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May 11, 2017

Alfond Foundation $5.3M grant to fund business institute at Thomas College

Courtesy / Thomas College Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation, joins Laurie Lachance, president of Thomas College, during Wednesday's announcement of the foundation's $5.3 million gift supporting a new institute for business at the college in Waterville.

Thomas College has received a $5.3 million commitment for a new institute for business from the Harold Alfond Foundation.

Greg Powell, chairman of the foundation, and trustee Bill Alfond presented a check to Laurie Lachance, president of Thomas College, at a public announcement of the grant on Wednesday.

It’s the largest gift in the history of the college, which was founded in 1894.

The funding will create the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation at Thomas College. The program will enhance paid internships and a wide array of professional training, certificates and academic programming.

"This is an exciting day for business and economic development in Maine,” Powell said in a press release announcing the grant. “We believe Laurie’s leadership, knowledge of economic development, and vision for how Maine can grow its workforce makes this a smart investment. The foundation is confident that Harold Alfond's entrepreneurial spirit will live on through the work here at Thomas College and the individual business leaders and entrepreneurs that take part in the wide range of opportunities that will be available to them,” said Powell.

Alfond founded the Dexter Shoe Co. The Harold Alfond Foundation has made significant investment Maine’s education, health care and youth development programs.

Lachance said the gift will help “catalyze the innovative capacity of our people.”

“The success of the institute will be based on three key pillars,” she said. “The first is to create opportunities for Maine business leaders and entrepreneurs to access professional development so they can have the education and tools they need to succeed. Second, we want to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in central Maine that will catalyze the innovative capacity of our people. Third, we want to increase access to paid internship opportunities with local businesses to connect them with a pipeline of talent that will allow them to grow."

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