience in immigration law along with a background in civil law litigation. Curbelo has advised and represented clients on a wide range of family, business, and humanitarian immigration matters, including family-based petitions, business immigration, U visas, applications for permanent residence, consular processing, and asylum before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A graduate of Rutgers University, Ms. Curbelo received her JD from Vermont Law School.

Lorraine Goodman, Interim Executive Director Michelle Allendes, Legal Services Coordinator Debby Cheng, FUTURO Program Assistant Miranda Christ, Development and Communications Associate Caty Dominguez, Client Advocate & ID Card Manager Jessica Hourruitiner, Client Advocate & ID Card Associate Tulia Jimenez-Vergara, FUTURO Program Manager Graciela Leal, Executive Assistant Laura Mora, Community Organizer Ana Obika, FUTURO Program Coordinator Leandra Ovalle, Welcome House Caretaker Shelly Peskin, Legal Services Coordinator Emily Peterman, Education Programs Coordinator Dr. Tara Chalakani, Professional Counselor Consultant Carolina Curbelo, Esq., Supervising Attorney New staff members are highlighted in yellow.


In summer 2020, CPA Jonathan Lear (of Lear & Pannepacker, LLP) joined our Board of Trustees. He brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit management and governance, as well as financial expertise. In January 2021, he took over as Treasurer. In addition, Pete Taft (of Taft Communications) stepped in as Co-Vice Chair. In September, we gained three new Board members: Miguel Centeno (of the Princeton University departments of Sociology and International Affairs), Alberto Vourvoulias (of CUNY's Craig Newman Graduate School of Journalism), and Sasa Olessi Montaño (of Meals on Wheels). Richard Sperry (of Novo Nordisk) joined the Board in December. Welcome to the team!

Patricia Fernández-Kelly, Chair Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen, Co-Vice Chair Pete Taft, Co-Vice Chair Jonathan Lear, Treasurer David Long, Secretary David Anderson Miguel Centeno John Heilner

Stacy Mann* Sasa Olessi Montaño Susan Roy Richard Sperry Larry Spruill* Alberto Vourvoulias Isabel Zisk*

*Stacy Mann, Larry Spruill, and Isabel Zisk stepped down from the Board in 2020. Thank you for your service!


Mary Blair Dr. Franklin & Phyllis Bocian Hilary Brown & Charles Read David & Elizabeth Cohen Connolly Taft Family Charitable Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation Jenny & Jonathan Crumiller William & Angela Creager Jane Buttars Javier & Pilar Daly Victoria DiMella & Robert DiMella Paul and Anne Disdier Fund Mark & Amy Dodds Sara & Justin Doran Dr. Mark Engel & Isabel Kentengian Edward Fenwick Patricia Fernandez-Kelly & Alejandro Portes Susan Fiske & Douglas Massey

Julie Fox & Steven Gates and the Greenview Ecology Fund Suzanne Gespass & David Dobkin James Gregoire Andrew & Carol Golden Richard & Peggy Greenfield Foundation William & Aline Haynes John & Mary Heilner Patricia & Frank Von Hippel Hulfish Restaurants, LLC Sandra R. Johnson Landon & Sarah Jones Family Fund Amy Kimura & Thomas Griffith Kieling Family Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation Robert C. Kuser Jr. Melissa Lane David Long & Alice St. Claire Lori Martin

McAlpin Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation Monika Mevenkamp Mithun Family Foundation The Otto Family Advised Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation Diane Paulsell Jeremy D. Pollack Dr. Jane Rohlf & Ted Boyer Susan Roy Christopher Skinner & Kimberly Kracman Linda von Thaden Foundation on behalf of Kimberly Kingsland and Maximillian von Thaden Gina Turner Alberto Vourvoulias & Jhumpa Lahiri Cynthia Weiss Xuming Xu Mitsuru Yasuhara Isabel Zisk

Daniel Harris Estate Sybill Stokes Estate Ann & Mitsuru Yasuhara Estate


Russell Annich Francesca Benson & George Cody Rachelle Bin George & Sandra Bermann David Bocian J. Georg Cerf John & Melanie Clarke Kenneth Daly Dale Davis Paul DiMaggio & Carol Ann Mason Brigid Doherty Elizabeth Doverman Theodore & Jane Fetter Leticia Fraga & Steven Nadler

David Abalos, PhD & Celia Dorantes Abalos Adriana Abizadeh Lucia Acosta & Jorge Sarmiento Fernando Acosta Rodriguez David N. Adler David Anderson Janet E Atler-Smith Michelle Baird Thomas Baker James Barnshaw Elba Barzelatto Peter & Jeana Bateman Lory Bernnstein Mary Bertino James Bicksler Richard Bilotti & Katherine Hatton Joan Bird Walter Bliss Martin Bloomenthal Arthur Bober Samantha Bobila Roberto Bojorquez Alfaro Naomi Brahinsky Bright Funds Foundation Michael Burawoy Holly Bussey Patrick & Mary Caddeau Jason Camilo James Canty Michelle Cash Kathleen Cassidy Alfred Cavallo Caleb Chacha Dr. Tara A. Chalakani Adam Chang Joe Chencharik Gregory Cherlin Beth Cohen Emily Costa Barbara Cuneo Mary Dahms Susan Darley Martha Davidson Susan Davis DBA Devi Yoga Sacred Arts Ericka Deglau Douglass Derry Edward Deutsch Dominic Dominguez Michael Douglas Anna Drago Betty Ann Duggan & Paula Mirsky Helen & Robert Duncan Sarah Eagan Dawn Early

