Donor Spotlight: Maura Melley

There are many ways that ILAP’s wonderful supporters help us accomplish our mission, such as volunteering their time and expertise, making a financial contribution, or encouraging others to give. Maura Melley goes above and beyond—she does all three.

After the 2016 election, when it became clear that the new administration was going to implement harsh new immigration policies, Maura felt she had to act.

“I had recently retired and wanted to do something meaningful,” she remembers. “When I heard about ILAP, I immediately knew it was for me. All four of my grandparents came over from Ireland as unaccompanied minors and were penniless, so this would be my way to honor them and pay it forward.”

Maura first got involved as a volunteer attorney on our Pro Bono Panel, donating dozens of hours to representing individuals seeking asylum in Maine.

“I love to share what I’m doing with friends and neighbors. In the Midcoast we don’t see the same immigrant population as in Portland or Lewiston/Auburn, but everyone I talked to wanted to show their support. My neighbor and I decided we would take them up on that!”

Together, they hosted a brunch where Maura shared the work she was doing and then asked guests to make a gift to ILAP. They raised an incredible $5,000 that morning! One guest also extended an invitation to present to her church’s charitable giving committee, which resulted in yet another generous gift to ILAP.

“Being on the Pro Bono Panel gives me an insight that other people seem to appreciate,” she explains. “Like me, they feel impotent about the unprecedented legal barriers that immigrants are facing and hungry to support the work of organizations like ILAP.”

After the overwhelming success of her brunch, we asked Maura to bring her talent for fundraising and community engagement to our volunteer-led Development Committee. She gladly accepted, and we were thrilled.

“I’m honored to support ILAP in any way that I can,” she says. “It’s a heartfelt connection for me.”


Maura is a member of our India Street Society, an informal association of individuals and families who provide crucial financial leadership.

ILAP Maine