Grant in Action: Talbot Mentors and Women & Girls Fund Helping Girls Grow


As part of the Talbot Spy’s continuing series on the philanthropic partnerships between the Women & Girls Fund and some of the Mid-Shore’s most remarkable nonprofit organizations, this month we turn our attention to Talbot Mentors which connects volunteer mentors to young girls and boys to benefit from the power of one-on-one mentoring.

Our profile comes at a time when there has been a significant change at Talbot Mentors. A few months ago, it was announced that Gerson Martinez would be replacing former director Natalie Costanzo, who had decided to return with her family to her native Australia.

Many in Talbot County might have found it difficult to believe the organization could find anyone to fill Natalie’s shoes after such a successful tenure with Talbot Mentors, but they seem to have found yet another exceptional person.

Gerson, who, after growing up in Cordova as the only Latino boy in that community, and working his way to the offices of Morgan Stanley in New York, found himself feeling unsatisfied at how he was contributing as an adult. It was then that he and his wife, Samantha, moved to the South Bronx of New York City to help start one of the most successful charter schools in the country.

In time, this desire to serve turned increasingly to seek out opportunities where they could return to the Mid-Shore after the birth of their daughter to reunite with family and play a leadership role with the growing Latino community in Talbot County. All of which led to Gerson accepting the executive director position at Talbot Mentors in early 2018.

The Spy spent some time with Gerson and Women & Girls Fund board member (and Talbot Mentor volunteer), Susan Wilford, to talk about the Fund’s grant which allowed nine girls to attend summer camp last year. We also touch upon Gerson’s strategy to have Talbot Mentors help address the unique need of Latina girls to navigate through their adolescent years in a community which has a disproportionate number of single working men.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Talbot Mentors please go here

This is the sixth in a series of stories focused on the work of the Women & Girls Fund of the Mid-Shore. Since 2002, the Fund has channeled its pooled resources to organizations that serve the needs and quality of life for women and girls in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties. The Spy, in partnership with the Women & Girls Fund, are working collaboratively to put the spotlight on twelve of these remarkable agencies to promote their success and inspire other women and men to support the Fund’s critical role in the future.

About Dave Wheelan

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