PORTLAND, Maine – Meg Baxter, president and CEO of the Mitchell Institute, received the 2013 Honorable Edmund S. Muskie Access to Justice Award on May 29, during the 18th Anniversary Muskie Access to Justice dinner.
Meg Baxter’s nonprofit career has spanned four decades, with the majority of her work conducted in Maine. She began her career with the United Way in Bedford, Mass., and she joined the United Way of Greater Portland in 1984. Her long career in the United Way system culminated with her 20-year tenure as president of the United Way of Greater Portland where she initiated multiple collaborative programs including Maine Community AIDS Partnership, 2-1-1 Maine and Let’s GO!
In 2011, she was named president and CEO of the Mitchell Institute, former Sen. George J. Mitchell’s scholarship and research institute. In that role, she oversees the distribution of four-year scholarships to a senior at every one of Maine’s 129 public high schools. At any one time, there
are more than 500 Mitchell Scholars in post-secondary institutions. The Institute provides mentoring, fellowships and leadership development to its scholars and alumni.
“Meg’s career truly exemplifies a commitment to the public good,” says Nan Heald, director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, in a press release. “She is a passionate advocate for the nonprofit sector and the people and communities served by it.”
The 18th Anniversary Muskie Access to Justice Dinner, held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, was sponsored by the Muskie Fund for Legal Services, and raises money for civil legal assistance to elderly and low-income Mainers. Proceeds from the dinner are used to support the work of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Legal Services for the Elderly, Maine Equal Justice, Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the Volunteer Lawyers Project.
The Muskie Fund for Legal Services and the Muskie Access to Justice Award were created in 1995 to honor former Sen. Muskie’s lifelong commitment to justice for low-income and elderly Americans. Muskie was undaunted by the challenge of calling public attention to the legal needs of poor and elderly Mainers. He served as chairman of a newly formed Maine Commission on Legal Needs in 1988, remaining fiercely attached to the cause,
and regularly reminding the public of these issues and repeating his call for increased access to justice.