Markham-Nathan Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant

The Markham-Nathan Fund (MNF) for Social Justice is proud to announce a special COVID-19 Relief and Organizing Emergency Granting Program for small grassroots organizations in Western Massachusetts who are offering relief from the public health and economic crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic in the context of organizing for social justice and workers’ rights. 
Apply here.

History shows us that during times of crisis the corporate elite will take advantage of widespread fear and disorientation to centralize power, deregulate industry, privatize our common wealth, and eliminate political rights in a drive to maximize profits. We have seen these tendencies in our country in the aftermaths of hurricanes and fires and are beginning to witness them in the midst of the devastating social and economic dislocations in the fight to limit the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Markham-Nathan Fund was created to support grassroots Western Massachusetts groups in their fight for fundamental social change to eliminate economic disparity, racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Founded in 2009, MNF has raised and distributed over $200,000 in small grants to community organizing efforts to stop police brutality, defend immigrant rights, stop home foreclosures, support low-wage worker organizing, and protect frontline communities from polluting industries in the struggle against climate change. Our focus has always been on the people’s movement as the antidote to injustice and violence.

However, now our region is facing a unique situation in modern history. The corona virus pandemic has forced widespread business shutdowns and worker layoffs, meaning further economic suffering for poor and working people already bearing the burden of a Trump economy skewed to the billionaire class. As schools and daycare centers close, working parents scramble to find care for their children. Poor and working people are in desperate need of rent and grocery money as well as dollars to pay emergency medical bills and keep the lights on. Those organizations most deeply rooted in our Western Mass poor communities are facing calls for relief and mutual aid.

The Markham-Nathan Fund would like to help our community partners fulfill that need while they continue their work to change the system so that it works for all of us. Our COVID-19 Relief and Organizing Emergency Grants consist of up to $2,000 per organization that meets our guidelines, though we have altered our guidelines for this grant only in three important ways: 1. Social change organizations may use grant money for relief for their community or members. 2. We have lifted the budget cap for applying organizations. 3. The application is briefer and our turnaround time on grants will be much shorter.

The Emergency Fund grants can be used by organizations to:

  • Provide emergency relief to member individuals and families financially affected through layoffs, hours-cut, or medical or educational expenses caused by the pandemic.
  • Fight attempts to deregulate industry, cut the social safety net, or eliminate the organizing rights of working people, poor people, and communities of color in response to the crisis.
  • Provide technological support and assistance (computers, zoom or other cyber-meeting accounts) to groups trying to cope with the need to meet online to prevent the spread of the virus.

The grant application deadline is December 1, 2020 and the funds must be used for its dedicated purpose prior to December 31, 2020. A grant report specifying expenditures must be submitted by that date. Organizations that receive a COVID-19 Relief and Organizing Emergency Grant may also apply for a grant in our regular cycle in the same year.

Deadline for Spring 2019 MNF applications is March 15, 2020
Apply now
NEW FUNDING CYCLE! Two deadlines are:
March 15 for Spring awards and September 15 for Fall awards
UP TO $3000.00
Emergency grants of $500 are also available.

Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice Awards for 2019
We are pleased to announce the following awards to social justice organizations in Western Massachusetts for 2019. Please go to the Our Grantees page for photos of these organizations.

Arise for Social Justice, Springfield, MA “Undoing Racism Workshops”

Artesana, Inc., Holyoke, MA “Creative workshop with Maria Salgado”

Beloved Community Center, Greensboro NC ( for visit by Rev. Nelson Johnson and Joyce Johnson to attend events commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Greensboro Massacre in Northampton Oct. 4-6, 2019.

Compost Cooperative (Just Roots Community Farm), Greenfield, MA “Purchase of washing and cleaning machines”

Don’t Take That Receipt, Holyoke MA ( – Political education about toxins in Holyoke.

Eggtooth Productions, Greenfield, MA “Social Justice Theatre and Radical Festival”

Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution Conference, Greenfield, MA “Organizing conference for social justice organizers”

Manos Unidas Multicultural Education Cooperative, Pittsfield, MA “Hopeseed building Youth Leadership

Musica Franklin, Greenfield, MA “Transforming lives through performance”

Nueva Esperanza, Holyoke, MA “Capacity Building and Retreat”

Out now!, Springfield, MA “Advocacy of Gay Youth”

Peoples Music Network Greenfield MA – for Matt Jones scholarships to performers of progressive music

The Performance Project, Springfield, MA “Youth Leadership and Training”

Real Costs of Prisons, Northampton, MA “Advocacy for Prisoner’s Rights”

Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, Northampton – Immigration rights advocacy

Sojourner Truth School for Social Justice, Northampton MA – for training in social justice leadership

Springfield No One Leaves, Springfield, MA “STOP Campaign and Youth Leadership Training”

Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, Greenfield MA – to expand library resources and youth voices

Visions of Labor Working Group, Amherst MA for Spanish translations for participants in Visions of Labor Film and Workers Voices Program at UMass November 8-10

Voices from Inside, Greenfield MA – for training and transportation of previously incarcerated women to performances

Western Mass Medicare for All, Northampton, MA “ Continuing education and outreach”

We invite you to visit the websites and engage in and support the activities of our grantees. They are vital to the moral fiber and success of our region.


The Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice – Who We Are

The Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice serves grassroots social justice and peace groups in Western Massachusetts. The fund was created in 2009 by Northampton activist organizers Marty Nathan and Arky Markham, with their friends, in honor of their deceased husbands’ tireless devotion to building a better world. The MNF makes awards of up to $3000 to small activist organizations in Western Massachusetts that are dedicated to organizing and supporting the poor and powerless for a more just and peaceful world. An organization can have income from other sources to up to 175,000.

In the past five years, the MNF has distributed over $100,000 in grants; the MNF depends on the support of individual contributors with all donations going to our grantees. The MNF works with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts who are a 501(c)3 tax deductible non-profit organization.

The Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice is deeply saddened by the passing of Arky Markham on June 11, 2018,
ten days before her 103rd birthday.

Please click here to read her obituary, published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Members of the Board

Heather Abel
Héctor Figarella
Elliot Fratkin
Jim Levey
Sabine Merz
Marty Nathan
Mary Siano
Gary Tartakov
Jon Weissman


George Markham (1909-2009) was a tireless advocate for workers rights, economic justice, social change, and single payer health care.  As a legislative agent for the Massachusetts CIO in 1946, George was instrumental in the passage of the Fair Employment Practices Act and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.  Shortly after moving to Northampton in 1971, he organized the Northampton Elder Americans, and founded and was the first chair of the local CPPAX chapter.  He has served on the Democratic City Committee and was Democrat of the Year.  Never afraid to take on the “powers that be” George challenged, argued, demonstrated and demanded for what was right.   He was a journalist, intellectual, professor, gardener, chef, writer, and an unyielding, uncompromising activist for justice.  He was married to Arky Markham for 40 years.

George and Arky Markham.

Rose “Arky” Markham (1915-2018) has devoted her life to the cause of social justice, anti-war and anti-racism work, and single payer health care.  She was a founding member of the Franklin/Hampshire Health Care Coalition and an active member of MassCare, an organization whose sole mission is the enactment of single payer health care.  Arky and George were leaders in efforts to get legislative appropriation of $50,000 to study the feasibility of a state single payer system.  In 1982 Arky was a founding member of Social Workers for Peace and Justice which advocates for single payer health care and political freedom in Latin American countries.  She was an early and strong opponent of the war in Vietnam (her first date with George was at a demonstration against the war).  Arky was also a founding member of Pioneer Valley Coalition Against Secrecy and Torture and a founder and early board member of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.  Arky was active in anti-war vigils, lobbying, leafleting, organizing, presentations and educational programs.  She was married to George for 40 years.

Mike Nathan, MD (1947-1979) was born in Chicago of working class immigrant parents and grew up in Washington, DC. He first became active against the Vietnam War in high school and was a leader of the student support of Black housekeepers at Duke University and participated in a takeover of the University President’s house in 1969 to demand their union’s recognition.  As a pediatrician he treated children in the community health center in the heart of Durham, NC’s African-American Community and raised medical supplies for the Zimbabwean liberation movement fighting against apartheid in what was then Rhodesia. He also led a support movement for African-American laundry workers who contracted tuberculosis while working at Durham County General Hospital. He was murdered while attending an anti-KuKluxKlan march in Greensboro, NC, on November 3, 1979. Forty Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis drove into the gathering and shot and killed Mike and his friends Sandi Smith, Cesar Cauce, Bill Sampson and Jim Waller. All had been active in unionization efforts in the area and a civil rights suit 1985 found Klansmen, Nazis and Greensboro Police liable for Mike’s death.

Marty Nathan, MD is a physician residing in Northampton and working at Brightwood Health Center in Springfield. After the death of her first husband, Michael, Marty and other survivors successfully sued Klansmen, Nazis and Greensboro Police and, with the judgment won in this case, Marty helped initiate and for 15 years directed the Greensboro Justice Fund as a funding organization. Over the next twenty years the GJF raised and gave away $500,000 as grants to small groups fighting for civil rights and social justice in the US South. Marty has lived in the Northampton area since 1995, and was a founder, with her friend Arky Markham, of the Northampton Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Pioneer Valley Coalition Against Secrecy and Torture and the Pioneer Valley Coalition to Prevent War on Iran. She is currently on the steering committee of Climate Action Now and founding member of The Cliniquita Fund of the Pioneer Valley Project. She is married to Elliot Fratkin and has three children: Leah Nathan and Mulugetta and Masaye Fratkin.

Marty and Arky, with their friends, created the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice in honor of their husbands. It serves grassroots social justice and peace groups in Western Massachusetts. They urge you to join them to support those groups that are working to build a better world.