Martha Bergmark is the founding executive director of Voices for Civil Justice.
Over three decades, she has founded and/or led several initiatives for equal justice under law, both at the national level in Washington, DC and in Mississippi, where she grew up.
In 2003, Bergmark was named the Stern Family Fund’s Public Interest Pioneer. This honor came with a $200,000 grant to launch the Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ), which she led until 2013. She and her colleague started MCJ sharing a single desk in a spare room at a law office. A decade later, the Center has a $4.3 million annual operating budget and a staff of 35. She still serves as a board member and senior counsel.
Before that, Bergmark spent 15 years as an advocate for equal justice under the law in Washington, DC. She served tenures as president and executive vice president of the Legal Services Corporation, which administers federal funding for legal aid programs. She was also senior vice president for programs at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, where she directed the Project for the Future of Equal Justice (a joint initiative with the Center for Law and Social Policy).
Bergmark began her legal career practicing civil rights and poverty law for 14 years in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. There she was the founding executive director of Southeast Mississippi Legal Services (now Mississippi Center for Legal Services).
Bergmark is a former Reginald Heber Smith Fellow and the 1990 recipient of the Kutak-Dodds Prize for her civil rights and legal aid work in her home state of Mississippi. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Oberlin College, earned her law degree cum laude at the University of Michigan Law School and holds honorary degrees from Oberlin College and Millsaps College.
Areas of Expertise
access to justice; race and civil rights; the Deep South; disaster assistance
Contact Info & Writings
bergmark AT voicesforciviljustice DOT org
Writings by Martha Bergmark on this site.