Ralph exemplifies what it means to create economic injustice and inclusion throughout an entire career, and his commitment to social justice in our communities endures.
The award, now in its 34th year, recognizes community leaders who have made an outstanding impact in addressing critical social justice issues. Ralph has dedicated his career to advancing economic inclusion, and his commitment to social justice in our communities endures.
Through his 40+ years of service as a public leader, business advisor, mentor and trial lawyer, Ralph has worked to bridge the gaps created by systemic inequities and build stronger communities. He is widely known across the region for his inclusive leadership, and advocacy for people and communities who are historically underrepresented.
Watching his father, a New York City Police Officer in the 1940s and 1950s, experience racism in the police department, Ralph was influenced at a young age. His father introduced him to a Black prosecutor, who sparked Ralph’s passion to make a difference and served as a role model for him.
His career is defined by varied roles in law, healthcare, business, government and academia, and, through it all, he has consistently risen to leadership roles in our communities. He has pioneered efforts at the intersections of law, business strategy, public policy and government regulation, and applies what he has learned to advance equity and inclusion. He most recently served 11 years at Northeastern University, where he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel.
He was a critical member of Northeastern’s leadership team that increased its geographic footprint in major cities throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and was instrumental in bridging town-gown challenges between the university community and surrounding neighborhoods in Boston.
He is also the former Suffolk County District Attorney, having served as the first Black, elected prosecutor for Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop for 10 years, where he was credited with helping to oversee substantial changes in the way law enforcement collaborated with other agencies to improve crime prevention and prosecution.
Ralph served two separate terms as Chair of the Board of The Partnership, Inc., the premier New England organization focused on workforce development for professionals of color at all levels of leadership. He previously served as a Partner and Boston Office Managing Partner with Bingham McCutchen, as Chair of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and as a Board Member at Blue Cross Blue Shield. He is currently a Partner at Prince Lobel, and serves on both the Board and Executive Committee of Boston Children’s Hospital.
“No matter the setting—whether healthcare, higher education, government, non-profit, or business—Ralph Martin has defined his career in the pursuit of fairness, equity and social justice for people who need to be heard,” said Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Foundation. “There are many facets to Ralph’s leadership—every one of them important—and we’re proud to not only celebrate his accomplishments, but also to inspire others to reflect on his example of building community that spans an entire career. We are honored to present Ralph with the 2022 Social Justice Award.”
“To be recognized by Eastern Bank and the Eastern Bank Foundation is especially humbling given their long-standing and deep commitment to social justice,” said Ralph C. Martin II. “I share this honor with the many people who make collaborations to advance equity and inclusion possible, and are committed to working together to create a better community for all.”
This year’s Social Justice Award was presented during the Celebration of Social Justice attended by more than 600 community leaders.
Pictured at Eastern Bank’s 2022 Celebration of Social Justice are left to right: Quincy Miller, Vice Chair and President of Eastern Bank; Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Foundation; Ralph C. Martin II, 2022 Social Justice Award Honoree; and Bob Rivers, CEO and Chair of the Board of Eastern Bank.
Photo Credit: Nathan Fontes-Fried
About Eastern Bank Foundation
Created in 1994, the Eastern Bank Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Boston-based Eastern Bank. Through philanthropy, employee volunteerism, advocacy and collaborations with other businesses and community partners, Eastern Bank Foundation responds to community needs and supports sustainable solutions to our communities’ most vexing challenges across eastern Massachusetts, southern and coastal New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. This includes advancing economic inclusion and mobility in such areas as equity in the small business ecosystem, enriching early childhood development, securing safe and affordable housing, and promoting workforce development. To learn more, visit easternbank.com/foundation.