Transforming Lives and Strengthening Communities Since 1973

aka Ayuda   |   Washington, DC   |  www.ayuda.com


Ayuda’s mission is to advocate for low-income immigrants through direct legal, social and language services, training and outreach in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. We envision a community where all immigrants succeed and thrive in the United States. Ayuda believes justice should have no barriers. Since 1973, we have served more than 150,000 low-income immigrants throughout Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Our expert and dedicated professionals help immigrants from anywhere in the world navigate the immigration and justice systems and access the social safety net. Ayuda’s comprehensive and welcoming approach breaks down barriers, helps those in need, and makes our communities stronger.

Notes from the nonprofit

Immigrants are integral members of the community and, like everyone else, aspire to live full, productive lives. Ayuda's holistic, culturally appropriate, and client-centered legal, social, and language access services provide low-income immigrants in the D.C. metropolitan region with important first steps to restore their lives, thrive, and succeed.

Your contribution helps to save & rebuild lives of immigrants in our community.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Paula Fitzgerald Esq.

Main address

1990 K ST NW Suite 500

Washington, DC 20006 USA

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NTEE code info

Immigrants' Rights (R21)

Victims' Services (P62)

Sexual Abuse, Prevention of (I73)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

More than one million of our neighbors in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC moved here from abroad with dreams of a better future. From the teenage boy who fled violence and death threats, to the mother who received a work visa from a local farm. These immigrants go to our children’s schools, provide essential skills for our businesses, and are vibrant members of our diverse communities. Yet, all too often, our neighbors do not receive equal levels of justice and protection. Ayuda offers a full range of legal, social, and language services for low-income immigrants from anywhere in the world. Our expert and dedicated professionals help our community’s immigrants navigate the immigration and justice systems, access the social safety net, and overcome language barriers. Since 1973, Ayuda’s support has transformed the lives of more than 100,000 vulnerable people – young “Dreamers,” survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence, LGBTQ immigrants, and more. This comprehens

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?

Legal Immigration Program

Lawful immigration status is the key that opens doors for immigrants to achieve financial security and stability. Many immigrants have viable pathways to lawful immigration status and U.S. citizenship, but lack the means of accessing legal representation to help them identify available immigration benefits, navigate the complex bureaucracy that controls access to immigration benefits, and present their case successfully.

Through Ayuda’s extensive knowledge of immigration law, Ayuda’s attorneys assess for all forms of possible immigration relief including U visas (for victims of crime), T visas (for victims of human trafficking), VAWA petitions, and more. Many of these forms of relief that Ayuda secures for our clients creates a path towards work authorization, legal permanent residency, and citizenship.

Ayuda has a more than 90% success rate in obtaining the immigration benefits that clients qualify for and that provide them the lawful status they need to succeed.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Ayuda offers domestic violence and family law legal services in a culturally sensitive environment to low-income immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking. The vast majority of domestic violence survivors represent themselves when seeking protective orders and this is especially true for low-income Limited English Proficient individuals.

Ayuda’s attorneys provide direct representation, education about legal rights, and advocacy so immigrant survivors can navigate their options, obtain protective orders, seek divorce from abusive partners, and secure custody of their children. Through Ayuda’s family law services, survivors can rebuild their lives and raise their children in loving, safe homes.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Ayuda provides culturally-specific social services for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or human trafficking, as well as neglected children and youth. Designed to holistically address short-term and long-term needs, Ayuda’s multidisciplinary social services team empowers survivors and their families to achieve their unique goals.

Ayuda provides safety planning, crisis intervention, case management, emotional support, trauma-informed individual therapy and mental health services, and support groups so survivors can achieve safety and self-sufficiency.

Ayuda advocates for and connect clients to vital services such as emergency and transitional shelter, food, clothing, or medical care. Clients can also receive emergency financial assistance, baby supplies through our partnership with the Greater DC Diaper Bank, and food for families who are facing food insecurity.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Ayuda ensures that all of our neighbors can get assistance when they need it, regardless of the languages they use to communicate. Immigrants and deaf individuals can experience confusion and profound isolation due to language barriers. Without adequate communication, basic services are beyond reach.

