The Annual Dinner and Roast in honor of our yearly Eileen D. Foley award recipient(s) has been going on for over a decade. This page is an archive of our previous award winners.
& Peter Bergh
Few people embody the spirit of the Eileen D. Foley Award more than Chris Dwyer, who has been active in the Portsmouth community, the state of New Hampshire, and in her many fields of interest - including the arts, early childhood education, and literacy - over many decades.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in political science, Chris started her career as a second-grade teacher in NH’s North Country. From there, she enrolled in UNH’s experimental master’s degree program in early childhood education and then worked for North Country Education Services. Additional training led to her first position at RMC Research, a nationally known research and policy consulting firm (headquartered in Portsmouth), which she has co-owned since 1985.
Over the course of her career, Chris has advised children’s television programs; produced media to demonstrate evidence-based teaching practices; conducted evaluations of arts and culture programs for national foundations; and prepared research and policy documents that have shaped state and national education programs.
Chris has assumed leadership roles for several leading NH arts and culture organizations: The Music Hall, the NH State Council on the Arts (NHSCA) and the Currier Museum of Art, serving as President during the Museum’s recent leadership transition.
Chris played a leadership role in designing Portsmouth’s first cultural plan and then served as the first chair of Art-Speak, Portsmouth’s cultural commission. As advisor, committee member or through board service, she has been actively involved with the NH Business Committee on the Arts, the NH Center for Nonprofits, Strawbery Banke’s National Council, and the UNH Foundation.
Chris was recently elected to her seventh term as a Portsmouth City Councilor where she’s known for tackling the tough projects—co-chairing the renovation of the middle school, raising funds to realize the African Burying Ground, leading the Prescott Park Master Plan, and working on affordable housing.
Chris and her lifelong partner Michael Huxtable have called Portsmouth home since 1985.
Martha Fuller Clark & Dr. Geoffrey E. Clark
Martha and Jeff have dedicated their personal and professional lives to strengthening New Hampshire communities for more than 40 years. From preserving and promoting our natural, cultural, and historic resources to defending women’s rights, this couple truly embodies the spirit of this prestigious award. An elected official for more than 20 years, first as State Representative and now as State Senator, Martha is also the 1st Vice Chair of the NH Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee. She has served on the boards of the NH Historical Society, the Nature Conservancy of NH, and is a founding board member of The Music Hall, the Seacoast Land Trust, and the NH Women’s Foundation. She currently serves on the boards of Strawbery Banke, the Portsmouth Historical Society, the NH Women’s Foundation, Scenic America, and as an adviser for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Born and raised on a farm in York, Maine, Martha is an art and architecture historian. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mills College and her master’s from Boston University.
A gastroenterologist by training, Jeff is a pharmaceutical entrepreneur. He helped to establish Portsmouth’s Historic District and was president of Theater by the Sea. He has served on the boards of Ballet New England, Pontine, Families First, the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation, The Music Hall, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. He is currently on the boards of New Hampshire Public Radio and Sustainable Harvest International, and he is a member of the Explorers Club’s Archives Committee. Jeff grew up in Rhode Island. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Jeff is also a documentary filmmaker. As a latter-day graduate student at UNH, he produced “Abandoned in the Arctic” based on his love for adventure and Arctic history. A pilot since he was 16, Jeff is now attempting to master aerobatics. Martha and Jeff are avid sailors and share a passion for history and the arts. They were married in 1971 and have three adult children: Caleb, Nathaniel, and Anna, as well as three grandchildren.
2016 Recipient: Jay McSharry
McSharry, a prolific restaurateur, graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1990. Nearly a decade after graduating, McSharry returned to NH’s Seacoast to fulfill his vision and open Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café. Building on the restaurant’s success, McSharry went on to open numerous establishments in the region, including Dos Amigos, Moxy, Vida Cantina, White Heron Tea & Coffee and The Franklin Oyster House.
A vision for a vibrant Portsmouth has always gone hand in hand with McSharry’s image of a successful restaurant. Serving on the boards of Share our Strength Seacoast and the Greater Seacoast Chamber of Commerce early on, McSharry revitalized the “Taste of the Nation Hunger Relief Gala” and helped create “Restaurant Week Portsmouth.”
Throughout his career, McSharry has remained committed to conservation and environmental issues. All of his establishments use a composting system to keep
unnecessary waste out of traditional landfills, and Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café features solar-powered hot water panels. His seafood restaurants participate in the Coastal Conservation Association of NH’s oyster shell recycling program, an initiative created to ensure that local oyster populations have beds to thrive in.
