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Honoring Nonprofit Board Members

by Molly O'Connell

Behind every nonprofit’s public face is a dedicated team of volunteers: the board of directors. The time, energy and vision of these individuals is the driving force in a nonprofit’s ability to achieve its mission. Nonprofit boards of directors provide essential leadership and strategic direction to an organization, as well as legal and financial oversight.

On December 1st, The Bank of Maine hosted its first annual Focus on Philanthropy: The Art of Leadership symposium at The Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, where seven individuals were honored for outstanding nonprofit board service. The grand prize winner was Normand Rodrigue, who has served in a number of board leadership positions at the Kennebec Land Trust (KLT) in Winthrop for the last 20 years, and a $10,000 donation will be made by the bank to KLT.

The criteria for the Leaders and Luminaries Award were demonstrated inspiration, creativity, and ingenuity in board service that made a positive impact on a nonprofit organization. An independent committee appointed by the Bank of Maine, which included MANP Executive Director Scott Schnapp, reviewed more than 80 nominations that were submitted from across the state in order to identify the finalists. A special category was also established to honor posthumously two exemplary nonprofit board members for their past dedication and commitment in board service.

The other six finalists were also recognized, and $2,500 awards were made to each of their nonprofits. These finalists were:

  • Dr. Vernon L. Moore, Counseling Services Inc. – Saco
  • Dr. Barbara Covey, M.D., Kennebec Valley Dental Coalition – Waterville
  • Mr. Thomas B. Wright, Seeds of Independence – Freeport
  • Ms. Susan Brackett, The Opera House of Boothbay Harbor – Boothbay Harbor
  • Mr. Peter Burbank, (in Memoriam), Maranacook Education Foundation – Readfield
  • Mr. Horace H. Walton, (in Memoriam), York Hospital – York

MANP was honored to participate in the celebration of these excellent volunteer leaders, and grateful for the donation of the ticket proceeds from the event. MANP is committed to building the capacity of nonprofits in Maine, including providing support to boards to equip them with the knowledge and skills to provide effective leadership and direction to the organizations they serve.

MANP has a variety of events, publications and tools to support nonprofit board members, such as:

  • A Board Boot Camp (coming up December 13th in Freeport!) designed to provide nonprofit board members with concrete information, resources, tools and practices that can help the nonprofits they serve accomplish their mission-related goals more effectively;
  • Skillbuilders that take place around the state and cover a wide range of topics, from fundraising and marketing, to legal compliance and financial management;
  • An online guide to the Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Maine, including a tool to evaluate your own organization in relation to these best practices; and
  • A Board Self-assessment Tool, to help you check your board’s vital signs and put in place practices and strategies to strengthen and energize your board.

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