Vice President, Major Gifts & Foundations
National Urban League
Donor since 2007
Wedding photograph of the parents of Lloyd Martinez
My vision for the future:
Solutions to social problems are solved by including everybody, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
These are my parents. They have inspired and motivated me to commit myself to social change. Both my parents grew up in poverty in San Antonio, Texas. My mother strongly believed in education. Her mother only had a third-grade education, but she knew that the schools in her neighborhood were failing so she somehow advocated to get her three daughters into a better school. It was a tough experience since my mother only spoke Spanish and everyone else only spoke English. My mother was very adamant about what today we would call "closing the opportunity gap."
My father believed that you can't turn your back on your roots, so from the age of five to 12, he would take me with him on journeys to his old neighborhood. That was my first exposure to poverty. He showed me the fields where he used to work with migrant farm workers, picking lettuce, tomatoes, watermelons. He was always meeting people from the barrio, and he made time to help them find a job, a doctor, a lawyer. Later, he emphasized the importance of getting involved in local politics by modeling it. Together, we would hand out pamphlets and brochures for local electoral campaigns.
In a similar way, North Star models what good decision-making for social problems looks like. It brings everybody to the table when it makes grantmaking decision--activists, philanthropists, policy and legal experts. North Star is New York's big tent when it comes to progressive social change.