Giving back to the community that has given him so much continues to be important to McSharry, and was a driving factor in him receiving the award. He and his restaurant partners are loyal supporters of The Music Hall, Discover Portsmouth Center, Strawbery Banke Museum’s Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. An active supporter of his alma mater, McSharry established the Jay McSharry Diversity Scholarship Fund at UNH in 2009.
2015 Recipients: Janet Prince and Peter Bergh
Friends Forever has announced that the 2015 Eileen Foley Award will be presented to Janet Prince and Peter Bergh of New Castle, NH.Each year, Friends Forever presents the Eileen Foley Award to a New Hampshire citizen(s) who continues to take a personal responsibility to make the world a better place. “From the time they met serving on the board of the Greater Portsmouth United Way in 1988, to simultaneously chairing boards for two state-wide organizations—New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) for Janet, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for Peter, this couple truly exemplifies the spirit of this prestigious award,” said Steve Martineau, executive director of Friends Forever in making the announcement.
Prince, who runs Prince Communications, the communications firm she founded in
1981, has been involved in a variety of local, state, and regional organizations and causes. In the early years, she helped raise money to build the Seacoast Family Y, was an active member of the Prescott Park Arts Festival Board of Directors, and served on the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) at the invitation of then Governor Jeanne Shaheen.
Later on as board chair for the Greater Portsmouth United Way, she spearheaded an effort to merge with what was then the Dover United Way to create the United Way of the Greater Seacoast. More recently, in addition to her involvement with NHPR, Prince has been a member of the volunteer fundraising committee for the Portsmouth African Burying Ground Memorial Park.
Shortly after they met, Bergh left his career in banking to join Prince Communications, helping to grow the company into a leading benefits communications consulting firm with a national clientele. Early in his career, he served as
founding board member of The Music Hall, Friends of the Wentworth Hotel, and the Seacoast Land Trust, now part of Southeast Land Trust of NH. He was also an active board member for the Society for the Protection of NH Forests.
Bergh currently serves on the boards of the New Hampshire Community Foundation and the Appalachian Mountain Club. In addition, he chairs the board of the Northern Forest Center, a non-profit dedicated to helping northern NH, VT, NY, and Maine communities benefit from forest-based economic development. He is retired from Prince Communications and has worked as a Master Maine Guide for L.L. Bean since 2001.
The couple’s philanthropy is widespread, focusing on programs that support the most vulnerable, public media, land conservation, and arts and culture.
2014 Recipients: Cy and Bobbie Sweet
From working to save Great Bay to investing in Portsmouth’s renaissance, there are few New Hampshire couples that exemplify the spirit of the prestigious Eileen Foley Award more than Cy and Bobbie Sweet. For more than 35 years, this quietly determined and unassuming couple has played a vital role in the success of a wide range of local, regional, and national organizations and projects. Their extraordinary philanthropy and leadership qualities are known to be “game changing.”
“Through their passion for the marine environment and their unwavering generosity, Cy and Bobbie have had a truly profound and lasting impact on Great Bay.” -- Mark Zankel, NH State Director, The Nature Conservancy
While the list of organizations and causes the Sweets have embraced is long, highlights include the following:
The Island Institute, which works to sustain Maine’s island and remote coastal communities, where Bobbie has worked for decades, including serving as Board Chair.
The New Hampshire chapter of The Nature Conservancy, for which Cy—known for his knowledge of water quality issues—is one of the longest serving members. Visit the Great Bay Estuary and you can hike along the “Sweet Trail.”
National Botanical Garden, which Cy has served for more than 40 years, as well as the Ocean Conservancy. • Portsmouth-based Gundalow Company, with Cy as a key board member and supporter since its creation.
Strawbery Banke Museum, as overseers and stalwart donors since the late 1970s.
The Music Hall’s multi-million dollar “Treasure the Future” campaign, which according to co-chair Jamey French, “never would have gotten off the ground” without a lead gift from the Sweets.
Through their advised fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Sweets provide funding to numerous New Hampshire nonprofits.
Born and raised in Manchester, NH, Maxine Morse has been a force in the Granite State for more than 60 years and has dedicated her considerable energies to ensuring a higher quality of life for those less fortunate. A graduate of Cornell University, Maxine served as the Director of the Greater Manchester Child Care Center, New Hampshire’s first nonprofit child care center, from 1969-1974. Her work went on to include the Chairmanship of the 1975 Commission on Laws Affecting Mental Health. Funded in part by the New Hampshire Charitable Fund (currently known as the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation) the project identified and developed 22 proposals for legislative action updating N.H’s mental health laws—fifteen of which were passed.
