Since launching in 2014, Project Citizenship has specialized in helping permanent residents in Massachusetts and beyond overcome barriers to U.S. citizenship. Each year, thousands of Massachusetts residents eligible to become citizens never apply. The need for free, professional legal services to guide people through the citizenship process is evident and the demand has grown significantly, especially after 2016.
Pro bono lawyers from elite Boston law firms, Department of Justice (DOJ) accredited staff and AmeriCorps volunteers at Project Citizenship have represented thousands of clients from around the world. Many of our clients believed citizenship was unattainable due to factors such as a one hundred question English and Civics test, costly processing fees or a disability. After visiting either of Project Citizenship’s offices in Boston’s Quincy Market, regular workshops we organize in the greater Boston area, or at popular events like Citizenship Day which have been cosponsored by the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, our clients quickly learned that citizenship and the benefits it provides are in reach.
Though it was officially launched in 2014, Project Citizenship’s roots date back to 2011 with the support of the Fish Family Foundation which is deeply committed to serving immigrant communities. A collaboration of six community partners offering comprehensive social services for immigrants including citizenship services, the Greater Boston Citizenship Initiative, came together with the support of the Fish Family Foundation. Together, they focused on how to best increase naturalization rates throughout the state. Between 2011 and 2014, the Initiative grew both in its number of partners and geographic scope.
A strategic planning process in 2014 paved the way for a nonprofit organization focused solely on citizenship services that could also guide these organizations to offer citizenship services with best practices. Through its evolving community partnerships, Project Citizenship gained deep insights into the wider net of existing citizenship services throughout Massachusetts. A full list of 2018 partners can be found here: https://projectcitizenship.org/about-us/partners/.
As Project Citizenship focuses 100% of its attention and resources on the urgent need of helping eligible become U.S. citizens, it will continue to offer its expertise and support to community partners. Since its inception, Project Citizenship has doubled revenue from private and public foundations. Project Citizenship’s dedicated full-time staff, pro bono legal partners and expansive volunteer force of almost 1,000 trained volunteers to date in 2018 have made it possible to help over 4,200 immigrants apply for U.S. citizenship with a 95% success rate.
Project Citizenship was selected as a 2017 Social Innovation Forum Innovator and is a Department of Justice recognized nonprofit organization.
2017 Social Innovation Forum innovator
2017 Nonprofit Partner Award from Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association
2015 Massachusetts Service and Volunteerism Award for Outstanding Corporate-Nonprofit Partnership with Goodwin Procter
2015 Recognition Award from Agencia ALPHA