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Maria Costanzo Palmer is a well-known force in the nonprofit world. She has worked on both coasts for organizations that give voice and equity to the marginalized members of society. With a particular soft spot for children with incarcerated parents, Maria has been a prominent voice in the social justice community in California, New York, and New Jersey.

Maria relocated to the New Jersey area after serving as the Director of Get on the Bus, a California-based program that unites children with the parents in prison once a year for a special Mother’s/Father’s Day visit. Maria credits Get on the Bus for helping her to find her voice. She believed so strongly in this organization that in addition to working for Get on the Bus, she and her husband were volunteers. In 2010, Maria ran the L.A. Marathon and blogged about her training experience. Her blog raised close to $10,000 for the organization.

Maria formerly co-hosted a monthly radio show on the Scales of Justice on L.A. Talk Radio and Blog Talk Radio called “Heart to Heart,” which had 10,000 listeners. Maria’s work was featured in a documentary, she has been quoted in newspapers including the L.A. Times, magazines and a textbook, and has been the guest on radio shows, making her a recognized voice for children of the incarcerated. She has also co-authored academic articles concerning the topic of incarceration and has been a panelist at conferences relating to children with incarcerated parents.

Maria is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in New York and a master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University. In both 2011 and 2012, she was recognized by Pepperdine University for her service work.
Currently, Maria is the Grant Writer/Development Associate for St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation in Paterson, NJ, an agency committed to human self-sufficiency offering over 10,000 individuals in the greater Passaic County area, offering “a hand-up, not a handout.” Maria currently lives in New Jersey with her husband Joe, daughters Helena and Josephina, and rescue dogs Luna and Stella.

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