Nancy Howland at the Wild Gardens of Acadia. Howland is the 2018 recipient of the Elizabeth Fritz Thorndike Award. PHOTO COURTESY OF MCF

Nancy Howland honored

ELLSWORTH — Nancy Howland of Bar Harbor has been named the 2018 Elizabeth Fritz Thorndike Award winner. The biennial award, managed by the Maine Community Foundation, honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions to community service on Mount Desert Island.

Howland was long-time executive director of the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor. Since retiring in 2009 she has volunteered for a number of different organizations including Friends of Acadia, Acadia Senior College, the Bar Harbor Congregational Church, the MDI YWCA and the Bar Harbor Food Pantry.

As part of the award, the Maine Community Foundation has made a $2,500 grant in Howland’s name to Friends of Acadia to support the Wild Gardens of Acadia. Howland also received a bronze statuette, “The Helping Hand,” by sculptor Constance Pach.

Established in 1992, the Thorndike Award honors Betty Thorndike, a long-time resident of Bar Harbor who served in many capacities in her community, as a volunteer, board member, town councilor, patron of the arts, and friend and neighbor to many residents.

Previous Thorndike Award winners include Harriette Mitchell, a nurse and social services volunteer; Nan Miller, an equal rights advocate; civic leader Jan Varnum and MDI Hospital volunteer Anna Ryan. A committee of island residents selects the recipient for the award. In the years between awards, the committee recommends grants to organizations serving Mount Desert Island. Sixty-five grants totaling $67,550 have been made since 1987.

Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft and Mars Hill, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit

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