AUGUSTA — The Peter Alfond Foundation has donated a $40 million endowment to MaineGeneral Health and $8 million to the Alfond Youth & Community Center.
The money will allow MaineGeneral to significantly expand its prevention programs to sustain improvements to community health. The Alfond Youth & Community Center will be able to hire a wellness director and wellness trainers.
“The $40 million Peter Alfond Prevention and Healthy Living Center Endowment Fund supports innovative approaches to improve lives,” said MaineGeneral President & CEO Chuck Hays. “With this investment, we will continue to break down barriers to care and wellness services to better address the health of community members. This requires us to provide tools and services where people live, work and play.
“This funding comes at a critical time for our health care system,” Hayes said. “COVID-19 has dealt a severe negative financial blow to all health care organizations, requiring hard decisions. Maintaining funding for community health is always a challenge. This gift allows us not only to continue but to expand our prevention and healthy living programming as we focus operational dollars on COVID-19 recovery and disease-specific health care needs.”
The endowment supports investments in:
* Expanding the reach of MaineGeneral’s current Prevention & Healthy Living – now named the Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center – which provides free and low-cost classes on healthy cooking and eating, physical activity and mind-body health. Classes will expand to worksites as well as other places throughout the area to increase access. * Enhancing access to teaching kitchens, including working with our community partners, and using pop-up kitchens to teach individuals how to make healthy, affordable and tasty food at home with their families. Additionally, this funding will support culinary medicine efforts throughout our system. * Expanding community health outreach through a team of Community Health Workers who will meet people “where they are at” and link them to needed care and resources to improve their health and quality of life. CHWs are trusted members of the community who understand community resources and needs. CHWs facilitate access to services and improve the cultural competence of service delivery. * Evaluation of supported programming to ensure that the goals of improving personal and public health are being met through these efforts, and sharing best practices so other communities may benefit from successful strategies and tools.
Alfond’s children said, “It was our father’s sincere desire to improve the quality of life of those living in the Kennebec Valley. The Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center is the result of his vast knowledge of wellness, his entrepreneurial spirit and his relentless philanthropic zest. This gift represents a final manifestation of our father’s vision of a sustainable solution to improving one’s quality of life through a multi-faceted approach.”
PHOTO: Chucy Hayes, CEO of MaineGeneral, announces the Peter Alfond Foundation donation to the hospital. (Submitted photo)