Aroostook Aspirations received amazing news this week. Pineland Farms, known in Aroostook for their Naturally Potatoes plant, now called the Potato and Cheese Division, announced today that the Mars Hill based company has committed to a $50,000 donation, payable at the rate of $10,000 per year beginning in 2014, to the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative. Founded by Ray and Sandy Gauvin, Aroostook Aspirations awards 16 $1,000 renewable scholarships each year, one for every high school in Aroostook. Gauvin Scholars receive the scholarship, attend a local college or university, and benefit from the program’s consistent engagement plan through a number of activities and retreats throughout their college experiences.
Rodney McCrum, President and CEO of Pineland Farms Potato and Cheese Division made the official announcement, “Today I am announcing the largest gift of this type our company has ever made. We believe in the concept created by The Gauvins to build a multi- million-dollar foundation to be used for college scholarships awarded to deserving high school graduates from every community in the County. These students elect to attend a college in Aroostook, boosting our economy and helping to reduce our outward migration level. This is a great idea that deserves support from all of us. Nothing is more important than educating our young people, and as parents and business people trying to operate successfully here, we understand the importance of a steady flow of bright college graduates into our economy and area.”
“We view this as a great investment in the future of our children, our businesses and our communities. We see this as a win, win, win investment, and we hope others in The County will agree and join us as financial supporters of this program,” McCrum concluded.
Sandy Gauvin, the Board President of AAI, marveled at the support offered with this commitment, “We at Aroostook Aspirations appreciate the generous donation made by Pineland Farms Potato and Cheese Division. Their support will allow us to help more young people get a quality post-secondary education and have the opportunity to stay in Aroostook County, work in good jobs, raise their families here, and contribute to the economy of Northern Maine. This gift illustrates not only the company’s belief in Aroostook Aspirations, but their strong belief in a positive future for our youth and the County that we all love. Pineland Farms Potato and Cheese Division has been supportive in multiple ways since our beginning, and we look forward to working together with them for a long time into the future.”
“This kind of support is always exciting,” says April Flagg, executive director of the program, “but for AAI it is an example of what we believe. Pineland Farms Potato and Cheese Division has made significant economic investments in The County, both with this commitment and a $7 million expansion at the Naturally Potatoes facility in Mars Hill. That is a promise to this County, to her people and to her children. The company’s belief in the importance of education for our young people is firm, and their commitment today shows how serious they are about education in The County. I’m so delighted to have the opportunity to work with Rodney and Haley; they are the epitome of Aroostook- perseverance, tenacity, and a belief that success is possible. It is truly what we are all about. In today’s statement by Pineland Farm Potato and Cheese Division, the company did more than vocally support our efforts, they invested in our efforts, in our Scholars, and in the future of Aroostook County. It is a beautiful testament to their belief in the promise and the future of the children in Aroostook. With this investment, they assured the youth in this County that they will be here to support that promise and protect that future. “
Ray and Sandy Gauvin founded Aroostook Aspirations Initiative in April 2013 to support the college dreams of County kids. The students selected for this prestigious award become Gauvin Scholars and are part of a mentoring and guidance program that supports the students throughout their college years. If you would like to learn more about Aroostook Aspirations, or would like to make a donation and help County kids achieve the college dream, visit them online at www.gauvinfund.org or call their office, 207-760-0558.