ACE has announced that Martina Edwards has joined the organization as Chief of Strategic Partnerships. In this new role, Edwards is responsible for all fundraising activities for the nonprofit organization and, in partnership with ACE President and CEO Grace Fricks, will establish and implement fundraising goals and strategies. Edwards has more than 18 years of experience as a business professional and nonprofit leader, including work in corporate fundraising, partnership development and relationship management, where she has delivered strong results in operations, strategy and finance objectives.
“Our greater focus on fundraising is a direct result of our bold growth strategy,” said Fricks. “It’s simple: The more funding we bring in, the more we can promote job growth and retention by helping underserved small-business owners create and grow strong, sustainable businesses. With her skill set, Martina will help us stay on track to achieve our goals and, hopefully, exceed them.”
ACE is focused on assisting small-business owners of color, women, low-income entrepreneurs and others who lack equitable access to small-business financing across Metro Atlanta and rural North Georgia. Since its inception, ACE has been supported by grants and other forms of funding from banks, foundations, government entities and corporations to assist in its mission to help underserved business owners.
“I look forward to nurturing ACE’s relationships with its current and future supporters, and to showing them how their philanthropic support and commitment to community investment changes lives,” said Edwards. “It will be rewarding to share the many stories of how the funding they provide enables ACE to foster economic growth while positively impacting the lives of the business owners, their families and their communities.”
Prior to joining ACE, Edwards was vice president of corporate partnerships at Points of Light in Atlanta, and she served as a senior director of alternative investments and alumni programs for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity in New York City. She also worked as interim executive director and director of finance at a Kaplan Higher Education college in Maryland. Before that, she was a private client manager at US Trust and a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) broker for Merrill Lynch. In 2004, she became the first African-American female trading broker for Merrill Lynch on the floor of the NYSE and, subsequently, the only African-American woman stock trader among the 1,366 members of the NYSE at that time.
Edwards spends a significant amount of her time giving back to the community. She enthusiastically serves as a member of the Leadership Council for Junior Achievement of Georgia, the Advisory Board for Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership and the board for Atlanta Beltline 67. She is also a 2017 Fellow of New Leaders Council Atlanta. Edwards earned a B.S. in Finance from Tuskegee University and an MBA from University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School, where she completed an exchange at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and global immersions in India and Mexico.