ESSEX, NY — The Essex Community Fund (ECF) at Adirondack Foundation today announces that Dr. H. Nicholas Muller III will receive the 2022 Francisca Irwin Award for Community Service. The name of the award honors Francisca “Frisky” Paine Irwin, who served as the fund’s first chair and recognizes the precedent she established for extended selfless service to benefit Essex.
Muller, the fourth recipient of the Irwin Community Service Award since it was established in 2019, is recognized for decades of service to his community. As part of the award, he will direct a $1,000 grant from the Essex Community Fund to High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care. His name will be also added to a plaque that hangs in the Essex Town Office listing previous recipients Donna Sonnett, Sally Johnson and Ron Jackson.
“Dr. Muller, who we all know better as Nick, has been instrumental in the founding and success of ECF over many years,” said Norma Goff, current chair of Essex Community Fund. “He is now retired, and it is a pleasure to see him recognized for all his efforts, and have his name added to the special plaque.”
In addition to a career in academia that included associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a tenured professor of history at the University of Vermont, Muller served as the president & CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (Scottsdale, AZ, and Spring Green, WI), director of the Wisconsin Historical Society and director of Standex International Corp. He has published numerous books, columns and scholarly articles, was recognized as a recipient of the Henry Knox Award in 2018 by the Fort Ticonderoga Association and the “Heavy Lifting” award in 2015 by Adirondack Foundation, and has served on the Elizabethtown Community Hospital board, among many other boards.
Upon moving to Essex in 2002 with his wife Carol, he put his wealth of experience and skill to work to give back to his new community. He took on a leadership role to establish and grow the Essex Community Fund to become a permanent charitable resource to benefit the people of Essex. The Essex Community Fund offers grants to eligible nonprofit organizations in the town of Essex and others that serve Essex residents in support of community beautification, historic preservation, culture and the arts, education, recreation and programs for youth, seniors and other social services. Thanks to Muller’s leadership, the Essex Community Fund also helps administer the Allen Scholarship and Education Program at Adirondack Foundation, which awards scholarships to college- or trade-school bound high school graduates who are residents of Essex or Willsboro.
The Essex Community Fund has since awarded 165 grants that collectively add up $274,000, and is currently accepting applications for this year’s grant cycle. Past grant recipients include Champlain Area Trails, Essex Fire and Rescue, Belden Noble and Paine Memorial Libraries, Adirondack Art Association, Essex Farm Institute, Whallonsburg Grange, and many others.
“I deeply appreciate my previous and long association with the Essex Community Fund and Adirondack Foundation, and with the town of Essex and all within,” said Dr. Muller. “It is with humble gratitude that I accept this very special award, and present a check to Essex County High Peaks Hospice to assist them in the positive work they do to help so many — including me.”
To learn more about the Essex Community Fund and Adirondack Foundation, visit adirondackfoundation.org.
Photo at top: Nicholas Muller receives the 2022 Francisca Irwin Award for Community Service. Photo provided by the Adirondack Foundation.
Wonderful to see Frisky’s legend living on. I had the opportunity to work as Frisky’s private gardener during the summers of 1996 and 1997 both at her farmhouse in Essex and at Flat Rock. I was only in my early 20’s then but I learned so much from her graciousness, selflessness and love and respect of the environment. I have so many wonderful memories from those summers and feel so fortunate to not only have had the opportunity to work for a wonderful role model but also to work in such a beautiful place.