Purpose and History of the Trust
The John Martin Trust (JMT) of the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia exists to aid financially needy Friends in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. It gives aid through the Monthly Meetings, not directly to individuals.
Elizabeth Simms, a seamstress and once a servant of William Penn, married John Martin, a Quaker tailor. Penn gave Simms the property at 320 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, on which she and her husband built a small stone cottage. John Martin inherited this property from his wife, and at his death in 1702, left it to the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (now at 4th and Arch Streets) to be used to assist poor and necessitous Friends.
A succession of buildings on the property were devoted to the care of needy Friends, including a large two-story building known for many years as the Friends Almshouse. In 1841, when the Commonwealth took over the care of the indigent, Friends built an office building on the site as a rental property. This office building was sold in 1924, and the proceeds of that sale provided the funds for the John Martin Trust (JMT) with which we are able to assist needy Friends today.
Fund Administration and Determining Need
The JMT Distribution Committee of the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia at 4th and Arch Streets administers the JMT under the supervision of the Monthly Meeting. It is our intention to assist, in accordance with John Martin’s wishes, those members of Monthly Meetings within Philadelphia Yearly Meeting who truly need financial assistance.
Each Monthly Meeting within the Yearly Meeting has the primary responsibility for:
- Determining that a member is in financial need;
- Establishing the amount needed at the time of application to JMT, and making sure that the sum granted or loaned by JMT is used as intended;
- Facilitating completion of Part 2 of the JMT application: The Monthly Meeting and the JMT Trust Distribution Committee assess financial need with this information. This section asks for current financial information. Please note that home equity does NOT disqualify a Friend from receiving assistance from the JMT, though it does make the JMT Distribution Committee more likely to provide a loan, payable upon sale of the home, rather than a grant.
Confidentiality is Absolutely Essential
To that end we ask that each Meeting designate one representative to correspond with us, usually the Clerk of Care or Assistance. We also ask that initials, rather than full names, be used throughout the application. Information from the application and any conversations related to the application will be used only by the JMT Distribution Committee, and is kept confidential.
Amounts and Types of Financial Assistance Provided
JMT most often provides grants to Friends in financial need.
Absent extraordinary circumstances, the maximum amount of a JMT grant is $7,500 per person per six-month period. Currently, there is no limit to the number of times a Friend may receive such a grant.
Grants are made for 6-month terms: January to June and July to December. The committee asks that requests be submitted at least one month before a term begins, but will consider later requests. Recipients may repeat their requests for assistance.
Grants are made generally in January and July of each year, but may be made at any time. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and requests for an application form.
Part 1 — The cover letter from the Meeting’s representative should describe the circumstances of the applicant in sufficient detail to make clear the member’s full situation. This information is vital for the JMT Distribution Committee.
Part 2 — of the JMT application is the declaration by the applicant of income, assets, liabilities, and expenses. It is the basis for the Meeting’s judgment as to the actual financial need. If the cover letter (Part 1) indicates substantial assets, the JMT Distribution Committee may consider a loan rather than a grant. Part 2 specifies the name of the Monthly Meeting, and the code initials which identify the individual without giving a name.
Part 3 — is the Monthly Meeting’s application for a grant from JMT, in an amount determined by the financial information supplied in Part 2. Part 3 also requests the name and address of the Monthly Meeting Treasurer who is to receive the check.
In the case of those who request ongoing support for 3 years or more, the committee may require full reporting only once a year, with a narrative interim report. The JMT Distribution Committee may request additional documentation at its discretion.
After receiving an application
- The Clerk of the JMT Distribution Committee reviews it and, if needed, requests additional information.
- The JMT Distribution Committee reviews the application and decides whether to approve the request as a grant, or a loan, to deny it, or to request additional information.
- The JMT Distribution Committee notifies the Meeting’s representative of its decision, and arranges for a check be sent to the Meeting’s treasurer.
JMT Distribution Committee
JMT Committee Members are appointed by the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (Arch Street).
To maintain confidentiality please follow the application process outlined above and send inquiries to:email@example.com