As a child, Elmina Brewster Sewall was given two piggy banks. Her weekly allowance was divided equally: half in a piggy bank designated for her own spending and half in a piggy bank marked "Charity". Thus began "Sis" Sewall's lifelong commitment to helping those in need. She long focused her volunteer and philanthropic efforts on animal welfare, land conservation, and issues affecting human well-being.
In 1996, Mrs. Sewall was named Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in her hometown of Kennebunk, Maine. She stated then with typical humble grace: "I like to help people out...I like to do what I can." Through her personal giving as well as that of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, which she established in 1982, Mrs. Sewall has had a profound impact on life in Kennebunk and the State of Maine.
Since Mrs. Sewall's death in 2005, the Foundation's Board of Directors has sought to continue her philanthropic legacy. The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation makes grants in Maine in the following three areas of interest: Animal Welfare, Healthy People Healthy Places, and Legacy.