Gathering Reception at Machias Savings Bank Education Center

Please join Maine Philanthropy Center and Downeast Tour participants for an evening together. We hope nonprofits doing important work in the region will join us for networking, learning, breaking bread, and relationship building.

If you are a nonprofit looking to register for this event, please visit this page:

Speakers Include: 

Larry Barker, President & CEO of Machias Savings Bank

From raking blueberries as a teen to starting his own small business, Larry is no stranger to hard work. He worked his way up the ranks at Machias Savings Bank, eventually becoming president and CEO, leading a team of dedicated professionals who share the common vision of moving Maine forward. Larry leads by example and creates a collaborative workplace from the top down.

“As someone with an entrepreneurial work ethic and drive, I am personally committed to helping Maine people and businesses succeed. As a small business owner myself, I have weathered economic storms, and I see a bright future for our state.”

Tora Johnson, Co-Director, Sustainable Prosperity Initiative

Tora Johnson joined SCEC in January 2024 as co-director of the Sustainable Prosperity Initiative. A social scientist and geographer, Tora has a master’s degree in human ecology from College of the Atlantic and a PhD in human dimensions of natural resources from the University of Maine. Her work focuses on supporting resilience and economic development, sustainable fisheries, local and regional planning, and dignity-centered community engagement. Prior to joining the SCEC staff, Tora worked in academia, serving nearly 20 years on the faculty at the University of Maine at Machias where she is now a professor emeritus. She is an external graduate faculty member with the School of Forest Resources and an external faculty associate with the George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine. She is on several boards and committees focusing on community and environmental issues in Maine and the Downeast Region.

Before becoming a mom in 1996, Tora made a career of teaching and crewing aboard several of the large sailing vessels that ply the coast of New England, as well as commercial fishing in Alaska. Also a writer, Tora’s award-winning book, Entanglements: The Intertwined Fates of Whales and Fishermen, was released in 2005. She was the marine reporter for the Martha’s Vineyard Times from 1998 to 2000, and she published the Guide to Freshwater Animals without Backbones with Arlene De Strulle in 1997. She has collaborated with installation artists and sculptors on community-based and place-based installation art projects.

Tora lives in Machias with her husband, fisherman and fish monger Chris Mullen. She loves to hike and snowshoe with her two dogs on the region’s many trails, as well as messing about in boats.

Dwayne Tomah, Language Keeper, Director, and Curator of the Sipayik Museum

Dwayne Tomah is a Passamaquoddy Language and Cultural Knowledge Carrier. As the youngest fluent Passamaquoddy speaker in a race against time to save his language, Tomah is translating and interpreting songs and stories from recordings of his ancestors. The recordings were made using wax cylinders nearly 130 years ago and are the earliest known field recordings of Indigenous voices. Tomah uses songs and stories to teach about Passamaquoddy language, history, and culture, and the lessons the songs have to teach us, if we take time to listen.


Date & Time: 
Tuesday, May 21, 2024 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm EDT
Machias Bank Education Center