Magazine article Ebony

Arkansas Breakthrough: Mahlon A. Martin Heads Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Magazine article Ebony

Arkansas Breakthrough: Mahlon A. Martin Heads Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Article excerpt


Mahlon A. Martin heads

Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

SEATED in a comfortable chair in his airy office, oak floors and Oriental throw rug under his feet, Mahlon A. Martin is attempting to convince visitors that he has acquired one of the most sought-after jobs in Arkansas by "being in the right place at the right time." It isn't working.

A quick glance at Martin's resume and a few minutes of casual conversation are enough to convince anyone that the new president of the Winthrop Rochefeller Foundation brings an uncanny mix of the right qualifications to his position. He was the first (and only) Black city manager of Little Rock, and most recently, the first Black to head the Department of Finance and Administration for the State of Arkansas. Both times he ws recruited and both times he was "shocked" that he actually got the job. "I've been extremely lucky and blessed to have some opportunities come to me," he says in a self-effacing, friendly sort of way.

As president of the foundation, Martin is responsible for managing an endowment from the Winthrop Rockefeller charitable trust and an annual giving program of about $3 million. He is also responsible for foundation grant-making activities which focus on economic development, education and civic affairs. He is only the second president of the foundation that was founded in 1975 as legacy to Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller's exceptional philanthropy. (The governor died in 1973).

At 44, Martin has 13 years of experience as a public administrator. The Little Rock native -- who has an easy, pleasing manner that radiates honesty and concern -- received a degree in business administration at Philander Smith College in his hometown and took continuing education courses at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and at Cornell University. …

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