Gareth Funka-Lea Prof. Gene & Dr. Jean Grossman Donald Gilpin Rev. Karen Hernández-Granzen Tera Hunter Michael Kingston Jonathan Lear Donald & Nancy Light Ryan Lilienthal Michele Minter & Jeffrey Yuan Raoul Momo Barbara Oberg Robert & Ana Obika Maureen O'Neill

Clare Eggers Marita & Wolfgang Engshuber Robert Esposito Keelan & James Evanini Candace Feiring Aaron Fichtner Andrew Fox Carolann Freedman Orlando Fuquen & Stephanie Chorney Ellen Gallos Pamela Simon Gazel Charles Gear Caroline Germond Alyson Giantisco Jeanine Giantisco Bonnie Gilbert Linda & John Gilmore Laura Gleason Sally Goldfarb & Joseph Straus Lorraine Goodman Noreen Goldman William & Susan Goodwin Barbara Graziosi Suzin Green Susannah Greenblatt Michael Gribbin Nathalie Gutierrez Clara Haignere & Rex Potter The Emily & John Harvey Foundation Karen Haskin Valerie Haynes Alexander Heilner & Amy Scott Patricia & Adolfo Herst Richard & Dawn van Heuvel Samuel Hewitt Angelica Hicks Allison Howe Indivisible Cranbury Steve Isaacson Toby F Israel Ravdeep Jaidka Raquel Jeffers Mary & Robert Jones Molly & William Jones Mea Kaemmerlen Robert Karp & Linda Oppenheim Stanley & Adria Katz Carol King Michael Klein Dr. Ruth Knighton Jeffrey Knott E Read Langan Michael Lapp & Claire Fowler Darmakusuma & Elizabeth Le Zach Lehrhoff Andrew Leifer

Aurturo & Lourdes Pizano Kira Popescu PU Chapel Congregation William Robins Joseph & Lisa Roman Carolyn Powell Sanderson & George B. Sanderson Mark & Judy Sarvary Ava Shirazi Stephen Slusher Richard Sperry Albert & Ellen Stark Caron Wendell Deborah J Yashar

Diego Leon Teena Lerman Steve Lestition Suzanne Levin & Leon Rosenson Peter Lindenfeld & Mary Clurman Andrew Lowenstein Hailey Lowenstein Ronnie Lowenstein Terry Lyons and the Lyons-Ochsner Charitable Fund Roger Martindell Dylan Marton Sally Maruca Wendy Matthews Amy J. Mayer Korey McNally Norman McNatt The Merk Foundation Richard & Judy Meyer Tova Meyer Daniel Mitchell Alyse Mordoh-Sciarrotta Richard H. Morgan Margaret Moros Meghan Murphy Network for Good Drew & Marie Nye Tara Oakman Carol & Richard Ober Sasa Olessi Montaño & Abelardo Montaño Martin Oppenheimer & Hannah Fink Jennifer Owens Eddy Pacay Dan-El Padilla-Peralta Kirk Palmer Elizabeth & Alan Paluck Kelsea Paradis Jonathan Pastor Robert & Katherine Patten Dina Paulson-McEwen Cristian A. Peña Recinos Ellen & Thomas Petrone Christine Piatek Mary & Bob Pickens Alesia Pilgrim Lauren Pilgrim Michelle Pirone Lambros Charles & Dorothy Plohn Laura Pollack Lainie Potter Frances Prestianni Barbara & Harry Purnell Susan & Jose Quiles Loreen Rahn Anne Reeves

Ann Reichelderfer Daniel & Mary Reynolds Joanne Rodriguez Robert Rosen Peggy Saavedra Jhasmany Saavedra Pantoja Amanda Sachenski Moses Santizo Alfred Santo Rachel Sawyer Robert Schapire Rev. Nancy Schluter Bruce & Irene Schragger Anne Seery Sergio Serna Dylan Shapiro Barbara Silberstein Jane Silverman Dustin Singleton Frances Slade Sophie Smith Leah Snyder Larry Spruill Sarah Stecker Sylvia Stengle Sally Stout Michael Strauss Melanie Z. Strub Donald Stryker & Diane Gruenberg Jacob Sundstrom Leesy Taggart Abdolreza Tahvildar-Zadeh William & Patricia Tanner Marietta & Joseph Taylor Jessica Tiblin Alexander Todorov Rolando Torres Victoria Tredinnick Sara Tse Jasmine Ueng-McHale Colin Unsworth & Agnes Morrison Tayson Van Itallie & Jane Scott Theodore Van Itallie Genevieve Vaughn Ann Vaurio Dorothea Von Moltke Nicholas Vossbrink & Rosina Lozano Pamela & William Wakefield Jim Waltman Jessie Webb Judith Weisenfeld Isaac Wills Alana Young Elizabeth Young Ann Zultner

Donors for the last 18 months as of February 1, 2021. If we have neglected to include your name, or if we have inadvertently misspelled your name, please accept our sincere apologies and email us at miranda.christ@laldef.org 21

LALDEF relies on the generosity of our many individual and foundation donors to support our work. More than 85% of our operating budget comes from YOUR support. We take donations of donor-advised funds, IRA contributions, checks, cash... To find out more, visit laldef.org/donate 22

The mission of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) is to promote the rights of all immigrants (with a focus on the Latin American community in the Mercer County area); facilitate access to health care, education and legal representation; advocate for the integration of immigrants; and foster inter-cultural communication to strengthen our communities. Founded in 2004, LALDEF is a not-for-profit social impact organization headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey. The Organization’s programs fall into two key areas: legal services – which encompass immigration support – and community outreach/education, which includes client advocacy, continuing education, youth mentoring and development, and the dissemination of vital, reliable information regarding healthcare, digital literacy, citizenship, financial stability, and more.

714-716 S. CLINTON AVE. Trenton, NJ 08611 (609) 688-0881 www.laldef.org facebook.com/laldef.org




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