With heavy hearts, North Star Fund mourns the loss of Martha Baker. She served on the North Star Fund Board from 1993-1996, served on our Community Funding Committee and was honored by us in 1994.
Martha accomplished a great deal as part of a long life of community activism, research and public service. Her work gave rise to paid sick leave and paid family leave in New York City and New York State.
Her numerous public roles included serving as the founder of Equity in Education and Employment, as a consultant to and on the steering committee of the NY Paid Family Leave Insurance Campaign, and in the administration of Mayor Dinkins.
She served as the executive director and CEO at Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), where she authored the report “Vocational Education: Opportunities for Young Women.” While at NEW, Baker was appointed to the City’s Department of Education Steering Committee to Restructure Career Technical Education. In 2007, Baker coordinated a conference focusing on integrating women into the building, construction and allied trades industries.
She was a colleague to generations of progressive feminist leaders in NYC, counting the late Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm as friends and mentees. In her role as a North Star Fund board member, her vision, good humor and leadership skills built a strong board and guided us through some difficult transitions.
Whether at a meeting, dinners, parties or North Star Fund galas, Martha enjoyed every minute. She was a master and bringing people together with extraordinary warmth and joy. Martha’s kind heart and stalwart commitment to social justice made her an invaluable member of our community. Her tenacity, strength and sharp intellect were inspiring.
North Star Fund is committed to keeping her legacy alive. She will always be part of the family of New Yorkers who call North Star Fund home. We send our deepest condolences to her beloved husband Jerry, as well as her two grown children and her grandchildren.