Paula’s Promise

The founding story of the Paula Ford-Martin Memorial Fund

Paula Ford-Martin was an accomplished writer and editor who passed away on March 25, 2020 after five years with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She was humble about her endless achievements, but she took most pride in her role as a mother and as an advocate. Paula demonstrated nothing but love and support for all four of her children (two are transgender, three are gay, and all are fierce advocates). Despite the advancing metastases in her brain, Paula always strived to educate herself and the people around her in the way of kindness and tolerance. She pored over endless literature about LGBTQ+ issues and became deeply involved with advocacy groups serving queer and gender-nonconforming teens. Her kind heart and passion for writing always motivated her to fight for human rights and equality, no matter what she was facing in her own life. 

In a letter outlining her final wishes, Paula stated that her greatest desire is “an LGBTQ+ scholarship to reward those students that have gone above and beyond to bring awareness and equality to their school and community.” Thanks to the generous support of all those who loved her, that dream became a reality overnight. By the end of March, the fund had already raised nearly $10,000. Paula’s son Cas, a proud trans man and nonprofit professional, established the Paula Ford-Martin Memorial Fund as a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to ensure that his mother will continue to transform the lives of LGBTQA+ youth for many years to come.

Paula Ford-Martin

Paula Ford-Martin

March 17, 1968 – March 25, 2020


“What would Paula do?”


Respect & Resilience

Kindness was always king in Paula’s house. Unconditional love and respect for others was the foundation of all that she did. Even on her deathbed, Paula was a source of strength and joy for the people who needed it most.


Passionate & Progressive

Paula was a fierce advocate: not only for her LGBTQ+ children, but for all those facing discrimination. She always strived to honor and amplify marginalized voices in her work, making intersectionality the foundation of the Fund. As we build our public presence, we will share stories of excellence from all young LGBTQ+ people, especially those from trans/GNC youth and communities of color.


Realistic & Optimistic

It is important to acknowledge, decry, and take action against the many injustices that LGBTQ+ youth face. Nevertheless, we are organizing with an attitude of optimism: by fostering awareness, empowerment, and action for change in our local communities. By sharing stories of young LGBTQ+ excellence and investing in their futures, we hope to inspire parents, school administrators, policymakers, and allies everywhere to do the same.


One of a Kind

The world will never know a greater force for good than Paula Ford-Martin. She spent her life working to secure a safe and prosperous future for children, and she dedicated her legacy to securing that same future for LGBTQ+ youth everywhere. We vow to honor Paula’s life by passionately supporting and expanding her Memorial Fund for years to come.