Join the (Coffee) Club
Updated: Feb 26
The new Good Will-Hinckley Coffee Club was created as a way for people to take the money they’d normally spend on java and donate it to worthwhile GWH programs and initiatives.
Over time, that’s a lot of dough! The daily $2.75 you’d normally spend on a cup of coffee can be automatically debited from your account: $19.25 per week; $38.50 every two weeks or $83.65 per month. You can also pay $1,000 for a one-year Coffee Club membership.
This way, for the price of a cup of coffee each day, you can have a major impact in a child’s life and on the generations that follow. Great opportunities to help others seldom come about, but small ones surround us every day, just like having a daily cup of coffee.
What are you getting in return? For just $2.75/day, Good Will-Hinckley can pay for one student’s lunch, three students’ recreational opportunities or for a student’s clothing, shoes and personal items for a year.
There are countless success stories resulting from GWH programs, and with funding from initiatives like Coffee Club, we can help even more children, adults and families turn their lives around.
One of the most compelling stories, however, dates all the way back to 1883, six years before Good Will-Hinckley was formed, when George Walter Hinckley first arrived in Maine.
An Organization Built on Giving
One of George Walter’s first trips was to Penobscot County to organize a Sunday School in Lee. There, he met a young man named George Averill, who would later grow up to be one of GWH’s biggest benefactors and one of Maine’s largest givers.
At the time of their chance meeting, though, Averill was destitute. According to the Chronicles of Good Will Home, Averill’s father was a Civil War veteran who died when George was young. His mother, Leah, raised five children on her husband’s $7 a month pension as a war widow. Suffice it to say, George Averill didn’t have an extravagant upbringing.
Leah Averill made clothes for her children out of anything she could find, and George’s didn’t fit well, so he was picked on at school. In later years, as George made his way through Lee Academy, earning five dollars for one summer’s work as a janitor, cook at a lumber camp and insurance salesman, he enrolled in medical school at Tufts and became a doctor in Enfield in the 1890s.
After practicing in Maine, Averill studied again at Tufts and opened a new practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near the turn of the century. In 1911, Dr. Averill moved to Waterville to work for his father-in-law’s fiber and paper company and never returned to medical practice.
One of his first major contributions was born out of tragedy. His first wife, Mabel Keyes, died during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, leaving behind money to build a cottage for 15 boys on Good Will’s campus, which was known as the Keyes Cottage when it was dedicated on Oct. 8, 1924.
The next major donation, in 1927, came from Averill and his second wife, Frances. They gave $20,000 to build the Leah S. Averill Cottage in honor or George Averill’s mother. Toward the end of 1927, George Averill reportedly sold his interest in his father-in-law’s business for $4 million. He invested in California real estate, farm ranches, oil wells and house construction, and he used some of the proceeds from those investments to continue his philanthropy.
Years later, Averill’s next big donation of $125,000 came around GWH’s 78th birthday when the school opened the eponymous Averill High School. The school would become the center of educational life at GWH for decades to come.
Though he’d pass away in 1954, thousands of other people have made contributions, and every donation has been important, even if it’s literally the money you’d spend on a cup of a coffee.
From the legacy of George Averill and the Good Will Monthly Contributors Club to the organization’s newest form of philanthropy, the Coffee Club, Good Will Hinckley’s dedication to helping Maine children has endured for more than 132 years and will continue long into the future.
We’ll hope you join us in this endeavor. We have a marvelous history of philanthropy, and we’re excited for it to continue.