The foundation of Peter G. Alfond, who died of complications from malaria in July 2017, has donated $48 million to support community wellness services at MaineGeneral Health in Augusta and Waterville and the Alfond Youth & Community Center in Waterville.

The Peter Alfond Foundation has donated a total of $48 million to MaineGeneral Health and the Alfond Youth & Community Center to support community health in the Kennebec Valley region.

A $40 million endowment will allow MaineGeneral Health to support preventive health programs, including the expansion of services at the newly renamed Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center.

And an $8 million endowment will permit the Alfond Center on North Street in Waterille to fund a wellness director position and wellness trainers.

A Waterville native, Peter G. Alfond, a son of the late philanthropist Harold Alfond, died at 65 on July 10, 2017, of complications from malaria he contracted on a trip to Africa. He lived in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In 1994, he founded the Peter Alfond Foundation, which supports educational, health care and other charitable institutions in Maine, elsewhere in New England and in the Caribbean.

Peter Alfond served on many boards and advisory committees related to community and educational organizations, including MaineGeneral Health.

Chuck Hays, president and CEO of MaineGeneral Health.

Chuck Hays, MaineGeneral’s president and CEO, said in a prepared announcement the $40 million Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center Endowment Fund will support innovative approaches to improve lives.

“With this investment, we will continue to break down barriers to care and wellness services to better address the health of community members,” Hays said. “This requires us to provide tools and services where people live, work and play.”

Hays said the funding comes at a critical time for the health care system.

“COVID-19 has dealt a severe negative financial blow to all health care organizations, requiring hard decisions,” he said. “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, according to Hayes, supports investments in expanding the reach of MaineGeneral’s Prevention & Healthy Living efforts — now operating as the Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center.

The center provides free or low-cost classes on healthful cooking and eating, physical activity and mind-body health. Classes will be expanded to worksites and elsewhere throughout the area to increase access.

The endowment will also increases access to teaching kitchens and boost efforts to teach people how to make healthy, affordable and tasty food at home. The funding will support culinary medicine efforts throughout the MaineGeneral system.

It will also expand community outreach through health workers who will meet with people and connect them to needed care and resources to improve their health and quality of life, according to officials.

MaineGeneral and the Alfond Center released a statement from Peter Alfond’s children that read: “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 multifaceted approach.”

Most recently, the Peter Alfond Foundation invested in community health at the Alfond Youth & Community Center. Those funds are helping to support facility enhancements and accessible programs, including services provided by MaineGeneral Health, to engage more area residents.

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

Ken Walsh, chief executive officer of the Alfond Center, said Peter Alfond was a friend who led the way in wellness in the community and expansion of the center’s focus.

“And his kids are ensuring the success of his visions,” Walsh said. “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.”

Dr. Barbara Crowley, a medical doctor and the 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,” 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 for 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,” Crowley said. “We are deeply grateful to Peter’s children for continuing his vision.”

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