Margaret and Cato Roach: Broward educators, trailblazers and activists

Community Foundation of Broward Tribute Fund

February 22, 2022
The Margaret and Cato Roach Tribute Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward carries on Margaret and Cato's legacy of leadership with support for improving educational opportunities for Broward students.

As educators, Margaret Blake Roach and her husband Cato Roach empowered their students to achieve success.

And as activists, Margaret and Cato dedicated themselves to empowering the Black community to break through barriers to success.

Margaret was a former teacher who became an administrator, helping guide Broward County Public Schools through the turbulent period of desegregation.

Outside of the classroom, Margaret created a pioneering string of firsts. Margaret became the first president of Broward’s Urban League. She was the first woman and first Black person to serve on the Broward Community College Board of Trustees.  Margaret also served as the first president of Fort Lauderdale chapter of The Links, an organization that supports professional women of color. And she helped launch the Florida Council on Human Relations.

"I accept challenges as an opportunity to give the world the best I have," Margaret told the Sun Sentinel in 1999 before a celebration honoring her community leadership.

Cato Roach came to Fort Lauderdale in 1946 for a position at Dillard High School, where he taught math and science and also coached basketball and football.

In 1965, he became Broward’s first Black county-level supervisor of elementary education. He helped Broward implement the federally funded Head Start program, which provides early education services for at-risk children.

Cato served as president of the Florida State Teachers Association. He also served on Fort Lauderdale's Bi-racial Committee and the county's Juvenile Court Advisory Board.

"I just did what I was supposed to do," Cato Roach said when he received the Urban League’s lifetime achievement award in 1999, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Margaret died in 1999 and Cato died the following year. The Community Foundation of Broward is proud to help carry on their legacy of leadership through a charitable fund that champions education for Broward’s children.

Grants from the endowed Margaret and Cato Roach Tribute Fund support programs to lift up students from minority communities who are struggling in the classroom. For example, support from Margaret and Cato’s fund fuels a groundbreaking program that helps middle schools improve teaching techniques and provide more support services to help students falling behind in the classroom.

Because Margaret and Cato’s fund is endowed – able to grow through the Community Foundation’s careful investment and stewardship – support in their name will always be there to help Broward’s students achieve success.

Learn More

To find out how you can make a BOLD impact with a charitable fund at the Community Foundation of Broward, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at nthies@cfbroward.org or 954-761-9503.

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