The University of Southern Maine Foundation has received a generous gift of $25,000 from Lewiston-based Androscoggin Bank to help young Mainers with high potential but limited means to pursue their college aspirations.
The gift to the university will help provide USM’s Promise Scholars with the financial resources and academic supports to graduate in four years with little or no debt and prepared to make significant contributions to Maine’s workforce and economic well-being.
Available only to USM students, the Promise Scholarship Program supports select students who are predominantly the first in their families to pursue a four-year college degree and who cannot afford college without scholarships. Some 65 percent of Promise Scholars are eligible for Federal Pell grants, which are usually awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need. In addition to vital scholarships, USM’s Promise Scholars program provides students with the academic, personal, and peer support they need to be successful.
“We have long supported programs that empower young people in our communities to dream big and overcome financial and other barriers in their lives,” said Neil Kiely, president and CEO of Androscoggin Bank. “USM’s Promise Scholarship Program has enduring, transformative impacts, not only for the students themselves but also for their families and ultimately for Maine.”
In receiving the gift, USM President Glenn Cummings thanked Androscoggin Bank for its “impactful generosity and partnership” in support of USM students.
“The Promise Scholarship program is at the heart of our goal to ensure access, affordability and success for all students. And it has proven to be a lifeline to many of our students during these difficult times,” Cummings said. “This is a supportive model that works and Androscoggin Bank’s gift will ensure we can continue to offer it to future generations of Promise Scholars.”
The Bank’s contribution will be matched as part of a $1,000,000 matching gift challenge that is ongoing through the end of December. The success of the campaign will enable USM to endow the Promise Scholarship in perpetuity. The University’s goal is to support up to 100 scholars every year, approximately 25 in each class, with personalized scholarship awards that bridge the financial aid gap, enabling students to graduate in four years, with little or no debt.
This fall, USM welcomed its third cohort of Promise Scholars, hailing from high schools across Maine. Students are referred to USM by youth development organizations, who remain connected to the program and comprise part of the highly supportive Promise community.
Daniel Barton, USM’s Promise Scholarship Coordinator, added, “It is so encouraging to see community partners like Androscoggin Bank step up to support the Promise program. Their gift will have a direct impact on the lives of young Mainers. Our Promise Scholars are incredibly grateful for the financial support they receive and they’re eager to give back to the community that is supporting their success.”
Photo caption: USM Promise Scholars Ellie Vance ’24, Loren Cassanguir ’23, and Washima Fairoz ’22 (L-R above) came together on Zoom to show their appreciation for the recent $25,000 gift from Androscoggin Bank to the Promise Scholarship Program. Shown at bottom (L-R): Daniel Barton, Promise Scholarship Program Coordinator; Ainsley Wallace, President & CEO of the USM Foundation; and Neil Kiely, President of Androscoggin Bank and member of the USM Board of Visitors.