Thomas College is a longtime grant partner of the Harold Alfond Foundation, having received support for athletic and business education facilities, scholarship funds, student retention programs, employer workforce development partnerships, and the creation of the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation to help meet the workforce needs of Central Maine businesses.
According to the College, “The Harold Alfond Foundation has played a transformative role in Thomas College’s success since its first investment in 1988. At that time, Thomas faced significant threats, but Harold Alfond recognized the College’s vital role in educating central Maine’s workforce and personally led the effort to re-establish financial security. Since then, the Foundation has continued to help improve the quality of a Thomas education and lift the sights of the College’s many first-generation students.
“In 2004, as enrollment increased, the Foundation led construction of Harold Alfond Athletic Center, the first dedicated athletic and wellness facility on campus. In addition to providing the lead gift in this effort, the Foundation asked Thomas to leverage its gift to enlist and engage alumni and friends in giving, too—which in turn bolstered the College’s culture of philanthropy.
“The Foundation issued a similar challenge in the next big campaign: if Thomas could raise $5 million to build a new academic center and grow the Annual Fund, the Foundation would match it with $4 million for capital construction and $1 million for the endowment to support scholarships. The campaign was a success, and the Harold Alfond Academic Center—the second academic building on campus—opened in 2014.” That same year, the Foundation supported the establishment of the Harold and Bibby Alfond Scholarship Fund, to provide tuition assistance to deserving students who, without financial aid, may not have otherwise had the opportunity to attend the College.
In addition to those grants described by Thomas above, the Harold Alfond Foundation has also partnered with the College (along with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates) to increase student retention rates, as well as to create the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation, the latter a business and academic collaboration to help Central Maine companies grow and thrive. Similarly, the Foundation has supported Thomas’s partnership with technology company CGI, Inc., to help facilitate training and development, internships, and certification programs for CGI and other tech employees in Waterville.
In 2020, the Foundation renewed its Thomas support with a $13,500,000 grant supporting the long-term success of the College. Funds will be directed toward increasing affordability, enhancing student retention, developing new innovative academic programs, and furthering the College’s employer collaborations through the Institute for Business Innovation.