2021 Impact Report

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2021 Impact Report


"A NEW ERA" 2021 marked the start of a new era at LALDEF. We welcomed an outstanding new Executive Director to our LALDEF family, as well as several new Board Officers and Trustees. We both expanded and refined our primary services, all while adapting to the constantly shifting political landscape —and facilitating several hundred COVID-19 vaccinations in our community. Since 2004, LALDEF has embodied the values of support, education, and justice for our Latino and immigrant neighbors. I would like to thank LALDEF’s dedicated volunteers and donors. We couldn’t do it without them. We are sincerely grateful. I invite you to join me in celebrating the remarkable impact of LALDEF’s services this year. It is an honor to share with you this year’s Impact Report. Happy reading! Sasa Olessi Montaño President, Board of Trustees

For more information about LALDEF's Board of Trustees, please see pages 17-18.

ED CORNER 2021 presented LALDEF with a year of excitement and growth. We are delighted to share with you our 2021 Impact Report. This report demonstrates our work, our mission, and how the consolidation of our services helps make a difference in our community. In April 2021, I stepped into the position of Executive Director at LALDEF. My personal passion is to empower this community to selfsufficiency and connect individuals with valuable resources. My heart is with the community. I rejoice in the positive impact of organizations like LALDEF. To know that you have made a difference in somebody’s life is everything. I have seen the struggles people go through to make it to the United States. I was born and raised in El Salvador. People immigrate hoping to fulfill their dreams of a better life. They sacrifice a lot to get here, often leaving family and friends behind. It is certainly not easy to leave all of that behind. They often come because they feel they have no choice, and, having faced numerous barriers in their home countries, it can be hard for them to imagine what additional challenges they might face in the United States. I love supporting clients in overcoming those challenges and working with them to improve their lives. I love being a part of LALDEF, where we as an organization get to help clients achieve the American dream. Cecy Jimenez-Weeast Executive Director


IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES LALDEF’s immigration legal services are dedicated to supporting immigrants in Mercer County as they navigate the legal systems that lead to permanent status in the United States. We are particularly focused on ensuring that the most vulnerable can secure low-cost legal aid.

We cover...


Filing of applications for

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

naturalization & citizenship

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Deferred Action for Childhood


Arrivals (DACA)

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Adjustment of status


Renewals of green cards and

U Visas for victims of crime

work permits

T Visas for human trafficking victims

In 2021, we worked on approximately

We provided



immigration legal cases

free legal consultations

Ed Fenwick LALDEF Legal Services Volunteer

This year, out of hundreds of nominations, LALDEF legal services volunteer Ed Fenwick was selected as the one individual identified to receive a Medal for the 2021 NJ State Governor's Jefferson Awards, in recognition of his outstanding volunteer work at LALDEF and Solidaridad Central New Jersey. Fenwick works alongside LALDEF staff to cover DACA applications, work permit renewals, SIJS (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status), citizenship applications, and more. As a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative, Ed is able to accompany clients to naturalization interviews.

LALDEF’s Legal Services Coordinator, Shelly Peskin, applied for accreditation by the Board of Immigration Appeals in summer 2021, which would allow her to represent clients on her own, without needing attorney review on USCIS applications. Her application is currently processing.

"My name is Saybah, and I was born in Liberia, West Africa. I have worked for the state of New Jersey as a nursing assistant for over four years now. When I had problems with my husband, I asked for help everywhere, but I couldn’t find any affordable options for legal assistance. Then someone from Womanspace put me in touch with LALDEF’s legal team. LALDEF stepped up. One staff member traveled through a snowstorm to deliver my paperwork on time. Thanks to LALDEF, I have now received my green card." -Saybah, LALDEF client Fall 2021


MERCER COUNTY AREA COMMUNITY ID CARDS LALDEF's Mercer County Area Community 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

We issued

690 ID cards in 2021




"FUTURO is like a family.” -Jaime, FUTURO student 6

PROMOTING HEALTH EQUITY IN OUR COMMUNITY Linguistic barriers, fear, and misinformation all contribute to health inequities in the Latino community—including higher mortality rates from COVID-19. This year, LALDEF staff have been busy spreading quality, bilingual information about COVID-19 and improving access to vaccinations in our community. Between March and December 2021, with support from Henry J. Austin Health Center, the Trenton Department of Health, and Catholic Charities, Trenton Diocese, LALDEF hosted thirteen (13) vaccination events at our headquarters in Trenton.

LALDEF's Nov. 6 vaccination event




COVID-19 vaccinations

Influenza vaccinations

In collaboration with Catholic Charities, Trenton Diocese, we now host a bilingual Virtual Exam Room at our headquarters in Trenton— offering our clients a safe space to meet with a healthcare provider for free. LALDEF also hosted two health fairs and 10 health-related webinars in 2021.

