NORWAY — Representatives from the Harold Alfond College Challenge Program, the Alfond Scholarship Foundation and the Finance Authority of Maine visited Stephens Memorial Hospital recently to share birthday treats with staff. The celebration was to honor the birthday of the late Maine philanthropist Harold Alfond and to thank Stephens Memorial Hospital for its role in educating parents about the Harold Alfond College Challenge Grant.

Alfond representatives presented the treats as a thank you to staff for their commitment to helping all eligible Maine babies receive the $500 grant.

The college savings grant program awards a $500 grant to all Maine babies as long as a NextGen® account is opened by the baby’s first birthday. The Harold Alfond College Challenge Program is administered by FAME and is funded by the Alfond Scholarship Foundation.

“To date over 3,000 parents have shown their commitment to their child’s future by opening a NextGen College Investing Plan® account and receiving the $500 grant,” said Elizabeth Vanderweide, Harold Alfond College Challenge program manager.

“We owe much of the program’s success to the voluntary support and assistance of our hospital partners who help by informing new parents about the program while moms are still in the hospital. Thanking our partners on what would have been Mr. Alfond’s 96th birthday is one way to keep us connected to the incredible gift he gave for the future of Maine. It is also a reminder that the baby’s first birthday is the date when the application for the grant must be completed,” she said.

FAME has been partnering with all of Maine’s hospitals, many physician practices and social service organizations to inform new parents of the Alfond Grant.

Stephens Memorial Hospital will offer a Harold Alfond workshop to help parents sign up for the grant, from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, in the Harper Conference Center. Babies who are less than 1-year-old by this date are eligible to sign up and receive the grant. Parents have one year from their child’s date of birth to activate an account.

For more information, call the Family Birthplace at 743-1562, ext. 380.

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