ZPG Society Member Martha “Marti” Scheel

Written by Sarah Ikemoto, Development Manager | Published: September 11, 2023

The ZPG Society is our recognition group for members who have made a gift in their will or trust, established a Charitable Gift Annuity, or designated Population Connection as a beneficiary of their retirement fund or other financial account. Development Manager Sarah Ikemoto spoke with ZPG Society member Martha “Marti” Scheel about her commitment to zero population growth. We are grateful to Marti and all our generous legacy donors!

Marti Scheel has been aware of the population movement since the first Earth Day in 1970, when Population Connection was known by its founding name of Zero Population Growth (ZPG). She has been a member since 1990, and we have been honored to include Marti in our ZPG Society.

Marti considers herself to be a pro-choice feminist. She grew up as the eldest child in a large Midwestern family. Describing her experience caretaking for her younger siblings, “I was a parent when I should’ve been a kid, and I had no desire to be a parent.” She continues, “I didn’t want to get pregnant and had my tubes tied when I was 30. I thought it was important to have control over my own fertility.”

Marti was so inspired by the pro-choice movement that she volunteered with Planned Parenthood to give others similar opportunities to make decisions about their own fertility. This early volunteerism showed Marti that there are more ways to give than direct financial commitments.

Marti worked hard, earning her library science degree from The Catholic University of America, and was employed in technical services at federal and university libraries in the Metro Washington, DC, area. Yet, it was through her volunteerism that she was able to pursue her passions: helping church groups in disaster response such as post-Katrina cleanup in New Orleans, building houses both domestically and internationally for Habitat for Humanity, cycling in bike-a-thon fundraisers, and knitting hats to be distributed to school children in Maryland.

Now retired and living in New Orleans, Marti continues to live her philosophy that “there are other people we can help, and we need to work at
a larger scale and work together.”

Marti loves to travel and volunteer and has been on more than 10 volunteer service trips since retiring. As a single person, she appreciates these trips as a rewarding way to meet and work with like-minded individuals and to become more connected to a different culture than tourists normally do—and together to improve the lives of people she otherwise would not
have met.

Marti looks forward to reading about all of Population Connection’s programs in our magazine. Her passion for education makes her an ardent supporter of Population Education, and she’s also inspired by Population Connection’s advocacy work, as she’s “worried about the future of young people’s rights to abortion in this country.” Marti says, “I really thought that we were moving forward on this, but now I see people who are anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-progressive, not only in the United States but in other countries as well. We’ve got a lot work to do. I’m here, I’m still kickin’, still votin’, and still throwing some money at elections.”

Marti’s commitment to service inspires us here at Population Connection. We are grateful for her investment in our work over the long-term by including a gift to Population Connection in her will. We’re proud to work together to foster the world of opportunity Marti envisions. If you’re interested in learning how you can include Population Connection in your estate plans, please contact us at legacy@popconnect.org. You may also go online to create your will for free, at freewill.com/populationconnection.