LALDEF's September 2021 Health Fair

"I am a single mom from Guatemala, and I have been living in Trenton for the past 21 years. LALDEF has helped me and my four kids a lot over the years, especially with healthcare. When my family experienced a medical emergency, LALDEF stepped right up in connecting us with healthcare options. The people at LALDEF make my family feel welcomed and are always willing to help, no matter the situation. I want to thank LALDEF for everything it's done. May God bless the people who work to help our community." -Josefina, LALDEF client Fall 2021

This work is funded by the CDC Foundation and supported by the New Jersey Department of Health, Family Services. Funding for this effort is made possible through a subaward from the CDC Foundation and is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) financial assistance award totaling $20,000,000 with 100 percent funding from CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government. 8 LALDEF also thanks the Integra Foundation and the Princeton Area Community Foundation for their support of this initiative.

CLIENT ADVOCACY Client advocates assist community members with a variety of concerns, including ID's, unemployment, food stamps, housing, and much more.





Cases in which Client Advocates answered questions about driver's licenses, taxes, healthcare, child support, and more

Notarizations of documents to facilitate access to driver's licenses in our community

Translations of birth certificates, identification documents, and more

ADULT EDUCATION LALDEF's Adult Education programs strive to improve the lives of clients by empowering them through education. Increased knowledge of the English language can break down barriers to employment and education; the acquisition of a high school equivalency diploma can open countless doors for clients; and Driver's Education and Citizenship courses help clients pass the New Jersey Driver's Test and the USCIS Citizenship exam.

COURSE OFFERINGS: English as a Second Language (ESL) courses High School Equivalency (HSE) Preparation Driver's Education workshops Citizenship Exam Preparation

184 Student Nayeli Jacinto (right) recieves diploma for ESL Level 1 course from volunteer teacher Jeidy Cepeda (left). Clients served through Adult Education in 2021

"I moved to the United States from Costa Rica. Immigrants are vulnerable when they don’t have the correct information, and then there are people out there who abuse this vulnerability. It has been a difficult journey for me, but in my search to learn and study English, I found LALDEF. Learning English has opened doors in my life, allowing me not only to communicate better but also to connect with my children, who were born and raised here in the United States. At LALDEF, you will meet people that want to help improve the lives of immigrants. LALDEF put this seed in my heart: ‘you can do it.’” -Anonymous LALDEF client, Fall 2021


SPECIAL EVENTS Debit Card Giveaway

In March and April 2021, thanks to contributions from the NJ Pandemic Relief Fund, LALDEF distributed debit cards to 87 families who were deeply impacted by the pandemic but not eligible to receive unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, or other types of federal and distributed to families during state assistance.


the Debit Card Giveaway

Clothing Drive

Toy Drive

In October 2021, in collaboration with the College of New Jersey United Greek Council, LALDEF distributed clothing to community members in need.

In December 2021, thanks to donations from Lawrence Prep., LALDEF distributed toys to children in the community.

114 Attendees

Backpack Giveaway In September 2021, LALDEF distributed 66 backpacks and sets of school supplies to 30 families. Materials were donated by Rev. Karen Hernandez of Westminster Presbyterian Church.


66 Backpacks and sets of school supplies distributed

58 Gifts distributed

FINANCIAL OVERVIEW* Revenue and Support in 2021

Total revenue and support in 2021: $1,180,082

Total Assets Through the Years

2018 assets include donations made toward the purchase of Casa de Bienvenida. 12

2021 Expenses

Total Expenses Growth, Year After Year

*Reflects a fiscal year from July 1 - June 30. 13


INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS $5,000+ David R. and Patricia D. Atkinson Foundation Jane Buttars Connolly Taft Family Charitable Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation Elias Foundation on behalf of Anastasia Mann Patricia Fernandez-Kelly & Alejandro Portes

Richard & Peggy Greenfield Foundation Lori Martin McAlpin Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation Mithun Family Foundation The Otto Family Advised Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation

Susan Roy Sybill Stokes Linda von Thaden Foundation on behalf of Kimberly Kingsland and Maximillian von Thaden Cynthia Weiss Mitsuru Yasuhara

Mary Bertino Mary Blair Jason Scott Camilo David & Elizabeth Cohen William & Angela Creager Javier & Pilar Daly Dale Davis Dawn Day Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation Victoria DiMella & Robert DiMella Paul and Anne Disdier Fund Mark & Amy Dodds Dr. Mark Engel & Isabel Kentengian Susan Fiske & Douglas Massey

