A prominent Maine philanthropic organization said Tuesday that it is granting more than $500 million to “high-performing” institutions that it said will help build Maine’s future.
The Harold Alfond Foundation said the grants, which range from $5 million to $240 million, will be given to innovative higher education and research organizations that can help create jobs, educate and build skills.
“Our state faces unprecedented challenges,” said Greg Powell, chair of the Harold Alfond Foundation. “In the face of these challenges, we still see a bright, prosperous future for the people of Maine.”
Gov. Janet Mills said the investment will “fuel new opportunities for Maine people and diversify and expand our economy at a critical moment in our state’s history.” The institutions that will receive the grants will support the goals of Maine’s 10-year economic development plan.
The grant recipients are the new Roux Institute at Northeastern University in Portland, the University of Maine System, the University of New England, Thomas College, FocusMaine, Colby College, Waterville Creates! and The Jackson Laboratory.
Each of those institutions is expected to roll out detailed plans on how much it will be funded and what it will do with the money over this and next week.
The University of Maine System is expected to launch a multi-university “College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science,” among other things.
The Roux Institute money is expected to support scholarships, graduate education programming and research capabilities for Mainers in the fields of artificial intelligence, computer and data science, digital engineering and advanced life sciences and medicine.
The University of New England grant will help establish the Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice and construct a new facility for the relocation of the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine from Biddeford to Portland.
Thomas College’s money will go toward launching academic programs and deepening its academic and employer community partnerships through the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation.
FocusMaine, a 10-year, private-sector initiative, will use its grant to accelerate jobs in the life sciences, agriculture and agriculture.
Colby College will apply the funds to support the economic revitalization of downtown Waterville including the redevelopment of multiple Main Street buildings and the construction of a state-of-the-art athletic and recreation center. Waterville Creates! will use the money to construct a center for the arts in downtown Waterville.
The Jackson Laboratory will apply the funding to further the scope of the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative and increase patient access to genomic therapies and clinical trials.