Martin Castro

Daily Point of Light # 3702 Apr 11, 2008

Countless young lawyers, scientists and artists from Chicago's low-income neighborhoods have Martin Castro to thank for supporting their success whether they know it or not. Castro, Aetna's vice president of external affairs for diverse markets strategy in Chicago, has dedicated his considerable talent and inexhaustible energy to fundraising for scholarships, mentoring students and serving immigrant and low-income households.

Castro has served as chair of the Juan Tienda Scholarship Fund at the University of Michigan Law School, which provides scholarships and fellowships for Latino law students who serve the Hispanic community. In this capacity, he has spent evenings evaluating and awarding scholarships and fellowships to needy Latino students, developing resources and mentoring Latino law students.

Castro is also on the Board of Directors of the National Museum of Mexican Art, the nation's premier museum showcasing Mexican art and culture and the only major museum in Chicago that is free to the public. As a board member for seven years, he has personally raised over $200,000 for the museum's educational programs.

For the past eight years, Castro has also served on the Board of Trustees of DePaul University, whose mission includes opening the doors of higher education to first-generation college students, among others. He was also founding president of the Hispanic American Alumni Association.

Furthermore, Castro serves on the board of the Academy for Urban School Leadership, which runs several Chicago public schools, trains master teachers, and deploys them in Chicago's neediest public schools. Castro is also a board member for the Nuestro Futuro Fund, a philanthropic vehicle of the Chicago Community Trust designed to teach Latinos the skills necessary for effective philanthropy while providing much needed resources to the Adler Planetarium, the nation's first planetarium focused on inspiring the next generation of explorers and scientists.

For all his leadership, Castro does not hesitate to roll up his sleeves and volunteer in more concrete ways as well. He has volunteered with such groups as the Appleseed Fund for Justice to develop financial literacy materials and outreach programs for the community; helped to establish a diabetes education and screening program for Latinos, and spoken many times at schools, encouraging young people to stay in school and pursue higher education.

Castro's manager at Aetna, Robert Mendonsa, considers that Castro "truly lives a life of service to his community." Furthermore, Aetna, Chicago State University, the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement and many others have honored Castro with awards for his community service.