Good thing that Martha Fogler took four years of Spanish in high school, as it would come in handy years down the road when she became a tireless volunteer and advocate for Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (Our Little Brothers and Sisters) – a charity that provides homes to orphaned and abandoned children.
The Michigan transplant came to Arizona to attend the University of Arizona, and like so many who hail from cold weather climates, she never left.
“My dad attended U of A, and so he, of course, wanted me to go there. We did tour ASU, but he pretty much rushed me through that visit,” Fogler remembered with a chuckle.
Fogler majored in finance and went to work for a bank upon graduation. It was a short-lived stint.
“I wanted to work for the Peace Corps,” she said. “My mom had a heart for service and passed along the spirit of philanthropy to all of us kids.”
The youngest of four, Fogler recalls that her father admitted that she was “a mistake,” but he would go on to add, “the best mistake I’ve ever made!” She has more than lived up to the praise.
Fogler has been serving NPH for over 15 years, on both their regional and national boards, and she travels to neighboring cities to recruit volunteers and raise money.
She has become a passionate torchbearer for the nonprofit. “What I am doing now is what I love,” Fogler said.
“I fell in love with the organization and the people they serve on my very first trip to the home in Miacatlán, Mexico. I was so sad to leave that my heart hurt,” she said.
Fogler took her children – Emma, Kate and Will – to the homes when they were young, with the intent of also igniting their philanthropic spirit.
NPH currently has 14 homes in nine countries, including Latin America and the Caribbean, and they are currently caring for nearly 7,300 children. The homes are like communities that provide housing, education and medical care, and all total, more than 26,000 children have grown up in the NPH family since its founding in 1954.
When Fogler isn’t busy pouring herself into community service, she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking and practicing yoga. Her latest hobby is pickleball, which she and her husband, Dave, pursue with a passion. “I think I’m addicted,” she admitted.
Fogler has lived in Arcadia for nearly 30 years, and she says it has been wonderful as it reminds her of the Midwest with its green lawns and citrus trees. “We love walking our dog, Duke, or riding bikes throughout the neighborhood.”
Anyone who knows Fogler says her superpower is in bringing people together for the common good. “I like connecting people and enjoy talking to anyone,” she said.
“My advice to young people getting started in life is to use your passion and find a way to serve others. Through service, one can learn so much about themselves and the world around them.”
Sage advice for us all.