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Press Release

CitizenshipWorks Winner for Best Law Site in the 16th Annual Webby Awards

>PRWEB.COM Newswire

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 22, 2012

The 16th Annual Webby Awards has named CitizenshipWorks as Best Law Site of the year. CitizenshipWorks also won the Webby People’s Voice Award in the Law category, thanks to votes from the online community. CitizenshipWorks will be honored tonight at the star-studded Webby Awards Show in New York.

CitizenshipWorks (http://www.citizenshipworks.org) provides free, easy-to-use online tools in both English and Spanish to help individuals answer questions about their eligibility for naturalization, better understand the naturalization process and how to prepare for the naturalization tests, and find free or low-cost legal help with their naturalization application. A recently launched text messaging campaign allows users to text “citizenship” (“ciudadania” in Spanish) to 877877 to find the location and contact information for nearby organizations providing naturalization application assistance. Other tools available on CitizenshipWorks help nonprofit agencies use technology to offer immigration services to more clients, more efficiently. An estimated 8 million legal permanent residents across the United States are eligible to become U.S. citizens, but many don’t understand the process and can’t afford to hire a lawyer.

CitizenshipWorks was developed through a collaboration between the Immigration Advocates Network, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit leader in increasing access to justice through innovative uses of technology. It has received support from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Grove Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and the Open Society Foundations.

“CitizenshipWorks is a great illustration of how to use the power of technology to increase your impact,” said Manuel J. Santamaria, grantmaking director at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which has made significant investments over the last three years in technology tools that help immigrants get legal services, learn English and navigate the naturalization process. “There are an estimated 2.5 million immigrants in California who, as legal residents, are eligible for citizenship. As a funder, we want to do everything we can to make it easier for those residents and for nonprofits who serve them to take the next step toward deeper participation in civic life.”

“CitizenshipWorks leverages document assembly tools developed for use by courts and legal aid programs around the country, including Pro Bono Net’s LawHelp Interactive service and the award-winning A2J Author software created by The Center for Access to Justice & Technology at Chicago-Kent College of Law and the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction,” said Mark O’Brien, Executive Director of Pro Bono Net. “Investments in these tools are enabling the nonprofit sector to help more and more people in innovative ways.”

“We are thrilled to be named the winner of both the Best Law Site and the People’s Voice Award,” said Matthew Burnett, Director of the Immigration Advocates Network. “By making the process of naturalization more accessible and understandable, CitizenshipWorks opens the doors for immigrants nationwide who are unsure of their eligibility or where to begin.”

A full list of both Webby Awards and People’s Voice Awards winners can be found at http://wbby.co/winners. Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including websites, interactive advertising & media, online film & video, and mobile & apps. The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 750-person judging academy whose members include Martha Stewart, Darren Aronofsky, R/GA's Chief Bob Greenberg, David Bowie, Arianna Huffington and Twitter's Biz Stone. The 16th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from over 60 countries and all 50 US states.

About the Immigration Advocates Network
The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is a collaborative effort of leading immigrants' rights organizations designed to increase access to justice for low-income immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them. IAN promotes more effective and efficient communication, collaboration, and services among immigration advocates and organizations by providing free, easily accessible and comprehensive online resources and tools. IAN's partners include the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, American Bar Association Commission on Immigration, American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, ASISTA, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Pro Bono Net, and the Advocates for Human Rights. To learn more, visit http://www.immigrationadvocates.org.

About the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a non-profit national resource center that provides legal trainings, educational materials, and advocacy to advance immigrant rights. Founded in 1979, the mission of the ILRC is to work with and educate immigrants, community organizations, and the legal sector to continue to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. To learn more, visit http://www.ilrc.org.

About Pro Bono Net
Pro Bono Net (http://www.probono.net) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice through innovative uses of technology and increased volunteer lawyer participation. Pro Bono Net uses innovative web-based platforms -- http://www.probono.net, http://www.LawHelp.org and http://www.LawHelpInteractive.org -- to recruit and support volunteer lawyers and provide direct information and self-help tools to low-income communities. This marks the 6th consecutive year that Pro Bono Net and its partners have been nominated for the Webby Award for Best Law Site; LawHelp.org won in this category in 2007.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9529648.htm

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