2019 Community Impact Awards, Nonprofit: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Plus: Silver Award winner Union Gospel Mission

November 1, 2019By Bill Conroy

Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
Image Credit: Hayley Young

Plus: Silver Award winner Union Gospel Mission

DUE PROCESS: Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

This article appears in print in the November 2019 issue. See more about the winners of the 2019 Community Impact Awards hereClick here for a free subscription.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Over the past few years, immigration policies in the United States have become much more draconian ­— in the form of “zero-tolerance” practices that include separating children from their parents, efforts to curtail asylum protections and increasingly aggressive immigration enforcement. All of this has raised the stakes for clients served by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), which has provided direct legal services to more than 20,000 immigrants and family members over the past 12 months.

“When liberty or fundamental rights are at stake, all people are entitled to meaningful due process and competent legal representation,” states the NWIRP’s Community Impact Awards nomination entry. The nonprofit was founded some 35 years ago to provide volunteer legal services to refugees fleeing civil wars in Central America. Today, the nonprofit operates offices in Seattle, Granger, Wenatchee and Tacoma — providing direct legal representation, litigation and advocacy support and community-education services.

The NWIRP also partners with some 100 social service providers, faith communities, domestic-violence agencies and other organizations that work with the immigrant community. It’s all part of the NWIRP’s larger mission to create positive systemic change for the immigrant and refugee community.

Silver Award

Union Gospel Mission

Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission has a storied history dating back to the Great Depression. It started in 1932 by serving soup to the homeless and unemployed, and it continues to carry out that noble mission of service today. “We offer hope. We work to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” the nonprofit’s Community Impact Awards nomination entry states. Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission describes itself as “King County’s first response for homelessness.” Over the past year, it has served an average of 2,350 meals daily, helped 476 people get off the streets and provided nearly 150,000 nights of safe shelter for the homeless population it serves.