Share |

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

 44 School Street, Room 415
 Boston, MA 02108
[P] (617) 482-8686
[F] (617) 482-9111
Joan Meschino
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3235179

LAST UPDATED: 05/23/2015
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

To identify and develop innovative and collaborative solutions to legal problems not currently being addressed by the public or private sectors, such as educating homeless children, keeping kids in school, and reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency.

Mission Statement

To identify and develop innovative and collaborative solutions to legal problems not currently being addressed by the public or private sectors, such as educating homeless children, keeping kids in school, and reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2013 to Dec 31, 2013
Projected Income $250,000.00
Projected Expense $270,400.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Keep Kids In Class: School to Prison Pipeline

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

To identify and develop innovative and collaborative solutions to legal problems not currently being addressed by the public or private sectors, such as educating homeless children, keeping kids in school, and reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency.

Background Statement

MA Appleseed is part of a non-profit network of 17 public interest justice centers in the United States and /Mexico.  The centers work both collectively and independently to build a society in which opportunities are genuine, access to the law is universal and equal, and government advances the public interest.  The idea for what is now the Appleseed network began in 1993 when members of Harvard Law School Class of 1958 voted to establish the Appleseed Foundation.  Its founders sought to develop a new approach to pro bono legal organizations, one that focused on broad systemic social initiatives rather than on the traditional provision of legal services to individuals.  This vision grew out of the idea that the best way to achieve big results is to work for the kind of change that levels the playing field and transforms entire communities at a time.  The Appleseed centers identify and address issues particular to their communities and then connect with private practice lawyers, corporate counsel, law schools, civic leaders, and other professionals to tackle these difficult social problems at their root cause.  The Appleseed Foundation is now one of the nation's largest legal pro bono networks.  The Appleseed Foundation and the Massachusetts Appleseed Center were both incorporate on the same day in 1994.

Impact Statement

MA Appleseed had great success in 2012 in program development and fundraising.  MA Appleseed is now a forward-funded organization.  Financial stability was achieved through 100% board giving, a successful fundraising event, and a more aggressive annual appeal. 
 Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.  In 2012, MA Appleseed created a new project on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.  MA Appleseed was named to the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.  In addition to the success of being named to the Special Commission, MA Appleseed hosted the conference, Targeted Interventions:  Meeting the Needs of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, in November, 2012.  Appleseed assembled approximately 100 direct service providers, policymakers, and advocates to address the policy barriers that exist when trying to help, serve, and work with unaccompanied homeless youth. 
Keep Kids In Class.   MA Appleseed had meaninful progress with its project, Keep Kids In Class.  With the help of pro bono counsel from Goodwin Procter, MA Appleseed published the school discipline data report in January, 2012.  The report concludes that schools should move away from zero tolerance as such policies imperil children, pushing them out of school and onto the streets.  MA Appleseed hosted a successful conference in Boston on building positive school climates.  In 2013, MA Appleseed will be writing two reports on the findings of the Special Commission for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, presenting them to Governor Patrick in March and December.  Appleseed will be developing the Juvenile Justice Data Project which follows up with findings from Appleseed's judicial survey as well as research conducted over the summer regarding status offenses.  Through juvenile court data collection, MA Appleseed will determine if schools are increasingly relying on the court to handle school discipline issues and will look at delinquency and status offense data.  MA Appleseed will also replicate its school climate conference in western, MA. 

Needs Statement

  1. Staff support.  As Appleseed experiences rapid growth, additional staff is needed to support our projects.  Appleseed needs a). a full-time policy director to create and organize the policy and research agenda b) two policy research associates to assist with research  and c) two advocacy coordinators to attend community meetings, participate in constituent engagement, and advocate for our proposed solutions and implementation. 
  2. Additional office space to accommodate growing staff.
  3. Access to social science research.
  4. Geographical and racial diversity among the board. 
  5. Grant funding to support to support Appleseed's expanding programs.  MA Appleseed has not applied for grant funding in five years.  Appleseed's funding has been solely dependent on our signature fundraising event and our annual appeal. 

CEO Statement

I have been the Executive Director of Massachusetts Appleseed for five years.  During my tenure MA Appleseed has developed two high-profile signature projects.  In 2014, Appleseed will celebrating its 20th anniversary.
At MA Appleseed we view our organization as the policy arm of direct service providers who aid high-risk and marginalized populations.  Appleseed identifies gaps in services on cutting edge issues such as the school-to-prison pipeline and unaccompanied homeless youth.  Part of one of the nation's largest pro bono networks, MA Appleseed harnesses the legal resources of Boston's top law firms to develop systemic solutions to social justice issues effecting the bay state.  We don't just call for change, we make change happen!
At MA Appleseed:
  • We believe that systemic reform is a powerful advocacy strategy for effecting broad-scale solutions to issues that prevent equal treatment for all.
  • We identify issues that have not been fully addressed by either public or private sectors and offer solutions which promote self-sufficiency for Massachusetts communities and residents.
  • We are independent, non-partisan and objective.  We take a position on an issue only after thoroughly researching it from all sides.
  • We leverage our lean budget by cultivating significant pro bono support from law firms, accountants, and other professionals, allowing our active board and dedicated staff to accomplish significantly more work in shorter periods of time.
  • We work closely with community stake holders to gather input, garner support and build consensus around proposed solutions and their implementation.


