About Us

Dr. Joan Morton Kelly, 1950

Dr. Joan Morton Kelly, 1950

The Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust was established in 1988 by Joan Morton Kelly and her mother, Mildred Duncan Morton, to facilitate their philanthropic activities.

Joan was a 1942 graduate of Wellesley College and received her Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Michigan. She was instrumental in the creation of the Children’s Zoo at the San Diego Zoo and became its superintendent in 1958.

Joan and her family were long time summer residents of Higgins Beach in Scarborough where they were at one time the owners of the Silver Sands Hotel, which was destroyed in a winter storm. After the death of her father and her husband, Joan and her mother maintained their residence at Higgins Beach and lived part time in Cape Elizabeth. An early admirer of Rachel Carson, Joan became a dedicated environmentalist and worked to protect Higgins Beach and surrounding areas.

After becoming a full-time Maine resident, Joan became deeply involved in the Greater Portland community and active on the boards of many nonprofits including the Portland Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum, the Maine College of Art and the Maine Maritime Academy among others.

As the years passed, her philanthropy and that of the Trust, extended throughout Maine. Always a person of great generosity, she diligently sought to maintain her privacy and anonymity. Since Joan’s death in 2012, the Directors of the Trust have been committed to serving as thoughtful stewards of this philanthropic legacy.

Board of Directors

Marilyn LaLumiere, President
Douglas Henry
Janet Henry
Sheila Jans
Erik C. Jorgensen
Michael Quinlan, Secretary

Merton Henry (1926-2018) In Memoriam