The Cambridge Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants (CLDFI, or “The Fund”) is a civic response to the humanitarian crisis facing our immigrant communities and a reaffirmation of our city’s commitment to protecting the rights of our immigrant friends and neighbors. The Fund is the product of a joint effort between the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) and the Mayor’s Office. Officially launched in March 2018 by Mayor Marc McGovern, the CLDFI seeks to support local non-profit legal service providers who represent Cambridge low-income immigrants currently facing or threatened with deportation proceedings. CCF will be distributing $150,000 already pledged by donors as part of a grass-roots campaign launched last spring to carry out the mission of the CLDFI.

Download the Full Request for Proposals (RFP)

Fund Priorities

The Fund will primarily support the capacity of legal service providers to increase legal representation and deportation defense for Cambridge low-income immigrants (residents, workers, and students) currently facing or threatened with deportation proceedings.  The Fund’s emphasis is on cases involving young adults previously protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors/juveniles, and other highly vulnerable persons including victims of trafficking, sexual, and/or domestic violence. The use of funds is to be prioritized as follows:

Priority 1: Immediate Deportation Defense
Legal representation for low-income immigrants who are on a fast-track for removal on an Order of Supervision/GPS with ICE, and those detained by ICE that need to file motions to reopen or petition for a stay of removal with ICE.

Priority 2: Immediate Deportation Defense
Legal representation for low-income immigrants facing a serious risk of removal, including immigrants recently arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or issued Notices to Appear (NTA) for a removal hearing, immigrants released or denied release following an ICE arrest, and immigrants with outstanding removal orders who are likely to be detained under current ICE enforcement priorities and now need to file motions to reopen their closed proceedings in order to avoid deportation.

Priority 3: Protecting Against Threat of Future Deportation
Legal representation for low-income immigrants not currently arrested, detained, or issued an NTA, or who do not have existing removal orders, but who are most vulnerable within the 2017 ICE enforcement priorities and who are eligible for any kind of relief or legal status that, if granted, would avoid deportation in the future.

Funding can also support underserved Boston Inner Core* communities surrounding Cambridge that have significant immigrant populations. Please note that this funding cannot to be used to provide legal defense for immigrants with criminal records for serious offenses such as murder and nonnegligent homicide, rape (legacy & revised), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and arson.

Applicant Eligibility

The Cambridge Legal Defense Fund invites proposals from legal service providers and immigrant support organizations with 501(c)3 status or those that apply through a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor, based in Massachusetts, that meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Organizations serving immigrant individuals and families who are at risk of deportation, with a priority for those who live, work, or go to school in Cambridge, as well as those living in surrounding under-served Inner-Core Boston* communities.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and proven track-record of serving the Cambridge-based immigrant community, particularly those facing deportation proceedings. Eligible organizations must have the capacity to serve those who live, work or study in Cambridge, but do not have to be based in Cambridge.
  • Capacity to provide services to affected immigrants in the Fund’s geographic priority areas.
  • Partnerships with local community-based organizations familiar with or connected to affected populations is a plus.
  • Strong data collection, measurement, and reporting abilities, as the CCF will require tracking and evaluation of the impact of the Fund over the course of the grant period. We are seeking to understand how many people were helped; in what priority area (see Fund Priorities) and category of immigration status; what were the outcomes of the representation (time taken, results etc.); as well as narratives/stories that illustrate what you learned and have implications for – individuals/families, organizations, and the system.

*Inner Core Boston communities include the following: Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Malden, Melrose, Saugus, Revere, Chelsea, Winthrop, Arlington, Belmont, Waltham, Watertown, Newton, Boston, Brookline, Quincy

Application Information

The application deadline is 5:00PM, September 13, 2018.  Applications can be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] or via mail to:

Cambridge Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants
c/o Cambridge Community Foundation
99 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139

The proposal must include the following components to be considered for funding:

  1. Online Proposal Summary Sheet
  2. A statement of agency goals including organization’s track record and impact in providing legal services to relevant populations (please limit to 1 page)
  3. Summary of the specific intervention for which funds are being requested (please limit to 5 pages)
    • Please describe the population you intend to serve including any relevant data, your approach to providing legal support
    • Your network of connections and/or capacity to reach the focus population
    • Goals, activities, expected outcomes, number of people you will serve through this grant
    • A listing of core staff/partners and their roles in the proposed intervention
    • Your capacity to collect, track and report data. How will you measure the program’s success?
  1. IRS determination letter
  2. Most recent audit
  3. A project budget for which funds are being requested
  4. An agency budget for the current year
  5. A list of the organization’s current Board of Directors
  6. A list of other prospective funding sources

Award Information and Schedule of Activities

Estimated number of grants: 3-5 grant awards

Grant size: Up to $50,000 per grant award

Schedule of activities:

  • RFP released: August 14, 2018
  • Grant application deadline: 5:00 PM; September 13, 2018
  • Grant decisions: On or before September 30, 2018
  • Grant period: October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019

For more comprehensive information about the Fund, please download the full RFP.

Please contact Gwyn Gallagher, CCF Director of Grantmaking & Operations if you have any questions:
[email protected]
617 576-9966