Gareth Funka-Lea Suzanne Gespass & David Dobkin Andrew & Carol Golden James Gregoire Prof. Gene & Dr. Jean Grossman William & Aline Haynes John & Mary Heilner Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen Jamie Hewitt & Ralph Walker Landon & Sarah Jones Family Fund Amy Kimura & Thomas Griffith Robert C. Kuser Jr. Jonathan Lear David Long & Alice St. Claire

Michele Minter & Jeffrey Yuan Maureen O’Neill Diane Paulsell Ellen & Thomas Petrone Arturo & Lourdes Pizano Kira Popescu Rev. Michael & Elena Reed Christopher Skinner & Kimberly Kracman Frances Slade Richard Sperry Patricia & Frank Von Hippel Xuming Xu Isabel Zisk

Daniel Harris Estate Sybill Stokes Estate Ann & Mitsuru Yasuhara Estate 14

Adriana Abizadeh Thomas Baker Rachelle Bin David Bocian Hilary Brown & Charles Read John & Melanie Clarke Paul DiMaggio & Carol Ann Mason

David Abalos, PhD & Celia Dorantes Abalos Lucia Acosta & Jorge Sarmiento Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez David N. Adler Janet E Atler-Smith Kenny Alvarado Edgar Lopez Anaya David Anderson Russell Annich Andres Arroyo Otto Arroyo Lauren Barlow Zonia Lopez Barrientos Elba Barzelatto Francesca Benson & George Cody George & Sandra Bermann Emily Bivona Martin Bloomenthal Dr. Franklin & Phyllis Bocian Emily Bowen Naomi Brahinsky Carlos Brody Patrick & Mary Caddeau James Caffarello Adrian Romero Campos Michelle Cash Roberto Celis Caleb Chacha Dr. Tara A. Chalakani Joe Chencharik Gregory Cherlin Peter Lindenfeld & Mary Clurman Susan & Alan Cohen Matthew Collier Jenny & Jonathan Crumiller Barbara Cuneo Susan Darley Martha Davidson Alison Deen Erin Delaney Kari de Leon Douglass Derry Edward Deutsch Brigid Doherty Mary Helen Donovan Betty Ann Duggan & Paula Mirsky

Theodore & Jane Fetter Leticia Fraga & Steven Nadler Noreen Goldman Kingsland Family Fund at Philanthropi Michael Kingston Donald & Nancy Light Carol & Richard Ober

Helen & Robert Duncan Clare Eggers Jose & Daniela Erazo Keelan & James Evanini Ana Fallas Kristine Flynn Julie Fox & Steven Gates and the Greenview Ecology Fund Emely Galeano Jenora Gallego Pamela Simon Gazel Elizabeth Gibson Linda & John Gilmore Donald Gilpin Lorraine Goodman Suzin Green Michael Gribbin Clara Haignere & Rex Potter Dosier Hammond The Emily & John Harvey Foundation Valerie Haynes Ellen Heath Alexander Heilner & Amy Scott Patricia & Adolfo Herst Samuel Hewitt Angelica Hicks Toby F Israel Ravdeep Jaidka Maricela Jimenez Pascual Jimenez Ruiz Mary & Robert Jones William & Molly Jones Michele Kaish Stanley & Adria Katz William Kearney Mia Kiyashka Dr. Ruth Knighton Dana Krug Anne LaBate Melissa Lane E Read Langan Michael Lapp & Claire Fowler Darmakusuma & Elizabeth Le Elizabeth Lempert & Ken Norman Louise Lennihan Steve Lestition Suzanne Levin & Leon Rosenson

Jeremy Perlman Steven & Suzanne Peskin William Robins Mark & Judy Sarvary Stephen Slusher & Jon Carl Lewis Deborah J Yashar

Ryan Lilienthal Ronnie Lowenstein Terry Lyons and the Lyons-Ochsner Charitable Fund Roger Martindell Wendy Matthews Amy J. Mayer Melinda McAleer Mariana Mendes Isabelle Mendoza Monika Mevenkamp Richard & Judy Meyer Higinio Gilberto Gomez Morales Sasa Olessi Montaño & Abelardo Montaño Alyse Mordoh-Sciarrotta Pedro Moreno Richard H. Morgan Matthew Morton Drew and Marie Nye Robert & Ana Obika Martin Oppenheimer & Hannah Fink Roshun Pai Kirk Palmer Elizabeth & Alan Paluck Jhasmany Saavedra Pantoja Kelsea Paradis Dee Patberg Robert & Katherine Patten Lucas Pena Cristian A. Peña Recinos Alesia Pilgrim Lauren Pilgrim Laura Pollack Frances Prestianni Barbara & Harry Purnell Susan & Jose Quiles Jennifer Rampling Anne Reeves Hope Redmond Jonathan Reischl Daniel & Mary Reynolds Luis Angel Mercado Rivera David Robidoux Carlos Rojas Bailey Roos

