Arts & Cultural Alliance announces new executive director

The Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport has selected Elizabeth Guffey as its interim executive director. Guffey has served ACAF as a member of its Board of Directors, webmaster and a member of the Marketing Committee.

“I am pleased to take on the role of Interim Executive Director as ACAF readies to complete and open its Meetinghouse Arts theater and art gallery,” Guffey said in a prepared release. “I’ve dedicated my career to the arts and believe that ACAF serves an extremely important role in promoting arts and culture in our Greater Freeport community through facilitating collaborations, increasing opportunities and improving access.”

Guffey was formerly the managing/artistic director of Freeport Players and has been active with other local arts and cultural groups. Guffey is a singer, musician and writer of short fiction and plays. Her plays have been performed in Portland (Maine Playwrights Festival), Stonington (Opera House Arts), Freeport (Freeport Players) and in Sun City Festival, Arizona.

Hires, promotions, appointments

Sanchez

Scarborough-based Kids First Center has appointed Gigi Sanchez and Marjorie McAvoy to its Board of Directors.

Sanchez is a founding partner of her law firm Roach Ruprecht Sanchez & Bischoff, PC in Portland. She is a trial attorney with years of experience litigating civil and family matters.

McAvoy

McAvoy manages the Scarborough branch of Biddeford Savings with over 15 years experience in the financial industry. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Financial Training and Education Alliance and volunteers with Junior Achievement.

Maine Community College System recently appointed Kossi Gamedah, of Falmouth, as the newest member of the Board of Trustees. Gamedah was nominated by Gov. Janet Mills and confirmed by the Maine Senate. He is senior vice president of retail operations for Goodwill Northern New England and previously served as regional director of retail operations for Dollar General Corporation for Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.

LaFontaine

Sebago Technics in South Portland recently hired Mary Kozicki LaFontaine as director of Employee Development and Engagement. LaFontaine is an employee development professional with experience in both the public and private sectors. She has worked in higher education, private industry and state government. For 16 years she served the Maine Department of Labor as the manager of the Lewiston Career Center and then regional director for Southern Career Centers.

Shaw

Maine Insurance Agents Association recently elected G. Jeff Shaw, president of Clark Insurance in Portland, as the chairman of the board. Shaw, of Saco, joined the industry in 1986, working for a number of carriers, including MEMIC, Acadia Insurance and Hanover Insurance, before joining Clark in 2004 and becoming president in 2015.

Gorman Foundation awards $1 million in grants

The John T. Gorman Foundation, based in Portland, has awarded 71 grants totaling $1 million to provide food, shelter and other essential services to Mainers in need through its 2021 Direct Services Grant Program.

Several local and regional organizations received grants: Amistad, Portland, $20,000; Center for a Green Future (also known as Growing to Give), Brunswick, $5,000; Easterseals Maine, South Portland, $15,000; Friendship House, South Portland, $5,000; Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Portland, $25,000; Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Brunswick, $24,600; Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Portland, $10,000; Maine Inside Out, Portland, $15,000; Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, Brunswick, $15,000; Midcoast Community Alliance, Bath, $20,000; Milestone Recovery, Portland, $25,000; $5,000; Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, Portland, $25,000; Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine, Brunswick, $25,000; Shalom House, Portland, $10,000; Tedford Housing, Brunswick, $20,000; Through These Doors, Portland, $15,000; and Volunteers of America Northern New England, Brunswick, $14,500.

The largest numbers of grants this year went to organizations offering food assistance, addressing homelessness and providing other support to low-income families and individuals, such as clothing, household items and heating and electrical assistance. Other areas of giving included support for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, community transportation, immigrant services and health care access.