JAX donors launch leadership fund for employees

Chuck Hewett Leadership Fund
The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) accepts a $100,000 gift toward leadership development from the Bangor Savings Bank. L-R: Sheryl Edgecomb, Vice President and Ellsworth Branch Manager of the Bangor Savings Bank; James Donnelly, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of the Bangor Savings Bank; Edison T. Liu, M.D., JAX president, chief executive officer and professor; S. Catherine (Katy) Longley, J.D., JAX executive vice president and chief operating officer. Photo by Tiffany Laufer.

The Charles E. Hewett, Ph.D., Leadership Excellence Fund was established in August of 2018 in honor of former Jackson Laboratory executive vice president and chief operating officer Charles (Chuck) Hewett, Ph.D.

Thanks to more than 30 inaugural donors, The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) has raised nearly $1 million toward leadership development programs for Laboratory employees in honor of Hewett.

The fund empowers the next generation of JAX leaders and will fund educational opportunities, professional development, mentorship programs, and health and wellness initiatives. To date, $953,735 has been raised – with just $46,265 left to meet the Laboratory’s $1 million goal.

“This fund continues Chuck’s remarkable legacy of recruiting, cultivating and developing the best talent at our Laboratory,” says JAX President and CEO Edison Liu, M.D. “The inaugural donors truly serve as the catalysts of this new fund, enabling JAX to expand opportunities for employees at every level of our organization. We are deeply grateful for their generosity, their leadership, and their example.”

Hewett retired at the end of 2018 after fifteen years of service to the Laboratory. He currently serves on JAX’s Board of Trustees. His many contributions to JAX as chief operating officer include the completion of new research laboratories in Bar Harbor, Maine, the relocation and expansion of the Laboratory’s California operation, the creation of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Connecticut, the development of the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative. Hewett also led the conceptual framework for  JAX opens the Charles E. Hewett Center in Ellsworth, MaineNew facility represents the culmination of nine decades of unmatched experience and leadership in breeding and caring for laboratory mice. a new vivarium in Ellsworth that bears his name to honor his leadership and service. 

Shared roots

On February 14, 2019, representatives from the Bangor Savings Bank visited the Laboratory’s Bar Harbor campus to present their gift of $100,000 toward the fund.

“We are proud to support Chuck Hewett’s legacy at The Jackson Laboratory,” says Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank. “He has played an important role in both of our organizations, helping to shape our vision and values. This gift highlights our shared belief that workforce development is critical to the state’s success; and we are thrilled to support Chuck, his vision and his deep-rooted commitment to the people of Maine.”

The Jackson Laboratory and The Bangor Savings Bank share many connections, including deep roots in Maine. The Bank – the largest independent bank in the state - has been serving the people of Maine since 1852. Hewett has served on the Bank’s Board of Directors since 1999.

A legacy of leadership

The first gift towards the fund came from the Johnson family, who have been loyal supporters of the Laboratory for 20 years. E. Thomas (Tom) Johnson, Jr., his mother, Cynthia (Cindy) Johnson, and their family took the first step to launch the fund with a gift of $300,000.

Cindy Johnson’s late husband, Edwin T. Johnson, served as CEO of The Johnson Companies, an employee benefits consulting firm known for designing and establishing the first 401(k) savings plan. Tom Johnson now carries on his father’s legacy, having also worked at The Johnson Companies and continuing to lead a full career focused on financial services and employee benefits.

“We were happy to contribute to a fund that fosters both leadership and wellbeing at the Laboratory,” says Tom Johnson. “Strong organizational leadership has always been important to our family, so it is an honor to give back to JAX for this purpose. Our gift was a very natural way to celebrate the special connection and great mutual respect that my father and Chuck shared.”