WINTER HARBOR — Philanthropist Edith Dixon announced Thursday that she is giving a million dollar donation to the Schoodic Institute’s endowment.
“It makes us look like a stronger institution,” she said Friday morning. Dixon is a member of the institute’s board of directors.
In addition, she is providing a matching gift of $500,000. This gift will match donations to the endowment, and in some cases may match program opportunities.
Alan Goldstein, chairman of the Schoodic Institute’s board of directors, shared Dixon’s announcement.
“Edith has been dedicated to our mission for many years and this is another expression of her faith in our people at Schoodic Institute who are providing science and education for young and old in Downeast Maine,” he said in a statement.
“I cannot adequately express my gratitude to Edith for her incredible generosity.”
Dixon and her late husband, Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr., a Winter Harbor native, have been generous supporters of the institute and several other institutions in the county, Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth among them.
Four years ago, she pledged $1 million for the restoration of a building at the former Navy listening post on Schoodic Point. The structure, known as Rockefeller Hall, was built in 1935 and, since being restored, serves as the institute’s welcome center.
The Schoodic Institute is “a boon for our town,” said Dixon, who also maintains a residence in Philadelphia.
She said that she and her late husband, along with local groups, such as Schoodic Futures, have worked to boost the Schoodic economy in the wake of the 2002 departure of the Navy base. She encourages supporters of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island also to support the Schoodic portion of the national park.
Goldstein said Friday that the Dixon gift has “energized” the institute’s board. “This is very important,” he said.
Dixon said she is pleased “to carry on the work” her husband started when he was chairman of the institute board.
“But we have a very long way to go.”
The Schoodic Institute operates from Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor in partnership with Acadia National Park. The institute was created after the former Navy base on Schoodic Point, which lies within the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park, was returned to the National Park Service in 2002. Launched in 2004 as Acadia Partners for Science and Learning and later known as the SERC Institute, the organization changed its name to Schoodic Institute in 2013.
The original concept for Schoodic Institute, according to its website, “was to serve as a nonprofit partner to Acadia National Park and cooperate in development and management of the Schoodic Education and Research Center, one of 19 National Park Service Research Learning Centers in the United States.”
The Schoodic Point campus operated by the Schoodic Institute offers accommodations for researchers, classes and conferences.
According to the website: “Schoodic Institute and Acadia National Park are national leaders in the development of new techniques to involve the public in science and conservation. Schoodic Institute deliberately and tightly intertwines education with research. Our nonprofit structure allows us to nimbly support Acadia in creating innovative partnerships. We support scientific research of importance to the park, provide professional development for teachers, and educate students to become a new generation of stewards who will help conserve our natural and cultural treasures.”