A Family’s Unprecedented Legacy
Harold Alfond was married to Dorothy “Bibby” Levine Alfond, a member of the Colby Class of 1938. Their shared commitment to Colby, Waterville, and Maine continues through the work of the Foundation. Dozens of Alfond and Levine family members attended Colby over the last century, and Harold Alfond received an honorary doctorate from the College in 1980.
“The Harold Alfond Foundation and the Alfond family have made an indelible mark not only on Colby but on this area and the entire state of Maine,” said Colby President David A. Greene. “What I love most about the Foundation’s philanthropy is how it directly benefits the people of Maine while at the same time fostering connections between the grantees and their communities. That is certainly true at Colby, where the people of this area will experience the long-lasting impact as the downtown revitalization efforts come fully to fruition and as we are able to welcome our community into the beautiful Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center.”
Supporting Students at the Highest Level
The new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center is the most state-of-the-art and comprehensive NCAA D-III facility in the country, and another example of Colby’s and the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to excellence and student support.
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A Thriving Downtown
To date, $84 million of investment by Colby and the Foundation can be seen in a wide range of important initiatives on Main Street including the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, a residential complex for Colby students in the middle of downtown that has deepened civic engagement with the community, the soon-to-be-completed Lockwood Hotel with its new Front and Main restaurant, the arts collaborative, and the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.
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In the mid-20th century, Waterville, then home to the Alfond family, was a thriving commercial center. Over the past several decades the area has confronted loss of manufacturing jobs and the city center became less of a dynamic core. Inspired and led by Harold Alfond’s commitment to leadership and teamwork, and his desire to give those in his community the opportunity to succeed, the Harold Alfond Foundation has long supported the Waterville and Central Maine communities through grants and challenges to the Alfond Youth Center, Thomas College, Educare of Central Maine, the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, Colby College, and many more.
In 2014, partnering with the city that had long supported the College, Colby committed to efforts to create a thriving downtown and a sustainable economic future for Waterville. The Foundation, led by Chairman Greg Powell, who grew up in Waterville and received an honorary degree from Colby in 2018, has been an extraordinary partner in this effort. In 2016 Powell announced the first major commitment from the Foundation toward the downtown Waterville efforts, $10 million, which was matched by the College.
To date, $84 million of investment by Colby and the Foundation can be seen in a wide range of important initiatives on Main Street including the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, a residential complex for Colby students in the middle of downtown that has deepened civic engagement with the community, and the soon-to-be-completed Lockwood Hotel with its new Front and Main restaurant. The integrated strategy for Waterville, where all projects are connected and reinforce each other to create new centers of community on Main Street, includes the creation of an arts ecosystem to position the city as a premier destination for arts and culture.
Boosting the Arts and the City
One of the key elements is Colby’s recently announced arts collaborative at 18 Main Street, currently under construction with a planned opening in the spring of 2021. The arts collaborative will benefit Colby students and faculty as well as the broader community by providing vibrant arts programming and artist studios. Other important venues include the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, a partnership with the community arts organization Waterville Creates!, which will break ground in 2021 and expand the renowned Colby Museum of Art to Main Street by housing a new gallery of contemporary art downtown, as well as the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts, which is in the pre-construction phase on Colby’s campus.
“Waterville will soon have a diverse set of flexible, multipurpose spaces for art and cultural programming that will enrich life in the city by attracting internationally recognized and emerging artists, support access to world-class performances and exhibits and provide new opportunities for creative expression for all of our community members,” said Colby’s Diamond Family Director of the Arts Teresa McKinney. “Just as vital, the arts can be an economic driver in Waterville and are a core component of the community’s revitalization, which is why investing in the city’s cultural programs is one of the highest priorities of this initiative.”
Athletics and Recreation as Economic Driver
The new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center will also be an important part of Colby’s commitment to drive the economic resurgence of Waterville and Central Maine. To that end, the ability to eventually invite more teams and events to campus—from NESCAC to international competitions—will have a significant positive impact on the local economy.
Just as important, once the pandemic is contained the center will expand on Colby’s long history of being a partner, steward, and resource for community events, including youth competition and practice.
“This beautiful new building will eventually provide an opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate and support athletics, which, through its focus on teamwork and healthy competition, can positively impact the lives of young people,” said Wisecup. “This was always the core intent of the building’s namesake, Harold Alfond, and Colby will continue to honor that purpose.”
Construction of the $200-million Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, which broke ground in October 2017, included more than 80 contractors, nearly 50 of which were Maine based. Additionally, almost $120 million of the overall cost of the project went to businesses within the state.
Harold Alfond Foundation Gift Significant to Dare Northward Campaign
The generous funding from the Harold Alfond Foundation is also a significant part of Colby’s Dare Northward campaign, the largest campaign in liberal arts college history. With $555 million raised to date, representing nearly 75 percent of its goal of $750 million, the College has launched key initiatives that are already having an impact on Colby students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community.