in Waterville, Maine, has announced a $5.3 million grant from the to create an institute focused on business innovation.
The gift, the largest in the college's history, will establish the , which will offer a variety of paid internships, professional development trainings and certificates, and academic programs. The institute is the result of two-plus years of research by the leadership of Thomas College, with a focus on year-round educational and professional development opportunities for the central Maine community.
Established by the founder of the Dexter Shoe company, who died in 2007, the Harold Alfond Foundation invests in education, health care, youth development, and philanthropic opportunities with the potential to generate enduring transformative change in Waterville and the state.
"Our mission and vision for this institute is to build on the legacy of Harold Alfond and what he accomplished, not only in the business world but also what he has done to contribute to Maine's economic growth," said Thomas College president Laurie Lachance. "The success of the institute will be based on three key pillars. 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."