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PAF gift announcement Chuck Hays 052020The health and well-being of people in the Kennebec Valley region will be enhanced for years to come because of generous gifts from the Peter Alfond Foundation to MaineGeneral Health and the Alfond Youth & Community Center.

A $40 million endowment will allow MaineGeneral to significantly expand its prevention programs to sustain improvements to community health. The Alfond Youth & Community Center has been endowed $8 million to fund the positions of 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.”

Hays noted, “This funding comes at a critical time for our health care system. 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 (CHWs) 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.

Peter 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.”

Most recently, the Peter Alfond Foundation invested in community health at the Alfond Youth & Community Center (AYCC) in Waterville, ME. Those funds supported facility enhancements and accessible programming, including services provided by MaineGeneral Health, to engage more area residents.

The additional $8 million investment in the AYCC by the Peter Alfond Foundation broadens the Center’s ability to address whole family wellness by providing 1:1, small class and large group wellness classes and activities to all community members. The endowment will support the sports medicine and teaching kitchen programs offered by MaineGeneral at the AYCC.

“Peter was a friend, a supporter and a mentor who led the way in wellness in the community and the expansion of our facility’s focus,” explained Ken Walsh, AYCC CEO, “and his kids are ensuring the success of his visions. Knowing that a place is nothing without the people who plan and deliver the programs to its members, this endowment secures the Wellness Center operations and staff positions well into the future and gives us the ability to employ the most talented and visionary folks around.”

Barbara Crowley, MD, Peter Alfond Foundation Endowment Leader at MaineGeneral Health, is overseeing the implementation of the MaineGeneral endowment funds.

“We lost Peter Alfond, visionary, friend and philanthropist, nearly three years ago,” Dr. Crowley said. “Peter believed passionately in disease prevention and healing through access to good nutrition, exercise, stress management and mindful living. He cared so deeply about this community and we are honored to receive this gift from his family and foundation to help us further his vision.”

Peter Alfond served nearly a decade on the MaineGeneral Health Board of Directors. He invested in wellness opportunities that became the teaching kitchen and cafeteria in the Alfond Center for Health, and in the creation of new programming accessible to all in the community under MaineGeneral’s Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center.

“The people of the Kennebec Valley will benefit for generations to come because of the impact Peter Alfond has made and these gifts from his foundation,” Dr. Crowley said. “We are deeply grateful to Peter’s children for continuing his vision.”