Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Augusta, ME – Maine “dream-maker” and philanthropist Harold Alfond would have celebrated his 99 birthday on March 6. His legacy lives on in our state through the Alfond Scholarship Foundation, which to date has awarded over $9 million - or 18,000 $500 Harold Alfond College Challenge Grants - to Maine babies – so they can dream big, too.
The Alfond Grant is awarded to a NextGen College Investing Plan® account administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Opening a NextGen® account to receive the grant can even be done online in about 15 minutes. The grant is available to any Maine resident baby for whom a NextGen account has been opened by their first birthday.
Harold Alfond was well-known for challenging wider involvement to accomplish a certain goal, and the Alfond Scholarship Foundation works with many community and hospital groups to encourage more parents to open NextGen accounts and receive the $500 grant.
Central Maine Medical Center Pediatrics, for example, had tried many things to encourage patients to sign up for the Alfond Grant and most recently installed an on-line application kiosk for parents to sign up right in the waiting room. “We have been reminding parents about the $500 opportunity for the past four years, and they often say they will get to it when they have time. It’s such a great opportunity and we want to help families in as many good health and aspirational aspects as we can,” said Pam Cullet, Practice Manager.
There are no income limits and no contributions are required to receive the $500 grant. Funds in the NextGen account may be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses at any accredited post-secondary school, including four-year and two-year public and private colleges, certificate programs, trade schools, and even graduate schools.
Families of Maine babies may apply for the grant by visiting http://www.500forbaby.org or calling FAME at 1-800-282-3734 and completing an application by their child’s first birthday.
About the Alfond Scholarship Foundation
The Alfond Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established specifically to sponsor and support the Harold Alfond College Challenge. The foundation is a partnership of organizations and individuals who truly embrace Mr. Alfond’s philosophy, and includes representatives from the Maine Compact for Higher Education, FAME, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, the Maine Community Foundation, the Mitchell Institute, and at-large members that include representatives from MaineGeneral Health and the Maine Hospital Association. To learn more about the Harold Alfond College Challenge, please visit www.500forbaby.org.
About the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine people and businesses pursue educational and business opportunities. Established in 1983, FAME is committed to innovative, flexible financial solutions that address the needs of Maine individuals and companies in a changing economic landscape. FAME administers the Harold Alfond College Challenge and the NextGen College Investing Plan®. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com
1 To be eligible for the favorable tax treatment afforded to any earnings portion of withdrawals from Section 529 accounts, withdrawals must be “qualified higher education expenses,” as defined in the Internal Revenue Code. Any earnings withdrawn that are not used for such expenses are subject to federal income tax and may be subject to a 10% additional federal tax, as well as applicable state and local income taxes.
Please remember there's always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.
The Alfond Grant is awarded to a NextGen account. NextGen is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Before you invest in NextGen, request a NextGen Program Description from your Maine bank or financial advisor, or call FAME at 1-800-228-3734 and read it carefully. The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in NextGen, which you should carefully consider before investing. You also should consider whether your or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s 529 plan. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC, is the program manager and underwriter.