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This article was originally published on September 03, 2008.

Expansion will protect more women and girls

Tahirih Justice Center is evolving from a local to a national organization, and the nonprofit announced this week that it will open its first pilot field office in Houston, Texas, in 2009.

After the Houston office is established, Tahirih will refine its expansion model and open additional field offices in locations around the country. Through national expansion, Tahirih will be able to serve more immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence and bring more immigrant voices to important public policy debates.

Tahirih made this strategic decision in response to heart-wrenching phone calls from immigrant women and girls throughout the United States who are fleeing violence and are desperate for legal representation that they cannot find locally. Some have even moved to the Washington, DC area to receive Tahirih’s services.

A Replicable Model for High-Quality Services

The non-profit organization has served the Washington, DC community for over a decade, and has refined a model for providing high-quality services that is efficient, holistic, and replicable. Tahirih is able to turn every $1 donated into $5 of impact through its partnerships with pro bono attorneys and other professionals, who donate their time and expertise to protect clients. Most importantly, the Tahirih model for service delivery protects lives. Despite the complex nature of the cases it accepts, Tahirih has maintained a 99% success rate.

“Although a process of growth is never easy, nor entirely predictable, Tahirih feels confident that through thoughtful reflection and planning, we will be able to protect the lives of more immigrant women and girls fleeing violence on a national scale. As we grow, Tahirih is committed to maintaining the quality and level of services that we have sustained for over a decade in the Washington, DC community,” said Layli Miller-Muro, Tahirih Founder and Executive Director.

Tahirih’s decision to grow nationally is also fueled by a desire to have a greater impact on federal laws and policies affecting immigrant women and girls fleeing violence. While Tahirih’s advocacy work has always been informed by the grassroots experiences of the women and girls served, national expansion will strengthen that perspective and allow Tahirih to speak to lawmakers with a greater understanding of both local and national trends. Tahirih will continue to be involved in appellate litigation to establish legal precedent on issues affecting our clients.

A Strategic Growth Process

Over the two past years, Tahirih has taken deliberate and concrete steps to determine how national expansion will unfold. Tahirih’s Board of Directors and senior management have been involved in an intensive process of preparing internal infrastructure for growth and researching best practices for replication.

Guiding the city selection process are several factors including immigration trends, the location of our pro bono partner law firms, the availability of complimentary services for clients, the presence of like-minded organizations, and the support of local foundations, corporations, and individual donors. To ensure that growth is informed by the lessons of other organizations, Tahirih has conducted interviews with 10 nonprofit and for-profit organizations that have undergone successful expansion.