Legacy of Love: Martha Austine Ralph Endowment Fund

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A legacy of love is what spurred H. deForest Ralph, Jr. to establish the Martha Austine Ralph Endowment Fund for the Balázs Scholar’s Spouse at Starr King School.

Married for over 56 years, the Texas-based couple have devoted their lives to promoting greater peace and justice between people and cultures. As members of the Emerson Unitarian Universalist church in Houston, they’ve chaired the partner-church committee since the mid-90’s, raising thousands of dollars for their sister Transylvanian church.

Mr. Ralph wants to honor his wife and their shared work by establishing the fund to ensure the well being of Starr King School’s Balázs Scholars Program. The Balázs Scholars Program has brought a Unitarian Transylvanian minister to study at Starr King since 1994.  The Scholars participate in the  life of Starr King School while traveling extensively to preach and lecture at UU congregations across the continent on the abiding need for liberal religious values in our world.

In 2010, Martha Ralph was honored  at General Assembly by the UU Partner Church Council as a Steward of Partnership.

Zoltan family

This year’s Balázs Scholar, Zoltán (Zoli) Kopándi-Benczédi, and family at Starr King

Mr. Ralph has ensured that the scholar’s family is loved and cared for while in our country. He recently arranged for the repair of a cleft lip of one scholar’s child and has made it possible for several spouses of Balázs scholars to have personal income to travel and study while in the United States. Mr. Ralph’s generosity models the legacy of Francis Balázs, for whom the Scholars program is named, who wrote of himself: “He saw untold miseries and believed in work. He saw animosity and believed in love.”

May this holiday season be one in which our belief in love is strengthened by acts of generosity and care like those shown by Mr. Ralph.