Norwich award ceremony to honor longtime activist, nonprofit foundation Wednesday

Norwich — A longtime community activist and a nonprofit foundation will be honored Wednesday as recipients of the 2019 Ron Aliano Service Award for their public service and efforts to promote economic vitality in Norwich.

Sheila Hayes and The Edward and Mary Lord Foundation were selected to receive the award during a ceremony at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the historical Mount Crescent House, 270 Broadway. The annual event recognizes and celebrates both a citizen and a business dedicated to public service and professionalism at the local level.

Hayes is a founding member and secretary of Sankofa Education and Leadership Inc. She also serves as the secretary for the Ellis Walter Ruley Project Committee, is a member of the Norwich Personnel and Pension Board, a member of the Rotary Community Corps of Norwich and a founding member of the Norwich Rotary Clubs’ Celebrate Cultural Diversity Committee. Hayes also serves as a corporator at Norwich Free Academy. She is a life member of the NAACP and past president of the Norwich branch and chairwoman of the Robertsine Duncan Youth Council NAACP ACT-SO Program.

The Edward and Mary Lord Foundation was created in 1997 by longtime Norwich residents Edward and Mary Lord as a part of their estate plan and was funded in 2009 upon their deaths. It is a private family foundation that provides charitable grants to nonprofit organizations. Edward Lord was a businessman who owned and operated many local theaters, several manufacturing companies and a real estate development and ownership company. His wife, Mary, worked alongside him in all these endeavors, and together they built and sustained a successful life together. They were philanthropists in the local community and made many contributions to religious, medical and educational charities. The foundation carries on the philanthropic work, with the Lords’ special interest in helping the poor, elderly and children.

Tickets to Wednesday’s ceremony can be purchased for $25 per person online at Corporate sponsorships also are available. Contact for more information.

Proceeds from the ceremony, which will include food, a cash bar and a silent and live auction, will be used to fund festivities organized by the Norwich Events Organization volunteers, such as the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival, Norwich fireworks and the Winterfest Parade. For more information, visit or


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