Board Chair Statement

I am a business lawyer, dedicated to community service and social justice.  Earlier in my career, I pursued these ideals through focused attention on individuals.  I served as a big brother during college through my first years of practice, worked at Somerville immigration law clinic during law school, and fought in court to protect a mentally troubled teacher's health information from disclosure by his employer.  As I gained a broader understanding of various social justice issues and their intersection, I turned my attention to broader, more systemic efforts at change.  As an associate, I worked with the ACLU of Illinois to draft Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court challenging the City of Chicago's anti-loitering law.  When I returned to Boston after six years in Chicago, I became involved with the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, of which I am now Chairman of the Board.  I originally got involved with Appleseed as a ground-level volunteer on its Juvenile Court Mentoring Project.  Appleseed established a program where judges were given the option of pairing young people in the jurisdiction of the juvenile court with a mentor through Big Brother of Massachusetts, as an alternative to more punitive measures.  As Appleseed continued its focus on zero tolerance and access to education, I was delighted to expand my role from the ground level to the board room.  Over the past five years, the board of directors has grown Appleseed into a sustainable, forward-funded organization with two high-profile projects.  This transformation was achieved through board development and refinement of the executive directorship.  The board has doubled in size with members who have a wealth of experience in law, finance, management, program development, and fundraising.  In 2007, the board revised the role of Appleseed's executive director and hired a professional with a strong legal background and considerable  advocacy, management, and fundraising experience.  The board and the new executive director collaborated on creating two signature projects, Keep Kids In Class and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.  Appleseed now faces the challenge of sustaining its rapid and growing success.  As a named member to Massachusetts' Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, and a lead advocate for reforming the zero tolerance policy in schools, Appleseed finds itself tasked with developing staff and program support to meet the needs of its burgeoning project achievements.  For the first time in five years, Appleseed is actively seeking grant funding.

Geographic Area Served


MA Appleseed has focused most of its projects on Suffolk, Middlesex, and Essex County.  We are currently seeking ways to expand our program work into central and western Massachusetts.

Organization Categories

  1. Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy - Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis
  2. Public & Societal Benefit - Alliances & Advocacy
  3. Education - Alliances & Advocacy

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Keep Kids In Class: School to Prison Pipeline

MA Appleseed is examining the intersection of school discipline and zero tolerance.  Excluded students are likely to be male, poor, or receiving special education; a disproportionate number are Latino or African-American.  A majority of these excluded students are at greater risk for delinquent behavior and incarceration.  Appleseed will be examining Chapter 222: An Act Relative to Students' Access to Educational Services and Exclusion from School.  Appleseed will study communities' alternative education models and then share these best practices widely with our policymakers, our educators, and our families and communities.  Appleseed will replicate its successful conference on School climate in western Massachusetts.  Appleseed will also update its Parent Guide to School Discipline, translate into multiple languages, and disseminate it widely.
Budget  $53,286.00
Category  Education, General/Other Education Policy Programs
Population Served At-Risk Populations K-12 (5-19 years) Minorities
Program Short-Term Success 
Conference- A dialogue is developed among western MA education stakeholders, policymakers, parents, and school districts about positive school climate.  Action pathways on school climate are created.
Parent Guide to School Discipline- Parents of a child expelled from school are able to use Appleseed's Parent Guide to help them advocate for an appeal, and assist them in finding alternative education while their child is excluded from school.
Chapter 222: An Act Relative to Student's Access to Educational Services and Exclusion from School- By educating communities in MA on Chapter 222, Appleseed helps communities prioritize the development of alternative education programs.
Program Long-Term Success 
  1. Implementation of alternative education programs in all communities.
  2. Consideration of the student's intent in school discipline.  Was the student's behavior "knowing and intentional?"
  3. Creation of alternatives to the zero tolerance policy.
  4. Development of a supportive school climate.
  5. Creation of a more adequate appeals process to ensure reasonable and responsible decision making by school districts.
  6. Improved data collection which will enable accountability at all levels.
  7. Ensuring children are in school where they are safe and supported.
Program Success Monitored By 
Appleseed will montitor and measure success by the number of school districts that we are able to convene around schoool climate and the number of alternative education programs that are created or improved as a result of our trainings on Chapter 222.
Examples of Program Success 
Appleseed visits a school district and educates school superintendents, parents, teachers, and other community stakeholders on Chapter 222.  The school district then implements Chapter 222 and creates supportive and effective alternative education programs.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms Joan Meschino
CEO Term Start Sept 2008
CEO Email
CEO Experience
Joan Mechino joined MA Appleseed in 2008 and brought with her a wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors.  Joan is an experienced healthcare attorney, having worked in private practice and with both Partners Healthcare System and Private Healthcare Systems, Inc.  Joan is a leader in the legal community as well as in her local community.  She serves on the Massachusetts Bar Association's Access to Justice Section Council and a member of the host committee for women's leadership initiative of the Women's Bar Association.  She recently served two terms on the Board of Selectmen in the Town of Hull.  She continues to serve her local community on the Metropolitan Area Planning Council's Executive Committee.  Joan received her JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly Pierce Law).  She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 1
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually


Board Chair Mr Michael S. D'Orsi
Board Chair Company Affiliation Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP
Board Chair Term May 2011 - May 2013
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Kristin T. Abati Choate Hall & Stewart LLP Voting
Mr. John E. Alessi Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP Voting
Mr Warren H. Bacon Greater New Enlgand Minority Supplier Development Council --
Mr. Michael A. Collora Collora LLP --
Ms. Carolyn E. Crowley Eastern Bank Voting
Ms. Sara Goldman Curley Nutter, McLennan & Fish LLP Voting
Mr Michael S. D'Orsi Donnelly, Conroy, & Gelhaar, LLP Voting
Ms. Kristen Graves Committee for Public Counsel Services Voting
Ms. Erin K. Higgins Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch and Ford, LLP Voting
Mr. Christopher P. Hoyle StoneTurn Group LLP Voting
Ms. Amy M. Karp Committee for Public Counsel Services Voting
Ms. Martha Mazzone Fidelity Investments Voting
Mr. James W. McGarry Goodwin Procter LLP Voting
Mr. Christopher M. Morrison Jones Day Voting
Ms. Christine M. Netski Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, PC Voting
Mr. Simon D. Platt StoneTurn Group LLP Voting
Ms. Marinell Rousmaniere EdVestors Voting
Ms. Sara Jane Shanahan Sherin and Lodgen LLP Voting
Ms. Nancy J. Sterling ML Strategies/ Mintz Levin Voting
Mr. Justin J. Wolosz Ropes & Gray LLP Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr John J. Curtin Jr. Bingham McCutchen LLP NonVoting
Mr. Daniel J. Gleason Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP NonVoting
Mr. Herbert P. Gleason Law Office of Herbert P. Gleason NonVoting
Darlington Hicks -- NonVoting
Ms. Patricia R. Hurley Fidelity Investments NonVoting
Mr. Paul-Johan Jean GTC Law Group NonVoting
Mr. Michael B. Keating Foley Hoag LLP NonVoting
Mary Beth Keiller -- NonVoting
Claude G. Lancome Coast and Harbor Associates, Inc. NonVoting
Ms. Renee Landers Suffolk University Law School NonVoting
Mela Lew -- NonVoting
Ms. Carla Moynihan Robinson & Cole LLP NonVoting
Mr. John J. Roddy Roddy, Klein & Ryan NonVoting
Mr. Robert S. Steinberg Kronos Corp NonVoting
Mr. James P. Whitters -- NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 20
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 11
Male: 10
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 50%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 60%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

We are actively seeking to diversify our Massachusetts Appleseed's board professionally, racially, and geographically.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2013 to Dec 31, 2013
Projected Income $250,000.00
Projected Expense $270,400.00
Form 990s

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

Audit Documents

2013 Financial Review

2012 Financial Review

2011 Financial Review

2010 Financial Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $264,715 $197,946 $171,008
Total Expenses $231,790 $198,379 $184,303

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- $140,000 $130,000
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $264,608 $57,535 $40,440
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $107 $411 $568
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $76,418 $95,995 $3,127
Administration Expense $44,166 $32,177 $144,928
Fundraising Expense $111,206 $70,207 $30,248
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $6,000
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.14 1.00 0.93
Program Expense/Total Expenses 33% 48% 2%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 42% 36% 18%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $299,305 $276,616 $299,952
Current Assets $297,715 $269,124 $294,810
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $1,642 $0
Total Net Assets $299,305 $274,974 $299,952

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income plus capital appreciation
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 2.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities inf 163.90 inf

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Appleseed has not applied for a grant in five years and therefore has to not performed a financial audit.  We have performed financial reviews every year.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. 
Please note, for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 specific expense details were obtained from the Form PC documents on file with the state of Massachusetts.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?