$240 million gift to UMaine System ranks among largest ever to public institutes of higher ed

A $240 million gift to the University of Maine System is among the largest ever gifts to public institutes of higher education and will be used to invest in new facilities, scholarships and athletics over the next 12 years.

The funding is part of a $500 million investment announced by the Harold Alfond Foundation Tuesday that will provide grants of between $5 million and $240 million to expand science and technology education and workforce skills around Maine. The grants are the largest set of commitments the philanthropic organization has made in its 70-year history.

About half of the total Alfond donation will go to the U Maine System, which announced more details Wednesday on how the money will be spent. The gift is the 8th largest gift ever to a U.S. institute of public higher education and the largest ever in New England, according to a news release from the system.

“This is a combination of a year long effort to explain the needs of the system to an organization that has been very generous in the past and an effort to come forward with new initiatives that obviously have attracted the support of the Alfonds,” said University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy.

“They have been very supportive of the University of Maine System and the University of Maine in the past, particularly in athletics, but this is really groundbreaking in its scope and its investments in Maine’s future.”

The funding will go to the system over the next 12 years and will also be used to secure an additional $170 million in matching funds from private, state and federal sources, resulting in a $410 million total investment.

The initial $240 million will be divided between $55 million for the Maine Graduate and Professional Center at the University of Southern Maine including a new state-of-the-art building to house the Maine Center programs and Maine Law; $75 million for a multi-university Maine College of Engineering, Computing and Information Science to be led by the University of Maine; $20 million for student success and retention programs; and $90 million for athletic facilities.

This story will be updated.

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