No big surprise here! Our beloved benefactor, Norm Elvin has been named as the 2018 Peter G. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. This award is given to community business leaders who have been active in the Kennebec Valley Region for many years. Well, we can attest to the fact that although his philanthropy began decades ago, it is still alive and well in Central Maine. Grace Academy Homeschool and Learning Center has a place to finally call home thanks to the generosity of this humble man.
Norm built the former Norm’s Chicken and Seafood in South China with love and with the expectation that he would be serving local favorites for years to come, but after deciding to spend more time with family and friends, he closed this well-respected eatery and gave it away. That’s right, he didn’t profit from this adventure, he decided to use what he had built to make a difference in our little community. After approaching him in February of 2016 and explaining who we were and what we had accomplished and construing that we could do so much more if we had a place of our own, I asked him if he would be willing to donate the building to our homeschooling group.
In true style, Norm listened and instinctively volunteered to help in any way he could. He was interested in providing a safe and welcoming place where children who were normally schooled at home could go and play and explore and be with other children outside of their own homes. He believed it to be a unique opportunity to help a segment of the population that doesn’t usually receive outside help from any organization. It was a dream come true, he gave us new home. That’s right, being a man of his word, we signed the paperwork and he officially donated the restaurant and property to Grace Academy on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 2016.
Norm Elvin redefines philanthropy! We typically think of philanthropy as just the giving of money and we tend to think of a philanthropist as the person who writes the check. This just isn’t so with Norm. Yes, Norm does make financial contributions to MANY worthy causes, but he adds to those donations by rolling up his sleeves and getting down in the muck to help organizations move the ball forward. For us here at Grace, Norm has completely taken us under his wing and the roles have been reversed, he is teaching us. He is advising us on how to stay true to our mission and grow with the times, he is instructing us on the importance of keeping financially grounded and he is helping us develop a strategy that will enable us to serve the community well after the current directors are gone. His advice and insights are invaluable and his presence on the board encouraging. Imagine, a man of his stature and accomplishments volunteering his time to sit on the board of such a small nonprofit, now that’s philanthropy at work.
Norm has been quoted as saying,
“I give without conditions. It’s the only way I can do it. To me, that’s what being a philanthropist means.”
From personal experience, I know this to be true. Norm is a rare mix of humility, compassion, honesty, hard work, and love of neighbor and he is truly worthy of the award being given to him next week. Being philanthropic means giving of oneself to improve the human condition. Norm does this day in and day out and the families of Grace are blessed to have been but one of his beneficiaries. Let us thank God for men like Norm Elvin who see a need and don’t hesitate to answer the call. His passion and kindness have had a great effect on me personally and all of us here at Grace Academy and I wanted to share this news with all of you, our loyal followers, so that you too, can see the difference one man can make. Thank you Norm and Congratulations!
2018 Kenney Awards will be held on January 26, 2018 from 5:00—10:00 pm at the Augusta Civic Center
“Give, and it shall be given unto you” – Luke 6:38
Photo Courtesy of Kennebec Valley Chamber – Facebook