Shannon Richards, Maine Crafts Association’s presiding board member was selected as a recipient of the 2021 Camden National Bank Leaders and Luminaries Award. The award is dedicated to spotlight nonprofit board members who demonstrate excellence in leadership and advance their organizations’ mission and impact. It is in recognition of Shannon’s exceptional board leadership and advocacy of the Maine Crafts Association (MCA) that she was nominated for the award. 

On behalf of the MCA staff, board, members and community: Congratulations to Shannon Richards and thank you to Camden National Bank for honoring and recognizing her talent and contributions!

Shannon Richards became a fervent supporter of the MCA through her connections to the craft community and as a student at the MCA Weekend Workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Craft. She mobilized her support by joining the board in 2018. Now in her second term, she serves as the Board President and is an active committee member, sponsor, donor, attendee, artist member, customer and volunteer.

In her letter of award consideration, Sadie Bliss, MCA’s executive director, outlined numerous examples to which Shannon exemplifies the award criteria. Bliss explains that during the hardest months of the pandemic Shannon tirelessly donated her time to find ways for our artist members to stay connected to one another and develop new income streams. Shannon supported the fast-tracking of an online shopping platform and was responsible for the creation of our now withstanding East End Vend program, a frequently occurring outdoor market that features artists, farmers and foodies. It was Shannon who designed the logistics of the event, including donating the venue, to effectively bring an income source to our members and community.

When accessing our values as an organization, Shannon’s work on the board has been an inherent factor in re-aligning our values to reflect the diverse craft community of Maine and the members we serve. The MCA is learning and shifting as an organization and as individuals alongside one another to support the changes we need to see to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive as an organization.

Shannon’s work to support the future stability and longevity of the MCA includes advocating for MCA staff through her care in long-term retention, fair wages, and benefits that working individuals require to thrive, fostering a caring, and compassionate workforce that operates as a tight-knit team.

Bliss states

“ Shannon’s passion for the MCA mission dovetails with her belief in artists and arts organizations as economic drivers, the glue of communities, and leaders of positive change. Her values are demonstrated professionally at Hayrunner, her company, where she hires professional Maine makers, designers and builders and personally, through her support of and engagement with home-spun, emerging, teaching and community artists and events. Shannon believes in the power of craft to connect people and build community, throughout the state rurally, in our small cities and historic downtowns, across generations, gender, race and socio-economic status.”

MCA would like to congratulate Shannon and express our deepest gratitude for the generous time, resources and leadership she dedicates. We look forward to continuing our work with the financial assistance provided through this award and with Shannon’s continued guidance and exceptional leadership.


Four 2021 awardees were selected from many deserving nominees by two executives of Camden National Bank along with three volunteers who are active in Maine’s nonprofit community. The award was presented to Shannon Richards, along with $5000 for the Maine Crafts Association on Shannon’s behalf, by Camden National Bank representatives on Tuesday, November 30th in a private gathering. 

As stewards and trusted guides, nonprofit board directors are responsible for advancing their organization’s mission and impact. Through the Leaders & Luminaries Awards, Camden National Bank aims to shine a light on these talented trustees—often unsung community heroes—who are paving the way in board service and volunteerism.

Leaders & Luminaries Awards are made possible by Camden National Bank, through The Bank of Maine Foundation. In October 2015, Camden National Bank acquired The Bank of Maine in order to better serve customers through a wider range of financial products and services while still remaining an important member of the communities they serve.