Martha Blumberg accomplished great things in her short life — gaining recognition as a promising young artist when she was just 12 years old. She graduated from Jamesville-Dewitt High School in 1979 and attended Yale University for two years. She was an honor student, artist and musician, but she was constrained by a disease that forced her to undergo several organ transplants.

Martha died at the young age of 23, while waiting for what would have been her third kidney transplant. Her death in 1985 was devastating to her parents, Ruth and Sydney Blumberg. Ruth’s life was forever changed by the loss of her only child. Through her grief, Ruth persevered and carried on with her lifelong commitment to many volunteer activities. Ruth wanted something good to happen in the community to honor Martha’s short life.

When she passed away decades later, her will directed a portion of her estate to the Community Foundation to form The Martha Fund. The fund is designed to perpetually support local children’s programs in her daughter’s name. Ruth lived a life of giving back, and her charitable spirit will live on through her bequest to the Community Foundation in memory of Martha.

The Martha Fund honors Martha’s zest for life, and her legacy will be honored through the many programs it will support. Since 2013, the fund has awarded nearly $300,000 in grants to support children’s art programs, health services and learning activities in Central New York. Countless young people in our region will continue to benefit from the generous commitment Ruth made to ensure that her daughter’s memory would not be forgotten.