The National Council of Nonprofits says it best, “Nonprofits play a fundamental role in creating more equitable and thriving communities.” Whether you personally or your company has involvement with a non-profit, the impact can find a way to bring communities together.
Recently we had the chance to speak with Suzanne Martin. Suzanne is a part of a local non-profit, Annapolis Immigration Justice Network. In talking with Suzanne, we were able to learn more about not only herself but also her organization and how impactful it can be to a community.
Tell us about your company and what you do?
The Annapolis Immigration Justice Network (AIJN) is a local non-profit that is helping our immigrant neighbors in Anne Arundel County by supporting and walking alongside them as they navigate the immigration process. We have now provided financial assistance to 77 Anne Arundel residents (50% are children) to obtain quality legal representation. The main aspects of our non-profit consist of the following:
- Legal Fund – This is for legal representation for asylum seekers
- Accompaniment Program – Volunteers taking people to their immigration hearings, legal consultations, etc.
- Case Management – Assisting clients to navigate the immigration process.
Since being established in 2017, we have awarded over $100,000 in direct legal funding to help 77 asylum seekers and visa applicants secure full legal representation for their federal immigration case.
How did you get started in your industry?
Our organization started 3 years ago. Prior to that I was a standup paddleboard instructor and volunteered with the Lighthouse Shelter in Annapolis. At first, we came together to help our immigrant and asylum-seeking neighbors, but we didn’t have a clear idea of how to help. Over time, we realized a great need for quality legal representation for people’s immigration cases. We’ve been humbled by the number of people that have reached out to us seeking quality legal representation.
What is something about your business that most people do not know?
We are very excited that we have recently formed a partnership with a nationwide organization, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), to help unaccompanied children who have arrived in Anne Arundel County. Not only do we assist individuals, but we also work to unify families in the community and support unaccompanied children and others in need.
We were recently featured in the Capital Gazette for our third annual Border Crossings fundraiser which is a night of stories, music, and art to celebrate and support immigrants in the community. This is a great event in which we can come together and support the right to due process for all.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
We will continue to form partnerships and grow our legal fund to help more residents in Anne Arundel County.
Tell me about yourself.
Married with 2 teenage daughters. We have lived in Annapolis for over 16 years. We love it here!
Other than work, what are you passionate about?
Outside my work, I’m passionate about my family and stand up paddleboarding (SUP). I do race training with Sunrise SUP in the South River.
What types of activities or hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
Stand up paddleboarding! I absolutely love stand up paddleboarding and participate in races during the summer months.
What is your favorite place to eat in Annapolis? Favorite dish there?
I love Joss – my favorite is their Crunchy Ebi Roll!
Why did you choose My Annapolis Office and how has working here helped your business?
We needed a place for weekly meetings and to meet with clients and this has become a great location for our organization. Our case management has grown since holding our meetings at My Annapolis Office.