Colby College

Category: Education
Year of Last Grant Award:2020

The Harold Alfond Foundation is a longtime supporter of Colby College. Harold Alfond’s first ever major gift was made to Colby, in 1955, to build the Alfond Ice Rink. According to the College, “Beginning in the 1950s with construction of the Alfond Ice Rink and then later the best-in-class Harold Alfond Athletic Center, made possible by the generosity and vision of Harold Alfond, Colby College and the Harold Alfond Foundation have continued a long-standing partnership to support the competitive success of our athletes and encourage healthy and active lifestyles for the campus community and beyond.”

In the years since, numerous grants have been awarded to the College, including to create scholarship funds and professorships, build athletic facilities and campus residences, expand the Colby Museum of Art to house the Lunder Art Collection, launch the Center for Small Town Jewish Life and other centers for teaching and research, among other projects, often with matching fundraising requirements to inspire external philanthropic gifts.

Most recently, the Foundation has partnered with Colby on an effort to revitalize downtown Waterville. This initiative has included helping to fund Colby’s purchase, renovation, and construction of Main Street properties, including a student residence, boutique hotel (the Lockwood Hotel), and the Paul J. Schupf Arts Center, the latter project being spearheaded by the College in collaboration with the arts and cultural group Waterville Creates!.

In the words of the College, “With generous support and guidance from the Harold Alfond Foundation, Colby continues to advance its strategy for transforming Main Street into a vibrant retail, business, residential, and cultural center. The comprehensive nature of this effort has begun to make an impact, with several projects moving forward to establish Waterville as a destination for the arts, commerce, and recreation, and to create a sense of place downtown through an improved streetscape and pedestrian experience that supports growth. Waterville is now seeing a growing population, rising property values, and unprecedented investment.” 

In 2020, the Foundation announced an additional $101,000,000 in grant funding to Colby to further support the College’s revitalization of downtown Waterville and to complete a state-of-the-art athletic and recreation center on the College’s campus, both efforts towards the goal of creating a prosperous and economically vibrant Waterville and Central Maine.

Regarding the athletic center gift, Colby has written, “For generations, Colby has been committed to community athletics in greater Waterville and throughout Maine, and the Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of these efforts. With the completion of our new athletic center, opening in the fall of 2020, Colby’s facilities are among the very best in the nation, will continue the tradition of serving as a resource for the community, and will drive significant economic benefit for Waterville and the Central Maine region.”