PLATINUM2024

Ascend Justice

legal advocacy. transforming lives.

Chicago, IL   |  https://www.ascendjustice.org/

Mission

Our mission is to empower individuals and families impacted by gender-based violence or the child welfare system to achieve safety and stability through holistic legal advocacy and system reform.

Ruling year info

1994

Executive Director

Margaret Duval

Main address

177 N State St Ste 500

Chicago, IL 60601 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-3647731

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2023, 2022 and 2021.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are working toward strong communities where people have the power to navigate fair systems and overcome violence.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Child Custody and Support

Survivors of gender-based violence who have children in common with an abusive partner can face special challenges as they seek to parent safely, and seeking child support or safe parameters on parenting time often requires extended legal advocacy. We provide representation in family law cases involving custody, parenting time, and child support.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Caregivers
Families
Detainees
Victims of crime and abuse

We assist parents, caregivers, and professionals who work with children with legal services related to:

*Ongoing DCFS investigations for child abuse or neglect, including safety plans and intact services
*Administrative expungement appeals of DCFS indicated findings
*Civil rights cases on a case-by-case basis.

Population(s) Served

Survivors of gender-based violence often require legal help with family law issues in order to definitively break the cycle of abuse. A divorce can provide a fresh start and may be required to resolve financial issues related to the marriage, including requests for financial support or dividing marital property and debt. We offer free representation in Dissolution of Marriage cases.

Population(s) Served

Too often, financial concerns make it hard for survivors of gender-based violence to end abusive relationships. Our staff offers free help with legal problems commonly experienced by survivors, such as:

*Employment law, representing survivors who need to miss work because of the abuse and assisting clients who need reasonable accommodations at work to feel safe.

*Housing law, helping survivors who need to move out, break their leases, or change their locks because of safety concerns.

*Consumer debt, such as screening survivors for bankruptcy and providing referrals; drafting letters to debt collectors to dispute a debt, request more information, or limit contact; and ordering a free credit report.

*Crime victims compensation, which means assisting clients with filing and appealing applications with the Attorney Generals Office to request compensation due to their status as a crime victim.

Population(s) Served

Survivors of gender-based violence who are currently or formerly incarcerated face unique challenges when it comes to the civil legal system. The criminal legal system often targets survivors and perpetuates the harm they have already experienced, resulting in additional harm to their children and families.

We provide advice, brief services, and representation in many areas for survivors who are impacted by their criminal legal system, as well as providing limited services to their family members. While the Incarcerated Survivors Project provides support in many legal areas, the majority of assistance focuses on these areas:

*Parenting Time/Visitation
*Divorce
*Guardianship
*Child Welfare Cases
*Orders of Protection

Population(s) Served

For undocumented survivors of gender-based violence, immigration services are a crucial part of the long-term journey to safety and independence. We offer free immigration law services to people who have experienced gender-based violence.
We are a Department of Justice-recognized provider of immigration services and can assist with:

*U Visa
*VAWA
*Battered Spouse Waiver
*Affirmative and Defensive Asylum
*Non-detained Removal Defense

Population(s) Served

An Order of Protection is a court order that tells the person who is abusing you to stop the abuse. It can also tell the person to stop contacting you, to leave a home that you share, to stay away from your children, or a number of other things that might help keep you safe.

Our Order of Protection Clinic provides help filing for Orders of Protection most days that the court is in session. Our staff and volunteers can discuss whether an Order of Protection may keep you safer, and help you prepare and file your case. We can also assist with preparing paperwork remotely, and facilitate a remote hearing for an Emergency Order of Protection.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of people received immigration service

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Due to the state of Immigration Services, including overall wait time within the judicial system as well as our organization's capacity to assist, our results are impacted by those restraints.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We are working toward strong communities where people have the power to navigate fair systems and overcome violence.

The strategies outlined aim to ensure the successful implementation of the Strategic Plan by focusing on client engagement, partnership development, staff capacity building, and organizational infrastructure improvements:

Client Engagement and Feedback:
*Develop agency-wide strategy for client feedback through surveys and focus groups.
*Establish processes to review, analyze, and respond to client input.
*Develop guidelines and opportunities for client participation in various agency activities.
*Create external-facing materials to share with client communities.

Partnership Development:
*Analyze and prioritize partnership gaps, recognizing and recognizing community partners.
*Assess staffing needs related to partner relationships.
*Increase pathways for client involvement in Board of Directors (BoD) and Young Professionals Board (YPB).

Staff Capacity Building:
*Provide training on relevant topics such as gender-based violence (GBV) and child welfare services (CWS).
*Expand opportunities for community partner involvement in events.
*Evaluate the need for a community organizer role.

Organizational Infrastructure Improvement:
*Enhance benefits for staff such as childcare support and mental health assistance.
*Implement evaluation methods like 360-degree feedback and improve supports for addressing vicarious trauma.
*Refine supervisor check-ins, goal-setting processes, and training programs for managers.

Internal Communication and Knowledge Management:
*Assess the need for division-specific training manuals and centralize internal information.
*Evaluate technology needs and improve case-handling practices.
*Develop and disseminate external communication guidelines and improve onboarding/offboarding procedures.

Advocacy and Data Collection:
*Provide advocacy training and explore ways to involve more staff in advocacy efforts.
*Assess data collection methods for storytelling, fundraising, and impact measurement.
*Develop clear data templates and review processes to make data actionable.

Overall, these strategies aim to foster a culture of client-centeredness, collaboration, staff development, and organizational effectiveness to realize the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback

Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Ascend Justice

Board of directors
as of 04/16/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Karen Munoz

Dolan Law PC

Paige Barr Tinkham

Blank Rome LLP

Ceylan Bilgin

IET

Karrie Dowd

Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Jacqui Giannini

Dentons

Miki Goodin

Baxter Healthcare Corporation

Kapil Gudivada

PwC

Peter Huh

SWK Attorneys at Law

Nathan Jenks

Secretariat

Pam Munoz

Greentarget

Shannon Quinn

Hammer Serna & Quinn

Alyssa Ramirez

Gallagher Bassett

Lauren Reeves

RSM US LLP

Leah Song

Allison Torrence

Jenner & Block

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/17/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/06/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.