Ayuda’s Board of Directors Appoints Virginia Office’s Managing Attorney as Interim Executive

Washington, DC – Effective Monday, February 8, 2016, Paula Fitzgerald, Ayuda’s managing attorney for the Virginia office, will serve as interim executive director of Ayuda. This follows the departure of Ryan Dowd, who served as Ayuda’s executive for 14 months. Dowd resigned from Ayuda to return to his hometown Chicago for family medical reasons.

Paula Fitzgerald has been practicing immigration law for over ten years. Paula joined Ayuda in 2008 and helped build Ayuda’s Virginia office. Paula’s immigration legal work focuses on humanitarian relief, including VAWA self-petitions, U visas, T visas, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions. She is also experienced in family-based immigration matters, consular processing, waivers and NACARA cases. She serves on the Fairfax County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. Prior to Ayuda, Paula worked as an immigration attorney at Hogar Hispano and Hunton & Williams LLP. Paula received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2004.

The Board of Directors has formed a Search Committee to work with the Non-Profit Advisory Group (NPAG) as search consultants.

“We thank Ryan Dowd for his exemplary service these past 14 months and wish him and his family well. We also thank Paula for agreeing to serve as interim executive director of Ayuda. Her deep knowledge of Ayuda gives us confidence that Ayuda will transition smoothly and meet our organizational goals this year,” said Diego Marquez, chair of the Board.

For more information, contact Sarah Block at (202) 387-4848 ext.143 or at [email protected]

Ayuda's Response to Busing of Migrants

Since April 2022, Ayuda has been working to help coordinate the humanitarian response as the governors of Texas and Arizona continue to send thousands of migrants on buses to Washington, D.C.

We are providing culturally and linguistically specific legal, social and language access services to newly arriving migrants. These services include case management and intake support, interpretation, as well as the provision of food, clothing, hygiene kits, prepaid cell phones, medical supplies, and paid shelter.

Our legal team is providing individualized legal orientations for migrants explaining the immigration system and helping them be aware of their rights and responsibilities.  

“Immigrants are first and foremost, human beings. They deserve respect and compassion, and Ayuda will continue to do what we do best – provide holistic support to those in need in our communities.” - Paula Fitzgerald, Executive Director

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