The Excellence Award in Advocacy recognizes a nonprofit organization whose work has recently affected significant public policy change through the education and mobilization of constituents, the general public, or public policy decision makers.

The finalists for the Excellence Award in Advocacy are:

Equal Justice Coalition

Equal Justice CoalitionThe Equal Justice Coalition (EJC) is a collaboration created by the Massachusetts Bar Association, Boston Bar Association, and Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. Since 1999, EJC has provided a unified voice for civil legal aid in Massachusetts, spearheading an annual advocacy campaign to protect the state appropriation for civil legal aid funding that is distributed to 14 programs that provide legal advice and representation to low-income individuals and families in civil cases. The EJC includes representatives from bar associations, law firms, and legal services programs across the Commonwealth. In 2015, EJC launched a new advocacy program, diversifying and enhancing its message and advocacy tools. Over the last two years, the civil legal aid line item in the state budget has received a 20% increase in funding.

Jane Doe Inc.

Jane Doe Inc.Jane Doe Inc. (JDI) is social justice statewide coalition that is creating a world free of abuse. JDI strives to create change by addressing the root causes of sexual and domestic violence and promoting justice, safety, and healing for survivors. The coalition’s programmatic priorities include public policy and systems advocacy, prevention and movement building, membership services, economic empowerment, training, and education. JDI’s member programs provide advocacy and support to tens of thousands of survivors in the Commonwealth each year. Guided by the voices of survivors, the coalition’s mission is to bring together organizations and people committed to ending sexual and domestic violence. JDI initiated the Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign to promote equity, respect, and compassion as a strategy to foster safety, justice, and healing for survivors, accountability for offenders, and safer communities.

Teens Leading the Way

Teens Leading The WayTeens Leading the Way (TLTW) is a statewide, youth led organization that seeks to empower young people to create lasting change through policymaking. TLTW provides healthy alternatives to street violence, seeks solutions to issues important to youth, and kick-starts a lifetime of civic involvement. Youth leaders undergo training in policymaking and develop advocacy action plans to address issues that concern them and their peers. TLTW was founded in 2004 by the Public Policy Institute and Health Care For All. Since then, TLTW has brought together youth from across the Commonwealth to impact statewide policies on mental health, civics education, and most recently criminal justice reform. Last summer, as a direct result of the organizers’ efforts, the State Senate passed a comprehensive juvenile justice bill, which included the TLTW youth’s expungement language.


IMG_1881WATCH CDC works towards a more just community in the Waltham area by promoting affordable housing, providing adult education and leadership development, and empowering underrepresented residents through civic engagement. WATCH seeks to create a community in which all residents, including low and middle income, immigrant, and others who are traditionally disadvantaged or removed from existing power structures, have a voice. They seek to ensure all residents can influence decisions so that social decisions benefit the whole community and not just a few. Through WATCH’s advocacy efforts, a $2.1 million Rental Voucher Program was implemented in Waltham, and in February 2017 over 500 applications were submitted to the Waltham Housing Authority for this program.