A historic investment in education and in Maine

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The half a billion dollar in grants that the Harold Alfond Foundation has pledged to several higher education and research institutions is an astronomical sum and a historic investment in Maine’s future.

The collection of gifts announced on Oct. 6 total over $500 million and will go to eight different recipients across the state. The focuses of this funding are critical: to grow Maine’s economy and workforce, and to support quality health care.

For example, the Roux Institute at Northeastern University, an exciting new initiative in Portland aimed at growing Maine’s technology and innovation economy, will receive $100 million — more than $60 million of which will go toward scholarships. The University of New England is receiving funding to support the construction of a new health sciences facility at its Portland campus, among other initiatives, as part of a grant that is being unveiled in greater detail on Tuesday.

The largest grant in the mix is going to the University of Maine System, to the tune of $240 million over 12 years. It’s not only the largest single donation in the history of the system or the Alfond Foundation, it’s also the largest gift ever given to a New England public education institution. Remarkable doesn’t begin to describe it.

Alfond Foundation Chairman Greg Powell and UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy explained to the BDN how the grant was connected to the system’s push for a unified accreditation across the state’s seven universities that promotes collaboration, not competition, between the campuses.

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