Alfond, Harold (1990)
Harold Alfonds' induction into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame is a heartening testimonial to a lifetime of contributions.
Alfond has been one of the game’s most enthusiastic supporters since his life-long relationship began. He was an infielder playing short and third, occasionally in the outfield for Swampscott High School. In his senior year, Alfond was elected team captain.
Following graduation, he continued to play with the town team in Kennebunk.
From his earliest introduction, he has supported amateur baseball in Maine, especially at the Little League,American Legion and college levels. He has been responsible for the continuation of baseball clinics at all levels of amateur baseball throughout the state. For many years, he supported summer semi-pro baseball in Waterville and particularly the Augusta Millionaires which included Ted Lepcio, Haywood Sullivan and Harry Aganis. Alfond was among the founders and principal supporter of the beginning of Little League baseball in Waterville and has sponsored a team in that program since its foundation. He also similarly was involved in Norridgewock and was responsible for the development of baseball fields in that community, as well as other baseball fields in the State of Maine.
Alfond has supported various amateur programs in Waterville with particular support to the American Legion team on which his son, William, was a member of the state championship team in 1964. The team was coached by John Winkin (Hall, 1975).
Over the years Alfond has also supported baseball programs at Colby College and the University of Maine during the distinguished coaching tenure of Winkin. Alfond recently donated the office complex in the clubhouse at the University of Maine in honor of Winkin, his close friend. More recently, he contributed support for the new outdoor batting cages and pitching mounds at the University of Maine.
For the last 10 years he has been a limited partner of ownership in the Boston Red Sox and has become a respected figure among all of the dignitaries of baseball -Peter V. Ueberroth, A. Bartlett Giamatti and present Commissioner Fay Vincent. Alfond has a particularly close friendship with Dr. Bobby Brown, President of the American league.
Alfond has annually witnessed most All-Star games and almost every World Series, traveling with Winkin. There has been no more ardent baseball enthusiast or genuine supporter of amateur baseball in the State of Maine. His generosity made it possible for many programs to survive, develop and to serve many youngsters at all levels in Maine.
He has donated money to various institutions of learning to help improve their sports facilities; for example, the Alfond Arena and Alfond Stadium at the University of Maine, the Harold and Ted Alfond Sports Center at Rollins College, the Harold Alfond Center for Health Sciences and the Alfond Forum at the University of New England, the Harold Alfond Management Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Isenberg School, and the Alfond Center at Saint Joseph's College of Maine. In December 2003, five years after his $1.65-million donation for the athletic and recreation center, Alfond contributed $1 million to St. Joseph's towards the $10 million needed to build Alfond Hall, the college's primary academic hall.
Harold Alfond and the Alfond Foundation have also been major supporters of Kents Hill School in Readfield, Maine. Kents Hill opened the Alfond Athletics Center in 2001 and the Alfond Athletic Fields - the largest turf complex in New England - in 2008 after receiving substantial gifts. In 2011, Kents Hill received a $2.3 million gift for the construction of its Akin Learning Center. Most recently in 2015, the school received a $3.5 million matching grant for the construction of a new dining hall.
In 2007, having lived with cancer for 17 years, Alfond donated $7 million to a cancer care center at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. The center is named the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care.
The Alfond Scholarship Foundation introduced the "Harold Alfond College Challenge" in January 2009. Through the program, a $500 grant is given to every Maine resident who is enrolled before his or her first birthday; the money is intended to help Maine families plan for education beyond high school. As of July 2010, 5,500 babies have been enrolled in the program.
Investments in sports
In addition to his donations to colleges for improvements to their sports facilities, Alfond demonstrated his support of sports in other ways.
In 1978, a group purchasing the Boston Red Sox was looking for a Maine sportsman to join them. Alfond was the obvious choice and ever since Dexter has been a limited partner in the franchise. When Dexter was sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 1993, the Alfond family retained its stake in the team, a stake that remains in the hands of two of his sons.