Center for Social Justice Awarded Grants for Programming

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The Western New England University School of Law’s Center for Social Justice has received a total of $771,039 in grants, including $170,000 from the MassMutual Law Department last March, and an additional $43,500 donation from the MassMutual Foundation related to COVID-19 in April.

Center Director Ariel Clemmer has spearheaded the effort to bring the Consumer Debt Initiative (CDI), the Center’s first in-house pro bono program, to the School of Law and received a program-specific grant of $117,721.

The CDI serves self-represented litigants who are defending credit card collection actions filed by debt buyers in the Springfield District Court Small Claims session. Students, faculty, and other volunteers provide counsel and legal advice, negotiate with opposing counsel, draft settlement agreements, and may appear on behalf of consumers for hearings and trials. In fall 2020, Clemmer secured a renewal grant for the CDI for an additional $439,818 from the MassMutual Foundation for a two-year term.

The Center maintains an active calendar of public webinars on social justice topics. Visit to learn more.