Martha Loerke began working on international education programs in 1988 at the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, with the Senior Fulbright Fellowship Program for Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. She joined the Institute of International Education in New York in 1991, and developed and managed the Edmund S. Muskie and Freedom Support Act Graduate Fellowship Program for the former Soviet Union.
In 1994 Loerke moved to the newly created Scholarship Programs at the Open Society Foundations, and in 1995 was appointed director. She oversees various programs offering 800 humanities and social science scholarships annually in over 30 countries via open, merit-based competitions. She directs offices in New York and London, and coordinates global program administration with 30 local partners.
Loerke represents the Foundations on the board of the Scholar Rescue Fund at the Institute of International Education and is a founding member of the Board of Trustees for Education Center “Bilim-Central Asia” in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She has a BA from Oberlin College and an MA from the Center for Russian and East European Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.