Community advocate Jairo Martinez earns KPIX Jefferson Award

'JM Toy Giveaway' part of growing charities run by local family, friends
Jairo Martinez (wearing Puma jacket) and his family at one of their holiday giveaway events. (Photo contributed)

Jairo Martinez, the Richmond native and Pinole resident who in 2018 began using a portion of his paychecks to help community members in need, leading to the formation of two impactful and growing charities supported by his family and friends, has been named the first KPIX Jefferson Award recipient of 2022. The Jefferson Award honors people who make a difference in their communities.

“Today, he’s multiplying his service to the community,” KPIX news anchor Allen Martin stated in a report last week.

In November, the Standard profiled how Martinez, his family and friends have been holding large food and toy giveaways benefiting East Bay residents in need. Martinez saves a portion of his salary from his job at an industrial paint company and from operating his family business, Richmond-based JM Customs, according to KPIX. His mother and wife help raise funds for the efforts by making and selling tacos. 

Martinez’s efforts led to the formation of JM Charity, supported by his family, and La Diferencia, supported by his friends. The organizations hold holiday events to support people in need in the East Bay. They’ve also raised funds to support a family of a coworker who died along with his wife, and also a 3-year-old girl suffering from a brain tumor.

“Jairo and his family are also known to buy lunch for San Pablo police to show appreciation for their community service and partnership,” KPIX reporter Sharon Chin reported.

San Pablo police Capt. Brian Bubar told Chin the department “is very happy to have Jairo within our family, within our community.”

Martinez was inspired to begin charitable works by his parents, “who make giving a priority despite the financial challenges of raising four sons,” said Chin.

He plans to expand JM Charity to provide school supplies for underserved kids and for those on the autism spectrum, Chin added.