The University of Southern Maine has received $100,000 from Hannaford Supermarkets to boost USM scholarships supporting diversity and equity in educational opportunities.
USM will use the donation from Hannaford for its Access to Education Fund, which focuses on creating a diverse student body by helping members of traditionally underrepresented groups, first generation college students, students of diverse backgrounds or students coming to Maine from an international location, such as asylum seekers. The donation will fully fund the scholarship for two years and is anticipated to help a total of 24 students access higher education opportunities.
“Hannaford’s gift goes to the heart of our mission at the University of Southern Maine and will help grow the USM Access to Education Fund, which targets support for highly qualified students who are not eligible for federal and state aid,” USM President Glenn Cummings said. “Through the generosity of committed partners like Hannaford, USM is able to provide essential support to students so they can go on to impact their professions, their communities, and the workforce of Maine.”
The gift is part of $500,000 in donations to support racial equity and justice initiatives, economic empowerment efforts, and educational opportunity scholarships focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion across its five-state region. These gifts are in addition to other existing Hannaford donations to organizations working in support of those goals.
Other donations include:
- $200,000 to the NAACP state and regional conferences for New England ($150,000) and the State of New York ($50,000) to support their work in creating economic opportunity, combating educational inequality, fighting for racial justice, and strengthening the communities Hannaford serves in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
- $100,000 at the University at Albany to help support diversity and equity in educational opportunity.
- $65,000 to help minority-owned businesses across Hannaford’s operating region succeed, with donations to the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council ($50,000) and similar efforts in New York ($15,000).
- $35,000 to support previously announced community empowerment efforts through the Racial Equality fund sponsored by Greater Portland United Way ($25,000) and the Racial Justice Fund initiated by the Maine Justice Foundation ($10,000).
“At Hannaford, we understand that we have a responsibility for helping build strong and healthy communities, where our customers, our associates and our families can thrive. No community can be healthy so long as racial injustice and inequity persist,” said Mike Vail, Hannaford President. “Today, we are investing in efforts to help empower individuals who too often face unfair disadvantages. In the days and years ahead, we are committed to working across our region, within our business and through collaboration with others to create meaningful and sustained change, so that our entire community can succeed together.”