Martha Lenderman: Embracing Philanthropy for a Better Community

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Civic Engagement, Donor Spotlight | 0 comments

St. Petersburg resident Martha Lenderman values her PCF Giving to Humanity Fund membership, which matches donations and delivers funds to nonprofit organizations in the same year.

For St. Petersburg resident Martha Lenderman, giving back to the community is about investing time, talent, and trust, not just money. She actively shares her expertise in mental health and substance abuse, earning her recognition as an expert witness. Martha offers pro-bono training and has contributed to a Florida Supreme Court Benchguide.

Martha believes philanthropic people recognize the connection to their community and take responsibility to make it a better place. “You know, you can’t separate yourself from your community, and geographically, most of my life has been here,” she tells Pinellas Community Foundation. “This is my community; I can continue to make it a more livable place.”

Martha’s earliest memories of giving back are rooted in her family’s selflessness. Despite limited financial resources, her mother dedicated her time and skills to nonprofit organizations, such as the PTA, scouts, and the Red Cross. Martha learned to characterize philanthropy as a willingness to give in any way possible, whether volunteering, sharing knowledge, or advocating for a cause.

Pinellas Community Foundation celebrates the spirit of giving as inspiration for our community to join in the pursuit of creating positive change. Each featured donor has a unique story, a passionate commitment to their chosen causes, and a shared vision of making Pinellas County a better place for all.

For the past five years, Martha has been an active member of the PCF Giving to Humanity Fund, supporting unrestricted operational grants. She values the opportunity to pool her resources with other caring citizens, as PCF matches donations and ensures that agencies receive funding in the same year. “I want to be on a list of 10,000 people that want to be a member. They may not consider themselves philanthropists, but they know you do good work, they have trust in you, and they want to show that that’s important to this community,” says Martha. This collaborative approach empowers individuals of all financial backgrounds to make a difference by supporting day-to-day operations, often the greatest need for nonprofits.

When asked for advice for new PCF donors, Martha breaks the misconception that significant financial contributions are the only way to be involved. She advocates for a culture of giving that welcomes donors of all levels. She highlights the importance of contributing, whether a modest $25 gift or blocking off time to volunteer. Martha believes in the significance of planning, both financial and estate-related, to minimize taxes, protect assets, and leave a lasting legacy for the causes one holds dear. By planning early, individuals can see and maximize the impact of giving, regardless of perceived wealth. Start with a method that feels comfortable to you, she suggests. Donate in honor of a loved one’s memory — the experiences that impacted them and made them who they are, or give an anonymous donation if you don’t want the recognition.

Martha highlights the importance of trust in philanthropic endeavors. She admires PCF for its professional leadership, community partnerships, and financial stewardship. “I do have that trust. PCF’s oversight and the flexibility to reallocate funds if organizations face challenges or if circumstances change can protect that treasured gift,” she shares. “We’re very lucky to have you.”

Martha encourages individuals to engage as board members to understand the civic and fiduciary responsibilities of nonprofits. She also sees the value in nonprofit organizations growing reserves through an endowment fund. “With my work on various boards, the funds were sitting there, in a bank account, doing nothing. With a community foundation, donations are invested for the future, and it increases,” Martha explains. At the same time, PCF is reinvesting in the community through operating, arts and culture, and senior service grants. “They are partners in the community. That’s philanthropic … business beyond traditional banking,” she says.

Martha Lenderman’s story encourages people to embrace philanthropy in their unique ways. Through her involvement throughout Pinellas County, she continues to inspire others to embrace the spirit of giving and contribute to creating a stronger, more vibrant community.

Giving to Humanity: Philanthropy Without Barriers

Donating to PCF’s Giving to Humanity Fund combines your gift with other community members’ gifts to help charities better care for those they serve. Plus, PCF matches your donations dollar for dollar, and 100% goes to grant recipients in the donation year. Make a lasting impact today.