Community Builder: Ahmed Martin ’98
Ahmed Martin ‘98 is using his background in urban planning to develop businesses that address the health and nutritional needs of urban communities.
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Ahmed Martin ’98 saw an opportunity to combine his professional skills and personal commitment to the greater good. “I was curious to understand what was happening on the ground as opposed to what I was seeing on TV,” says Ahmed.
Ahmed’s path to New Orleans started at Fay, where he assumed a leadership role as the Red Team Color President. From there, he went on to Brooks School and then Wesleyan University, where he graduated with a degree in history and discovered an interest in urban planning. “I became interested in the development of cities and the idea that if communities want to improve themselves they need to be more knowledgeable about how their built environment is created.”
After Wesleyan, Ahmed was selected as a Rockefeller Foundation Scholar at the Center for Urban Excellence (CUREx) at the University of Pennsylvania, an urban planning graduate program formed in the aftermath of Katrina to place development professionals into organizations to help rebuild New Orleans. In New Orleans, Ahmed worked with The Road Home Program, coordinating the dispensation of state and federal funds to homeowners and The New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative. While there, he assisted the Community Development Corporation in designing and constructing 50 affordable housing units and developing another 400 units. In 2010, Ahmed moved to Pittsburgh, where he has held urban development leadership roles in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, an experience that he describes as deeply satisfying.
Ahmed is currently expanding his commitment to community development to focus on projects that improve the whole health of community members. Ahmed is investing in a partnership between the Urban Civic Group and 123 PHHC, a home health agency in Pittsburgh, to develop a next-generation housing strategy that incorporates telehealth technology. He is also an investor in CORE (Creative, Organic, Ready to Eat) Meals, a locally-sourced, dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, prepared meal service designed to combat poor nutrition in urban areas. “I’ve always had a desire to fight for the underdog,” says Ahmed. “There are critical issues related to black access to health, food, and shelter, and it makes me feel good to be a part of creating solutions in whatever small way I can.”