Maxine has served on numerous boards and held leadership roles in many agencies including: Greater Manchester Mental Health Center, Odyssey House, New Horizons, the NH Social Welfare Council, the Lakes Region Mental Health Center, the
2013 Recipient: Maxine Morse
Children’s Alliance of NH, the NH Music Festival, the Portsmouth Music Hall, and the Canterbury Shaker Village. Having worked with then-Senator Eileen Foley on some of the 1975 progressive mental health legislation, Maxine is honored to be recognized by Friends Forever by receiving the award in Eileen’s name.
On Thursday, March 14th, 2013 friends and family watched as Morse was placed on the hot seat in front of those who know her best. While she was the punch line of multiple jokes and forced to dress up in a Mickey Mouse hat, it was mainly praise for Morse from the line-up of Roasters.
2012 Recipient: Jameson French
Jameson French is CEO of Northland Forest Products Inc., a Portsmouth resident, husband, father of three and a humble but extraordinary community leader. Jamey is active on many boards including The Foundation for Seacoast Health, The Nature Conservancy, the Quebec Labrador Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund.
He is the past Chair of the Society for the Protection of NH Forests and Strawbery Banke Museum and is a founder of the Portsmouth Music Hall. Jamey has served as Treasurer and Vice Chair of the NH charitable Foundation and was the Chair of Portsmouth Trust Funds for 17 years. He has also chaired three of the industry’s national trade associations including Hardwood Federation and the Forest Stewardship Council. Jamey has been a national and international leader of environmental forestry and green building issues.
2011 Recipient: Thomas Ferrini
Thomas Ferrini is a Portsmouth native who graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A in History in 1980 and from Vermont Law School in 1988. He is the director of the law firm Wyskiel, Boc, Tillinghast & Bolduc, PA in Dover, NH. Ferrini is a civil trial attorney and mediator practicing in the areas of workers compensations, personal injury and general litigation. Ferrini first ran for public office in 1977 when he was elected Ward Moderator of Ward 4 in Portsmouth and he was re-elected to that post two years later. He was elected to the City Council in 2003 and Assistant Mayor in 2005.
He was elected Mayor of Portsmouth in 2007 and again in 2009. Ferrini has served on many boards and commissions as a City Councilor, including the Portsmouth Planning Board and the Economic Development Commission. He has worked to improve openness and volunteerism in municipal government and local politics, seeking to increase participation of Portsmouth residents in the public discussion. Citizen involvement in the public process increased significantly during his tenure and he continues to promote economic development in ways that complement the quality of life in City neighborhoods.
2010 Recipient: Peter Loughlin
Peter was a natural selection for the Eileen Foley Award in 2010. A graduate of St. Patrick’s School and Notre Dame Law School, Peter was the Portsmouth City Attorney in the 1970’s and is considered to be the dean of municipal lawyers in the State. Peter has served on the Pease Development Authority for 20 years and has been Vice-Chairman for the last 16 years.
He has served as the Chairman of the Mayor’s Committee on Trees and Public Greenery, a Trustee of Strawberry Banke and the past president of the Pastoral Council at Corpus Christi Parish where he serves as a Eucharistic Minister. Peter is also known as the “Johnny Maple Seed” of Portsmouth, having planted over 700 trees along the City’s streets over the last 30 years.
2009 Recipient: Robert Sullivan
Bob has been an instrumental force in driving the growth and development of Portsmouth for decades. Bob has been with the City of Portsmouth and held the title of City Attorney since July 26, 1982. In his nearly 30 years of service to the city, he has demonstrated his integrity, compassion, and evenhanded approach to everyone he meets. Bob has cultivated beautiful friendships and relationships in his dozens of trips to Northern Ireland.
His honesty, wit, and lack of prejudice have endeared him both internationally and here in his hometown. He represents the best of New Hampshire. A citizen statesman, Bob selflessly and unassumingly committed his life to his community while retaining his spirit of independence and vigor as an avid hunter and outdoorsman.
2008 Recipient: Joe Shanley
A loving father and husband, successful broker and auctioneer; and a friend to many, it was an honor for us to recognize Joe Shanley with the first ever Eileen Foley Award at our 2008 St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and Roast.
For nearly 3 decades Joe gave generously to a multitude of non-profit organizations, and because of his auctioneer talents, millions of dollars have been raised in support of local agencies like: The Foundation for Seacoast Health, City Year, Special Olympics, Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, Cystic Fibrosis, Cross Roads House, New Generation, Inc., UNH Athletics, American Heart Association, Portsmouth Lions Club, Portsmouth New Hampshire School System, Friends Forever and many other charities.
In late November of 2012, our dear friend Joe Shanley passed away. Joe was an incredible volunteer for Friends Forever and played an instrumental role in our growth and development over the last few years. Joe donated countless hours for our auctions, bringing our students out for meals, and also developed this signature event. Joe is deeply missed and it will be hard to fill his shoes.