John Martin Trust


To assist financially needy Friends of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. The John Martin Trust Distribution Committee reviews and determines grants to necessitous Friends.


Monthly Meetings within Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, on behalf of an individual member with financial need. Active attenders will also be considered. Individuals cannot directly apply.


The John Martin Trust (JMT) most often provides grants to Friends in financial need. The maximum amount of a JMT grant currently is $8500 per person per six-month period. Grants are given for 6 month terms: January to June and July to December. The committee prefers that requests be submitted at least one month before a term begins, but will consider later requests. Recipients may repeat their requests for assistance.


  1. In the interests of confidentiality, the JMT Distribution Committee asks that each requesting Monthly Meeting choose only one person (usually the Clerk of Care or the Assistance Committee) to be the Meeting’s representative to correspond with the Trust.
  2. The requesting Monthly Meeting’s representative determines the member's financial need. JMT application forms and guidelines are intended to assist with this determination. The Clerk of the John Martin Trust Distribution Committee is available for consultation as necessary.
  3. The required application form and spreadsheet can be downloaded as electronic documents at the bottom of this page. See Application Materials below to access the forms. The Committee prefers electronic submission, but if the applications are to be sent on paper, request paper forms on our Contact Us page. Completed paper forms should be mailed to the address noted below:
    1. The Meeting’s representative completes the JMT application, including a cover letter explaining the necessitous member’s circumstances; the applicant will provide his or her financial assets and expenses; and
    2. Submits the completed application on behalf of its member to the JMT Clerk to, or by mail to 320 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. Using paper forms is likely to slow the process.
  4. The Clerk of the JMT Distribution Committee reviews the application and requests additional information as needed.
  5. The JMT Distribution Committee reviews the application and decides whether to approve the request, deny it, or request additional information.
  6. The JMT Distribution Committee notifies the Meeting’s representative of their decision, and asks that a check be sent to the requesting Meeting’s treasurer.

In the event that funds are repaid, or returned, checks must be made payable to the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia, and mailed to the meeting at 320 Arch Street, Philadelphia PA 19106.

A Brief History of the John Martin Trust Fund

Elizabeth Simms, a seamstress and once a servant of William Penn, married John Martin, a Quaker tailor. Penn gave Simms the property at 320 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, on which she and her husband built a small stone cottage. John Martin inherited this property from his wife, and at his death in 1702, left it to the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (now at 4th and Arch Streets) to be used to assist poor and necessitous Friends. A succession of buildings on the property were devoted to the care of needy Friends, including a large two-story building known for many years as the Friends Almshouse. In 1841, when the Commonwealth took over the care of the indigent, Friends built an office building on the site as a rental property. This office building was sold in 1924, and the proceeds of that sale provided the funds for the John Martin Trust (JMT), so that we are able to assist necessitous Friends today.

The John Martin Trust also provides Philadelphia Yearly Meeting with the financing of its Emergency Grants, available for immediate grants of up to $2000 for needy PYM members.

Need to Contact the JMT Distribution Committee?

Please direct all inquiries to the Clerk of John Martin Trust Distribution Committee ( For further questions, you can also visit our Contact Us page to fill out the message submission form. Please ensure you select the message topic John Martin Trust so that your inquiry reaches the JMT Distribution Committee.