Frances Perkins Center virtual Garden Party, awards Aug. 14

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 8:00am

    The Frances Perkins Center in Newcastle will celebrate the life and work of Frances Perkins with a virtual Garden Party and awards ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 15 from 5 to 6 p.m. To register for this free event, visit
    This year’s Annual Garden Party and awards ceremony celebrates the Center’s receiving a prestigious $500,000 grant from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures grant program to preserve and restore the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark, and a $100,000 appropriation from the State of Maine, "An Act To Conserve the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark," to ensure the public has safe and accessible access to the Frances Perkins Homestead.

    Honored at this year’s event will be historian Dr. Heather Cox Richardson, who will receive the Center’s Intelligence and Courage Award, and social activist Juana Rodriguez-Vazquez, who will receive the Open Door Award.
    A bestselling author of six books on history and politics, Dr. Heather Cox Richardson, is a professor of 19th-century history at Boston College. She has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers with her series of columns published on Substack and Facebook called “Letters from an American.” Dr. Richardson launched a weekly podcast in May 2021 entitled, “Now and Then,” with fellow historian Joanne Freeman. Dr. Richardson received both her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
    Interim Executive Director, Migrant Education Director, and Rayitos de Sol Childcare Director at the Maine nonprofit Mano en Mano (Hand in Hand), Juana Rodriguez-Vazquez is a community leader and dedicated parent. Having arrived in the U.S. at age five from Mexico, Rodriguez-Vazquez’ family traveled back and forth between Florida and Michigan, requiring her to change repeatedly from one school to another. In 1999, the family moved to Milbridge, Maine to pick blueberries, where she graduated from high school. She worked hard to learn English and excel in her studies while working with Mano En Mano helping and tutoring other students. In 2015, the National Migrant Education Conference awarded Rodriguez-Vazquez the Vida A. Rivera, Jr. Award.  Rodriguez-Vazquez holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Maine and General Elementary (K-8) Teacher Certification from the Maine Department of Education.

    Donations from the event will support the Center’s vision to protect Frances Perkins' beloved home and transform it into a national center for learning and discourse that addresses 21st century economic and social issues.

    About Frances Perkins

    Frances Perkins (1880-1965), the first woman to serve in a U.S. presidential cabinet, was Secretary of Labor (1933-1945) for the entire tenure of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Perkins was the driving force behind many of the groundbreaking New Deal programs that are still the foundation of the American social safety net—Social Security, unemployment insurance, the 40-hour work week, and the minimum wage. Born in Boston, educated in the public schools of Worcester, and a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, she spent summers throughout her life at her ancestral family homestead in Newcastle, Maine, now a National Historic Landmark owned by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Frances Perkins Center.

    About the Frances Perkins Center

    The Frances Perkins Center is dedicated to honoring and preserving the legacy of the woman behind the New Deal by continuing Frances Perkins’ work for social justice and economic security and by preserving for future generations her nationally significant family homestead in Newcastle, Maine. The Homestead is currently undergoing a major restoration project and will open to the public in 2022.

    To learn more about the Frances Perkins Center, contact Michael Chaney, executive director, email, call (207) 563-3374, or visit