2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

Learn More & Apply

News

Equal Justice Works Disaster Resilience Program Receives a Total of $1.44 Million in Grants to Help Communities Recover From Disasters and Build Disaster Resilience

/ Press Release

The grant from the American Red Cross will mobilize Fellows to help low-income communities in Florida recover from Hurricane Ian.  

The grant provided by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy will provide aid for communities affected by hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico, specifically those affected by Hurricanes Ian and Fiona.  

The grant from the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative will aim to deliver direct legal services and advance systemic change to ensure that legal services are equitably accessible to immigrant populations in Houston. 

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28, 2024—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, has been awarded a total of $1.44 million in grants by the American Red Cross, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), and the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative to provide legal aid to communities impacted by hurricanes and humanitarian crises through the organization’s Disaster Resilience Program, which mobilizes lawyers in areas that have been affected by disasters. 

“We are grateful to the American Red Cross, CDP, and the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative for their generous continued support of our program,” said Linda Anderson Stanley, Director of Fellowships at Equal Justice Works. “From Florida and Puerto Rico to Texas and beyond, our nation is facing increasing threats to our climate. Through this partnership, we’re able to equip the communities most impacted with access to a lawyer to overcome barriers to recovery and secure their wellbeing.”

From Florida and Puerto Rico to Texas and beyond, our nation is facing increasing threats to our climate. Through this partnership, we're able to equip the communities most impacted with access to a lawyer to overcome barriers to recovery and secure their wellbeing.

Linda Anderson Stanley /
Director of Fellowships at Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works has developed targeted programs to mobilize lawyers to support disaster-affected communities since 2005. The organization launched its award-winning Disaster Resilience Program in 2020, placing six Fellows (lawyers) and six Student Fellows (law students) at legal services organizations in Texas and Florida to address the critical legal needs that communities face before, during, and after a disaster. Since then, the program has hosted 40 additional attorney Fellows who have advocated for communities that were affected by incidents such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, COVID-19, humanitarian crises, and other disasters across the states of Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, and Tennessee. 

The grant from the American Red Cross mobilized three Fellows to provide low-income communities in Florida with the legal aid they need in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.  

Hurricane Ian caused one of the largest insured losses in Florida—only second to Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of impacted individuals are in the process of seeking money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to aid in their recoveries, also leading to an increased need for legal assistance filing FEMA appeals, amongst a myriad of other legal needs. 

The Fellows below work to provide free, comprehensive, and responsive legal aid in Florida, especially in low-income communities.  

“Legal aid is a consistent need we see after disasters of all kinds. Funding these types of projects is critical to a community’s recovery,” said Robert Sofaly, director of Hurricane Ian Long-Term Recovery at the American Red Cross. “We are grateful for the work Equal Justice Works is doing to support recovery in Florida.” 

Legal aid is a consistent need we see after disasters of all kinds. Funding these types of projects is critical to a community's recovery.

Robert Sofaly /
Director of Hurricane Ian Long-Term Recovery at the American Red Cross

The grant from CDP will support the second year of the three Fellows—listed above—in Florida and one Fellow in Puerto Rico to provide legal assistance for communities impacted by Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Florence. These storms left sustained damage in communities throughout Florida and Puerto Rico. Hurricane Fiona caused significant flooding and a widespread power blackout in Puerto Rico. The impact of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian remains evident in remote communities. 

The Fellows funded by this grant will provide direct legal services to communities in Florida and Puerto Rico that have been affected by hurricanes and share tools to ensure that these communities remain resilient. The three Fellows listed above will work with Floridian communities to continue providing legal aid for those affected by Hurricane Ian, and the Fellow listed below will provide legal assistance for Puerto Rican communities affected by Hurricane Fiona. 

 “Many communities affected by disasters need legal assistance on the long, complex road to recovery,” said Kristina Moore, senior director of marketing and communications at CDP. “CDP is pleased to support Equal Justice Works’ efforts in Florida and Puerto Rico to help Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Fiona survivors recover stronger.” 

CDP is pleased to support Equal Justice Works’ efforts in Florida and Puerto Rico to help Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Fiona survivors recover stronger.

Kristina Moore /
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at CDP

The grant from the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative mobilized three Fellows to deliver direct legal services and advance systemic change to ensure that legal services are equitably accessible to immigrant communities in Houston in areas such as immigration, housing, and workplace exploitation, while also helping them build resilience to protect their futures. 

Fellows funded by this grant have customized their projects to the needs of the host organization and the communities that they serve. Their work focuses on fortifying the legal protections that fail many during humanitarian crises and advancing equity in the distribution of resources. 

“Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative is proud to partner with Equal Justice Works to grow the pipeline of immigration lawyers who help secure immigration protection and obtain citizenship for immigrants in Greater Houston,” said Zenobia Lai, Executive Director of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative. “We want to express our gratitude to Houston Endowment for making these fellowships possible.” 

Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative is proud to partner with Equal Justice Works to grow the pipeline of immigration lawyers who help secure immigration protection and obtain citizenship for immigrants in Greater Houston.

Zenobia Lai /
Executive Director of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative

The Disaster Resilience Program is currently funded by the American Red Cross, Arkansas Community Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Danaher Foundation. 

#### 

About Equal Justice Works 

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, nonprofit legal aid organizations, and supporters to promote public service and inspire a lifelong commitment to equal justice. 

About the American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on social media. 

About the Center for Disaster Philanthropy 

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy mobilizes philanthropy to strengthen communities’ ability to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur. It provides expert advice and resources while managing domestic and international disaster funds on behalf of corporations, foundations and individuals through targeted, holistic and localized grantmaking. Find out more at disasterphilanthropy.org and on LinkedIn. 

About the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative 

The vision of Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative is to co-create a vibrant and resilient ecosystem where all immigrants, migrants, and refugees belong. We are committed to improving the lives of immigrants in the Greater Houston region by forging a path toward inclusive and equitable support. Our mission is built on four core principles: holistic legal services capacity, equitable access to services, amplified voices, and catalyzed ecosystems.  

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow