Martha, grew up in Martinsville, VA, attended Duke University and graduated with degrees in religion and teaching. In the early seventies she and her husband, Randy, worked with neighbors in Richmond’s Carillon area to fight racially discriminatory real estate practices, thereby helping their community become and remain a diverse neighborhood stabilized by a culture of friendship.
Martha spent more than 30 years in the antiques business and established Martha’s Mixture a highly popular antique shop that helped anchor the revitalization of Carytown, a local shopping district. Combining her passion for diverse communities, social justice and economic development, in 2002 Martha used her business skills and networks to establish Boaz & Ruth, a faith-based nonprofit located in an economically challenged neighborhood of Richmond. Working with neighbors, Boaz & Ruth fused a second-chance reentry program with social enterprises, including two thrift stores, a café, and furniture refinishing, moving, and construction services, as well as restoring more than a dozen abandoned buildings in the area. A key component of Boaz & Ruth is connecting individuals and communities across racial, economic and geographic divisions. Martha is committed to a core belief that everyone is a “Boaz” with gifts and everyone is a “Ruth” with needs. The important word in the name is the connecting word “and.”. When we “live in the AND” both individuals and communities are transformed.
In 2006 Martha was one of the recipients of the inaugural national Purpose Prize, which recognizes individuals over age 60 who have developed innovative ways to address some of the country's biggest social problems. Before her retirement from Boaz & Ruth in 2013, Martha, along with 100 nonprofit leaders, was honored at the White House by President Obama.
After meeting in 2009, Martha and Danita began discovering common passions: building bridges and healing wounds. In 2014 they attended the national Coming To The Table conference and together they initiated Coming To The Table- RVA. Through Danita’s and Martha’s creative energy and hard work combined with a team of many amazing volunteers CTTT-RVA has become the largest local group in the country.