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$22K to local winners of Leaders & Luminaries Awards

CAMDEN, ME – Camden National Bank is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Leaders & Luminaries Awards and provide $22,000 in grants for their respective nonprofit organizations.

The 2023 honorees include the following board members: Heather Abello of Hearty Roots, Dottie Chalmers Cutter of the Institute for Family-Owned Business, Kathie Marquis-Girard of the Percival P. Baxter Foundation for Maine’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, and Jamie Plourde of the Children’s Discovery Museum of Central Maine. In addition to these $5,000 grants, a $2,000 Spotlight Award was presented to Vera Rand Roberts of New Hope Midcoast.

Camden National Bank honors nonprofit board members who demonstrate innovative thinking and outstanding governance to advance their organization’s mission and impact. Since 2011, Camden National Bank has donated $242,000 to 63 Maine nonprofits through the Leaders & Luminaries Awards presented to board members who exhibit exemplary leadership skills, execute strong strategic and financial plans, and are passionate about their organization’s long-term growth.

“Nonprofits strengthen our communities by supporting education, health, social services, and the arts—and none of this would be possible without strong leadership at the top,” said Renée Smyth, chief experience and marketing officer of Camden National Bank. “It’s an honor to recognize these five outstanding board members for effecting positive, long-lasting change throughout the state of Maine.”

Donations were funded through the bank’s private charitable foundation, The Bank of Maine Foundation.

2023 Leaders & Luminaries Awards winners:

Heather Abello, Treasurer of the Board, Hearty Roots (Bristol, Maine)

Hearty Roots’ inclusive year-round programs support resilience and wellness by offering outing clubs, teen retreats, in-school therapeutic adventures, pop-up camps, and coastal expedition programs to children in Lincoln County and Knox County, Maine. Hearty Roots promotes physical activities like campfire building, hiking, biking, and skiing, while also offering a social-emotional curriculum that inspires kids to dig a little deeper, reflect on their actions, and allow themselves to take chances. As a board member, Abello has been critical to Hearty Roots’ recent growth, including adding a licensed master social worker to the group’s staff, updating and aligning the organization’s numerous foundational documents, and being a top fundraiser. She is also praised for her fearlessness in dissenting, expressing concerns, and offering innovative solutions. As a result, the number of youth served, the number of staff employed, and the operational budget have all doubled under Abello’s tenure.

Dottie Chalmers Cutter, Chairwoman of the Board, Institute for Family-Owned Business (Portland, Maine)

The Institute for Family-Owned Business (IFOB) is committed to supporting, strengthening, and empowering family-owned businesses throughout Maine. This support includes providing unique information, resources, programs, and networking opportunities that enable Maine’s business-owning families to prosper and achieve their fullest potential. Chalmers Cutter was nominated for her ability to navigate her organization—and, in turn, Maine businesses—through the pandemic that shuttered many companies. As chair of the IFOB, she has also been instrumental in keeping her fellow board members engaged, energized, and utilizing their respective skills while adjusting and updating the organization’s mission, strategic plans, and website, as well as continuing to recruit new, high-performing board members.

Kathie Marquis-Girard, Vice President of the Board, Percival P. Baxter Foundation for Maine’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children (Falmouth, Maine)

The mission of the Percival P. Baxter Foundation for Maine’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing children is to benefit, support, and enhance programs and services for kids with hearing loss in Maine and their families, while also providing professional development training for the colleagues with whom they work. In addition to being a solid leader, Marquis-Girard’s commitment to the Percival P. Baxter Foundation clearly goes above and beyond what is expected of most board members. She is spearheading the formation of a new three-year strategic plan. Her family served as hosts for two deaf students from Portland High School’s Deaf Education program. And she even took it upon herself to learn American Sign Language. Aside from her work with the Percival P. Baxter Foundation, Marquis-Girard is a retired high school assistant principal, she serves on the board of the Maine Cancer Foundation, she has participated in every Tri for a Cure event, and she is a breast cancer survivor.

Jamie Plourde, Vice President of the Board, Children’s Discovery Museum of Central Maine (Waterville, Maine)

For nearly 30 years, the Children’s Discovery Museum of Central Maine has invited kids and families to play, learn, and grow. Formerly based in Augusta, the museum now encourages children to explore their world, make friends, gain confidence, and problem-solve from their location in Waterville, which opened in 2020. Plourde’s tenure on the board is a testament to the power of returning to one’s roots and using one’s talents to uplift a community in need. While serving as vice president, she has primarily focused on one of the museum’s most significant needs, buildings and facilities, by forming a committee to oversee the museum’s expansion project and every detail that goes into the construction. Always willing to assist where needed, Plourde has also helped helm the organization by taking on some leadership tasks usually designated for the executive director.

2023 Spotlight Award winner:

Vera Rand Roberts, President of the Board, New Hope Midcoast (Rockland, Maine)

New Hope Midcoast is the Regional Domestic Violence Resource Center in Midcoast Maine. Since 1981, their staff has been serving individuals affected by domestic abuse, dating violence, and stalking. By educating and empowering communities, New Hope Midcoast supports a more just and effective response to domestic violence and abuse. The process is one of walking with someone, advocating, being flexible to change, and being resourceful. Roberts’ leadership style as board president incorporates all these skills and abilities. She was also credited for providing outstanding guidance to the executive director, especially during the pandemic, when the number of domestic violence incidents skyrocketed.

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