Camden National Bank joined leaders and representatives from Maine’s nonprofit community for the 2015 Leaders & Luminaries luncheon Nov. 5.

Held during the Maine Association of Nonprofits Finance Conference at The Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, the annual awards ceremony recognizes and celebrates the impact of the state’s local nonprofits and the leaders who have dedicated themselves to helping their organizations achieve their goals. This year’s Leaders & Luminaries grand prize of $10,000 was awarded to Catherine Powers of the Bath Housing Authority. Other honorees included Harris J. ("Pete") Bixler of Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, William Branch of Kennebec Behavioral Health in Waterville and Lynn Gierie of the Robbie Foundation in Scarborough, who each received $2,500 for their respective organizations.

Bixler was recognized for playing a crucial role in founding Bay Chamber Concerts' music school, embracing a new management team with an innovative and contemporary vision for future growth, and supporting the nonprofit's financial needs through matching grants, scholarships and ongoing financial support.

Camden National also presented a special “Emerging Board Leader” award to Rebekah Smith of the Maine Women’s Policy Center in Augusta, who received $1,000 for her dedication and commitment to nonprofit board service. Smith was honored for her contributions to her organization and to Maine’s women and girls by taking over as chair of the governance committee, developing board recruiting tools, articulating the organization’s mission, programs, staffing and budget, and helping to unite the board around a shared purpose.

"Nonprofits are the cornerstones of our communities,” said Renee Smyth, chief marketing officer of Camden National Bank. “They provide leadership for adults and children in need, as well as health care, food, housing, clothing, preservation, arts and education, sports and more, and we are proud to be one of the many helping hands dedicated to making these organizations stronger.”

Started in 2013 by The Bank of Maine Charitable Foundation, the Leaders & Luminaries award recognizes the importance and impact of nonprofit board members who provide invaluable services to their communities. An independent committee reviewed more than 65 nominations submitted from across the state this year and ultimately identified four finalists. The criterion for the award is excellence in board governance, supported by demonstrated examples of inspiration, creativity, and ingenuity.