To kick off 2023, I have been writing about people and organizations giving back to the community.
Readers enjoy seeing uplifting, positive stories. So today, I wanted to write about a woman in Maine and the good she has done for the community.
Her name is Susan Alfond, and she is the wealthiest person in Maine. But the good she does with her wealth makes for a good story.
The wealthiest person in Maine
Susan Alfond's fortune is primarily thanks to her father, Harold.
Harold Alfond started work at the Kesslen Shoe Company in Kennebunk, Maine, after graduating high school in 1934. After six years there, he bought a shoe factory in Norridgewock, Maine, which he sold in 1940.
Shoes were in the family's blood, and in 1956 Harold purchased a wool mill in Dexter, Maine, and founded the Dexter Shoe Company producing shoes for chains across the United States as well as his own shoes under the Dexter name.
In 1993 Harold sold the company to Warren Buffett in return for $420 million of stock. This was an incredibly wise move, as these shares are worth billions now.
The shares were split between Harold Alfond's four children upon his death. The youngest child, Peter, died in 2017. Ted and Bill Alfond both live in Massachusetts; hence Susan became the richest person in Maine.
Harold was big on philanthropy, and his daughter has continued this.
In 1950 Harold and his wife Dorothy established the first private foundation in Maine. Together they donated millions of dollars to Maine's health care, educational institutions, scholarships, and social services agencies. Since 2007, the Foundation has awarded over $425 million in grants, primarily in Maine.
The Foundation "supports charitable causes in the areas of Education, Health Care, and Youth and Community Development, favoring large-scale, investment themes that can have a transformative impact on the State of Maine."
What do you think of the philanthropic endeavors of the Alfond Family? What organizations in Maine would you like to see the Alfond Foundation support?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.
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