Robert Rosen Orlin Hernandez Ruiz Peggy Saavedra Kenneth Samoil Carolyn Powell Sanderson & George B. Sanderson Moses Santizo Alfred Santo Robert Schapire Rev. Nancy Schluter Bruce & Irene Schragger Jennifer Sierra Barbara Silberstein Dustin Singleton Ava Shirazi Karen Smith Leah Snyder Deborah Stec Melanie Z. Strub Donald Stryker & Diane Gruenberg Jacob Sundstrom Geeta T Leesy Taggart Abdolreza Tahvildar-Zadeh Patricia & William Tanner Marietta & Joseph Taylor Rolando Torres Jr. Victoria Tredinnick Cesar Leonardo Vallecillo Vega Richard van den Heuvel & Dawn van Heuvel Genevieve Vaughn Ann Vaurio Karen Ve Nicholas Vossbrink & Rosina Lozano Jim Waltman Judith Weisenfeld Caron Wendell Alan & Clarissa Willemsen Susan N. Wilson Elizabeth Young Jennifer Young

Donors for the last 18 months as of December 31, 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 15


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 16

LALDEF TEAM OUR STAFF Cecy Jimenez-Weeast, Executive Director Rosmery Almonte-Valoy, Client Advocate & Community Health Worker Miranda Christ, Director of Development and Communications Carolina Curbelo, Esq., Supervising Attorney Caty Dominguez, Client Advocate & Community Health Worker Graciela Leal, Office Manager Laura Leal, Community Organizer & Community Health Worker Kadeem Neill, Community Health Worker Ana Obika, FUTURO Program Coordinator Erika Perez, Front Desk Receptionist Shelly Peskin, Legal Services Coordinator Nate Philips, Adult Education Programs Manager

In 2021, Pete Taft was elected Chair of LALDEF's Board of Trustees. Taft is best known as the co-founder and CEO of Taft Communications. He shaped his worldview working for Ford Foundation-funded criminal justice journals, writing for The New York Times, pursuing graduate studies in journalism and later in theology, and serving as communications director for the New Jersey Department of Labor. Pete has served as member of numerous nonprofit boards, deputy mayor of East Amwell Township, and elder at the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church. He joined the LALDEF Board of Trustees in 2019. 2021 LALDEF staff party


Also in 2021, Sasa Olessi Montaño was elected Board President. Sasa is an eminent community leader and activist, currently serving as CEO of Meals on Wheels of Mercer County. She is a past president of the Trenton School Board and adjunct professor at Rider University. Sasa has held various leadership positions within the Mercer County and Trenton City governments, and she is the founder of Latinas Unidas, a program that supports and empowers immigrant families. Sasa joined the LALDEF Board of Trustees in 2020. Taft takes on Chairman responsibilities from long-serving Patricia Fernández-Kelly, who led the organization for the last 13 years. Fernández-Kelly remains active as a member of LALDEF’s Board as a Trustee, as well as continuing to provide guidance for her signature initiative, FUTURO FAMILIA, which provides a forum for parents and caretakers of students in LALDEF’s high impact youth mentoring program. “Although Patricia has stepped down as Chair, she will continue to provide guidance, wisdom, and her superb diplomatic skills to LALDEF,” Taft remarked. “The last 13 years have been an amazing adventure, as I have watched LALDEF grow from a small grass-roots agency to a thriving nonprofit with a dedicated Board, professionalized staff, and the ability to serve more people each year,” said former Board Chair Patricia Fernández-Kelly. “The new slate of Board officers—along with our newly elected Trustees—are sure to take LALDEF to even new heights.” LALDEF also welcomed four new Board members in 2021: Jason Scott Camilo, Esq., Dr. Rachael Evans, Valeria Posso-González, and Richard Sperry—along with Miguel Centeno and Alberto Vourvoulias, who joined LALDEF’s Board in 2020. Welcome to the team!

OUR BOARD OF TRUSTEES Pete Taft, Chair Sasa Olessi Montaño, President Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen, Vice-Chair Jonathan Lear, Treasurer David Long, Secretary David Anderson Jason Scott Camilo, Esq. Miguel Centeno

John Heilner* Dr. Rachael Evans Patricia Fernández-Kelly Valeria Posso-González Susan Roy Richard Sperry Alberto Vourvoulias

*John Heilner stepped down from the Board in 2021. Thank you for your service!


ABOUT US Founded in 2004, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) is a not-for-profit social impact organization headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey. Our mission 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 intercultural communication to strengthen our communities. The organization’s programs fall into two key areas: (1) immigration legal services and (2) community outreach/education, which includes client advocacy, adult education, youth mentoring and development, and more.

CONTACT US 714-716 S. Clinton Ave. Trenton, NJ 08611 (609) 688-0881 www.laldef.org




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