PORTLAND, ME - On Tuesday, April 23, over 250 people gathered at the UNITED We Thrive Award Luncheon to celebrate and recognize organizations and individuals committed to helping our community thrive through their work in United Way’s focus areas of education, financial stability, and health.

“This is an exciting year for United Way of Greater Portland as we celebrate our 90th anniversary,” said Liz Cotter Schlax, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Portland. “What’s remained constant throughout the years is the incredible giving spirit of the people and organizations throughout Greater Portland. We are so thrilled to recognize a few today that demonstrate what’s possible when we mobilize the caring power of our community.”

The event, generously sponsored by Spectrum Healthcare Partners, honored seven community leaders and businesses helping our community thrive through their work to give kids a strong start, empower neighbors to thrive – not just survive, and/or help us all live longer, better.

GIVE awards were presented to two organizations that demonstrate excellence, creativity, and generosity during the 2018 United Way of Greater Portland campaign. Additionally, the Baxter Legacy Award was presented to an individual who has played a role in the long-term success and viability of United Way of Greater Portland.

  • Small Organization: Day One 

  • Mid-Size Organization: BerryDunn

  • Baxter Legacy Award: Michael Bourque, MEMIC

ADVOCATE awards were presented to both an organization and individual who speak out on behalf of or educate others on issues in one or more of United Way’s focus areas of education, financial stability, and health.

  • Large Organization: Maine Medical Center 

  • Individual Advocate Award: Suzanne Fox, The Yellow Tulip Project

This year the Andrews Volunteer Award was presented to Deb Deatrick for her dedication and contributions to the mission of United Way and the cause of caring for others.

Last, but not least, United Way’s highest honor, the Spirit of Greater Portland Award, was presented to L.L.Bean. From their thousands of employees who say YES to giving s’more, to the tireless work of their Loaned Executives, the employees and leadership of this MAINE-stay company raised more than 1.2 million dollars locally for the critical work of United Way of Greater Portland.  

Felicia Knight, President of The Knight Canney Group and Thrive2027 Council Member, presided over the event ceremonies, and Anne Dalton, Chief League Operations Officer of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. and UWGP Board Chair, closed the event. Awards were presented by Spencer Thibodeau, Attorney with Verrill Dana, City Council Member, and UWGP Board Member; Deanna Sherman, President and CEO of Dead River Company and 2019 UWGP Campaign Chair; and Hilary Rapkin, Chief Legal Officer at WEX Inc.

Entertainment was provided by Portland’s own Viva & The Reinforcements who provided guests with jazz and world music inspiration throughout the luncheon.