People: Jeff Martinez

Opportunity led to transformation for alumnus Jeff Martinez, executive director of Brothers Redevelopment.

By Mindy Sink

Publish Date: April 22, 2013

Jeff Martinez
Jeff Martinez serves as executive director of Brothers Redevelopment Inc., which
provides affordable housing and home-related assistance to low-income, elderly and
disabled residents and homeowners in Denver. Photo: Evan Semón

Sometimes getting a degree is just the first step in finding one’s purpose in life.

Jeff Martinez is the first to admit that his degree in journalism and public relations from MSU Denver in 1995 did not foretell his current position as executive director of Brothers Redevelopment Inc.

“I never made my living as a journalist,” he says. “I did get a lot of experience at Metro in the public relations vein, and it framed my career.

Martinez left high school with a low GPA, so he was ready to prove himself when he started college. “Opportunity led to transformation,” he says. “Metro’s j-school faculty and college communications staff didn’t just teach me to write press releases — they taught me how to think strategically and challenge prevailing notions. Doing so in my own career led me to look for an opportunity to better serve the community, which led me to Brothers Redevelopment.

After graduation Martinez, now 42, worked in public affairs at Kaiser Permanente, as a public information officer for the city of Aurora, and at private public relations agencies in Denver. Brothers Redevelopment became a client, and with his background in municipal government, Martinez was able to quickly understand the nonprofit's needs.

“I valued their mission, what they stood for and how they went about helping people in the community,” he says. “I told them, ‘One of these days, I’d love to come and work for you.’ In 2006, they took me up on the offer.”

Brothers Redevelopment provides affordable housing and home-related assistance to low-income, elderly, and disabled Denver-area residents and homeowners.

“Here, we’re transforming the lives and perspectives of the low-income, elderly and disabled residents who seek our services,” he says. “Whether they’re looking for help in maintaining or making their home safe, trying to hold onto their home and prevent a foreclosure or simply looking for some place they can call their home, Brothers has the power to change their outlook by preserving their most important investment or providing them some housing-related hope when they have no place to turn for assistance.”

It was his exposure to the issue of affordable housing during his work in city government that Martinez credits for his ability to understand complex federal and state contracts for affordable housing.

“Knowing that we’re an agency of last resort for so many people in need is something that energizes me. It’s also the kind of challenge — and opportunity — that compelled me to change my career path in the first place.”

MSU Denver students volunteer with Brothers Redevelopment’s annual Paint-a-Thon (March through September) in the nearby La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood. Learn more about Brothers Redevelopment Inc. or get involved at www.brothersredevelopment.org.