Who was Jack Martin?

Jack's Story

Read the full article “1953 – 200 Women Built a Polio Citadel"

Jack Martin was a beloved business executive who died of Polio at the age of 34. After a weekend country outing in 1950, Jack came home to Manhattan with a bad cold. Two days later, he entered the hospital. Two days after that, he died of infantile paralysis–a quick acting infectious disease that weakens the muscles and causes inability to move. Widely referred to as Polio, infantile paralysis was common in the U.S. during the late 19th century. The worst epidemics occurred in the 1940s and 50s, before the invention and implementation of the polio vaccine in the 1950s.

Before his passing, Jack had attended New York University (where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and the Psi Chi psychology society), had served as a captain in the coast artillery, and was president of the Embros Curtain Company at 230 Fifth Avenue. A close friend of the Martin family recalled that Jack had “taken his father’s small curtain importing business and turned it into a thriving modern manufacturing operation with a plant at Bush Terminal and a showroom in Manhattan.”

After Jack’s death, his family, friends and associates established The Jack Martin Fund in his memory. Jack’s sister, Mrs. Vita Feldman took charge of the effort to create a memorial by building and maintaining a respirator center–needed to treat polio–at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where Jack Martin was treated. In an interview given with the New York Times in 1953, Mrs. Feldman noted that the organization had already grown to 200 members–all local women, most of whom were mothers committed to conquering Polio.

Once the Fund had $65,000, they consulted The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) for guidance on how the funds could be used best.

In partnership with the NFIP – the Jack Martin Fund was able to establish the first respirator center between Miami and Boston. The Jack Martin Polio Clinic was officially opened and dedicated in 1956. The 17 bed facility cost $200,000 to construct and was located on the first floor of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Children’s Pavilion at Fifth Avenue and 100th Street.

The NFIP also helped support the center’s operations once it had opened, as it did for a network of fifteen similar installations used for expanded Polio research throughout the United States.

By the 1960s, the Salk Vaccine had dramatically reduced the need for polio treatment respirator centers. It was at that time that the Jack Martin Fund made the decision to continue to support the Mount Sinai Hospital System in areas that were identified as those with an urgent need for support.

By that time, Gustave Feldman, Vita’s Husband, was the Chairman of the organization and the Fund was able to establish & fund the Adolescent Psychiatry Division at Mt. Sinai in 1960. Mr. Feldman and the Fund’s early supporters continued to raise funds for the organization by holding an annual Dinner Dance at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan.

This annual gathering was attended by many well-known New Yorkers with a specific focus on the NYC based Garment industry and dress manufacturing business.

During the following decades the Jack Martin Fund was led & supported by the founder members friends, families and their contemporaries.

Jack Martin has been instrumental in providing support to Mount Sinai that has led to:

  • Establishing the largest children’s diabetes clinic in New York City
  • Developing a new heart-assist device that eliminates the need for a second major open-heart surgical procedure
  • Creating a special clinic for early detection of cancer of the cervix
  • Renovating the Mount Sinai Blood Bank
  • Establishing a $2 million Jack Martin Endowment Fund to assure a perpetual source of support for medical research and education
  • Establishing and naming The Jack Martin Fund Clinic, to provide outpatient care for HIV sufferers

JMF has also funded seminal research in areas including: heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, ileitis and colitis, occupational lung disease and the effectiveness of certain drugs and chemical compounds in patients with Cancer.

In the early 1990’s an annual golf outing replaced the dinner dance and now serves as the primary annual fundraising event.

By the late 1990’s, Jack Martin and Mount Sinai identified the need for a dedicated and focused organization to support the Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Department at the hospital. The fund has been able to provide the Jack Martin Fund Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology with support of in excess of $6 million in the last 15 years. Since its inception, the Fund has now been able to provide gifts totaling more than $36 million to Mount Sinai.

To this day, the organization has stayed true to its Founder’s goals of maintaining and building the organization without the use of any paid employees so that all funds that are raised are able to be used to further the cause of providing support to Mount Sinai and the JMF Division of Pediatric Hematology & Oncology.


We invite your participation in this latest and most ambitious project undertaken by

The Jack Martin Fund. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.