INDIVIDUAL | Inducted 2007 [Now Deceased]

Martin Gapshis, 60, president of Progress Printing, for long-standing service to the city of Chicago, including the City’s green initiatives, Lakefront Supportive Housing, Chicago International Film Festival, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the NAMES Project, and the Center on Halsted.

Martin Gapshis, a Chicago native, has served both the city and its LGBT Mcommunities throughout most of his adult life, demonstrating a quiet commitment to improving the lives of others.

As the president of Progress Printing Corporation for many years, he has shown extraordinary generosity with his time and his company’s resources, making in-kind donations to virtually every not-for-profit organization in the city, particularly benefiting those in the LGBT communities. He cares deeply about fair and honest governance of organizations, the enrichment of programming, attention to board representation, and many other issues, which has made him an effective leader in numerous organizations.

For the past five years, Gapshis has served as a Capital Campaign Leadership Campaign Co-Chairman for Center on Halsted, Chicago’s new LGBT community center, helping to raise $20 million for construction of the largest center of its kind in the United States today. He has served on the board of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago; currently serves on the emeritus board of Cinema/Chicago, parent organization of the annual Chicago International Film Festival; and is on the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum.

He has also provided important help to Chicago garden show activities and to the city’s landscape and rooftop gardens initiatives, aiding Chicago to become a “green city.” For eight years, Gapshis co-chaired an annual Celebration of Home and Garden tour in Michiana (the Michigan-Indiana border region), benefiting Chicago’s Lakefront Supportive Housing organization (now known as Mercy Housing Lakefront), and in 2003 he was given a community leadership award by the organization.

On February 10, 1995, Mayor Richard M. Daley declared “Martin Gapshis Day” in Chicago, in honor of Gapshis’s having received the “Biggest Heart in Chicago” Award from the Hearts Foundation, an AIDS fundraising organization. In 2004, Gapshis received the NAMES Project’s Hopeful Spirit Award, which acknowledged his steadfast dedication to the AIDS Memorial Quilt and to the eradication of HIV/AIDS.

In his very understated way, Martin Gapshis has always worked hard to make a difference, demonstrating his belief in the basic human rights that must be secured for all—housing, health care, personal safety, and the opportunity to succeed. He is a leader and role model for LGBT communities, not only for all his contributions and accomplishments, but for his ever-present humility and the depth of his kind and generous spirit. Martin Gapshis died August 30, 2010.