Ayuda provides free in-person interpretation, telephonic interpretation, and document translations for thousands of limited English proficient or deaf clients who need support to communicate with a public interest lawyer or a victim services provider.

Staff also train interpreters, lawyers, and advocates on effective interpretation and translation services.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Project END is a direct legal services project aimed at remedying the harm caused by immigration legal services fraud. Project END provides advice, counsel, and representation to victims of fraud in civil, criminal, and immigration proceedings.

A notario, notario público, “case-writer,” or immigration consultant in the U.S. is not an attorney nor an accredited representative of the Department of Justice in the U.S., and consequently, is not licensed to provide immigration legal advice or legal services.

Unscrupulous actors routinely prey on immigrants because of linguistic, cultural, and financial obstacles that can render many particularly vulnerable to such fraud. This fraud can have devastating consequences for its victims, including financial loss, damage to a legal case, deportation, and permanent family separation.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Ayuda’s pro bono program leverage the power and resources of volunteer attorneys, willing to give their time and counsel to immigrant neighbors in need of services now more than ever, along with the expertise and commitment of Ayuda’s expert immigration attorneys and staff who serve as mentors to the volunteers and manage the clinics.

Ayuda works with pro bono attorneys to provide consultations to clients through limited scope, brief advice clinics. In addition, Ayuda works with pro bono partners to provide long-term representation to clients in immigration matters through Ayuda’s pro bono pipeline.

Ayuda relies on pro bono support for our free immigration consultation clinics, which are currently being conducted remotely due to the public health crisis.

In 2021, Ayuda held 8 remote consultation clinics, which supported more than 433 individuals.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

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 clients assisted with legal needs

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Number of new grants received

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

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Most new grants came from new individual donors.

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.

-Provide immigrants the opportunity to access justice and increase the number of immigrants served each year.
-Develop additional programs that offer opportunities for immigrants to thrive and succeed.
-Be a trusted member of the community the offers services to immigrants, often partnering with other organizations.
-Strengthen presence in Maryland and Virginia.
-Strengthen the organizational infrastructure of the organization.
-Develop diversified sources of revenue.
-Increase unrestricted gifts to at least 10% revenue goal.
-Enhance board leadership and management capacity to promote long-term strategic goals.

-Started Pro Bono Program and Community Volunteer Program to harness the energy of community members to contribute time, talent and treasure to Ayuda.

-Board is reviewing elements of the by-laws to determine possible ways to elevate expectations from board members (and thus directing recruitment priorities).

-Developing additional earned income through a client fee-based model while still remaining affordable and below market price.

-Focusing on unrestricted and capacity building funds to be reinvested back into the organization.

--Developing a new 3-5 year strategic plan (2018-2023).

Ayuda has begun to operationalize some of the tactics to help achieve the goals mentioned above. There is a dearth of staff capacity to help move the needle on some of the projects. Ayuda is a staff of 56, with only eight people dedicated to administration, management, fundraising, and communications. The biggest challenge is time and staff.

Improving organizational systems is a tough one and a long term prospect. We have a long way to go -- from technology to financial systems, from database support to human resource support. Ayuda had been disadvantaged in the past by writing grant proposals with budgets that did not take into account administrative costs...this is causing as to play catch up now.

Ayuda is approaching its 50th year in five years and there is a collective desire to hand off a much stable and improved Ayuda to the next generation of leadership of Ayuda when our 50th arrives.



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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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

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Board of directors
as of 07/03/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Veronica Nannis

Greenwald & Laake LLP

Term: 2019 -

Lorraine Faeth

Land Trust Alliance

Michael Sklaire

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Michael Woods


Veronica Nannis

Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, LLP

Jayesh Rathod

American University

Kevin Metz

Latham & Watkins LLP

Tara Castillo

Alston & Bird LLP

Jill Flack


Alejandro Guadarrama


Paul Lee

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Miguel Martinez Jr.


Sadina Montani

Crowell & Moring LLP

Victoria Ortega

Blank Rome LLP

Marie Talwar

General Electric Company

Samir Varma

Thompson and Hine LLP

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 7/3/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/03/2022

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

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.