Even in death, Operation HOPE’s (HOPE) own Dr. Preston Martin continued to show his affinity for the non-profit. He and his wife Genevieve Rogg Martin, both of whom died earlier this year, left an unprecedented $1 million gift of unrestricted funds to HOPE.
Dr. Martin, HOPE’s chief advocate for 15 years, was a dear friend and founding board member. “Those who would not have had the opportunity to see themselves in a better future, and a better place, will be able to do so today and tomorrow because of the Martin’s unprecedented and generous gift," said John Hope Bryant , HOPE founder, chairman and CEO. "We are proud to pay tribute to the Martins’ legacy by naming the homeownership counseling center at the Oakland HOPE Center after them."
Martin brought HOPE to the national forefront in 1993, using his contacts from the Federal Reserve System, where he was appointed vice chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1982–1986 during the Reagan Administration. The partnership laid the foundation for HOPE to effectively cultivate relationships with other government financial and bank regulatory agencies nationwide.
A tireless campaigner for the under-privileged, Martin helped create Freddie Mac in the 1970s, a government-sponsored agency that bought responsible mortgages and packaged them. He was a founding member of the board of trustees of Neighborhood Housing Services of America, a national nonprofit group, which he also helped to bring into existence when it was founded in 1974. After leaving government in 1972, he founded the PMI Mortgage Insurance Company, Social Compact, and other organizations to uplift those left behind.
Dr. Martin was also one of the first federal financial regulators to make fair lending a top priority. As chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank System he took a tough stand against redlining, the policy of steering credit away from minority and underserved communities.
The Martins’ final wish to leave this gift to HOPE is proudly supported by their family, which includes daughters Katherine L. Rogg, Dr. Elizabeth Rogg, Margaret Lowrie Robertson, son-in-law Nic Robertson and son Pier Martin as well as seven grandchildren. The family states that “The mission of Operation HOPE in helping enable the less privileged among us to become participants in our privileged economy was extremely important to our parents. We are honored that they made this gift and hope it will resonate with other potential donors to help further the important work of Operation HOPE."
Earlier this year William and Barbara Hanna made a then record-breaking individual donation of $100,000 to HOPE in support of its financial literacy work. This gift was later matched by a $100,000 gift from the Jacobs Family Trust.
In addition to naming the homeownership counseling center at the Oakland HOPE Center after the Martins, HOPE has also named the Banking on Our Future, Philadelphia office in his honor. HOPE has also established the Preston and Genevieve Martin Award for Community Reinvestment, the first of which will be given to a leader in banking at Operation HOPE’s 2007 CRA Awards Luncheon being held today in Los Angeles, California. HOPE will also establish an endowment fund with some of the proceeds from this historic gift.
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