During his lifetime, Harold Alfond donated more then $100 million US Dollars to schools, hospitals and charitable causes in his home State of Maine . His generosity continues even after his recent death at the age of 93.
Concerned with the high cost of college tuition, Mr. Alfond has left instructions in his will, that starting 2009, every baby born in Maine will receive $500 USD towards his/her college fund. The money can be used for higher education until the age of 28. If it is not used by then, it has to be given back to the foundation. Since there are about 14,000 babies born in the state every year, his foundation expects to donate $7 million USD to this program annually.
Harold Alfond himself never went to college. He joined a factory in Maine as a shoe boy and quickly rose up the ranks to become superintendent of the plant. One day, while giving a hitchhiker a ride, he heard about a shoe plant that had been abandoned. He and his father bought the plant for $1,000 US Dollars and started a shoe company. In a few years, he sold the business for $1 million US Dollars.
Then in the 1950's, he founded the Dexter Shoe Company, to provide employment for the people of Maine. It became very successful, making Mr. Alfond very wealthy. While alive, he and his wife donated a lot of their wealth to help the people of Maine. By jump starting every child's education, he will continue to have a positive impact on Maine for many years to come.
Sources: Nytimes.com, Wikipedia.com