Maine Day of Giving celebrates philanthropy as service on April 27

Maine Day of Giving on April 27, the time when University of Maine alumni and friends near and far unite in support of the College of Our Hearts Always as a way to participate in the traditional annual Maine Day of service, is setting fundraising records.

More than $2.5 million in donations lead off this year’s Maine Day of Giving, which includes multiple matching gift opportunities and new crowdfunding initiatives. 

Maine Day of Giving, established in 2016, also highlights UMaine’s Employee Giving Campaign, which is spotlighted annually in April. 

In addition, the annual Senior Class Giving campaign concludes for the Class of 2022 on Maine Day of Giving. Seniors who make gifts of $20.22 or more receive philanthropy cords and pins to wear at graduation, and become members of UMaine’s Loyal M giving society. This year’s effort, led by UMaine Class of 2022 Valedictorian Dominique DiSpirito has already exceeded 2019 Senior Class Giving. 

UMaine’s crowdfunding website, Fill the Steins, will include a dozen featured funds and projects for donors to select from beyond the hundreds of other regular giving options available. Among those featured this year is the newly established Higher Education Relief Fund. Inspired by the recent crisis in Ukraine, the Higher Education Relief Fund will be used to provide financial support for students and faculty who are impacted by environmental, political, or global crises as they are pursuing or hope to pursue scholarship at the University of Maine. 

Two of the featured projects include matching gift opportunities. The faculty and staff of the College of Education and Human Development will match gifts 1:1 up to $5,000. Gifts to support the Witter Farm Teaching and Research Fund will be matched 1:1 up to $2,000 by two anonymous donors in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. 

Three supporters of UMaine’s Cooperative Extension have agreed to make a gift of $1,100 if the Master Gardner fund receives 100 gifts. 

Sports Band alumni Scott Lerman ’02 and Roger Grout ’76 are offering $1,000 if 50 individuals make gifts to support the crowd funding campaign to raise $3,000 to replace two much-needed tenor saxophones. 

UMaine Athletics will launch its first text-to-donate campaign for each sport. All donations to teams are also matched 1:1 with gifts to the Alfond Fund by the Harold Alfond Foundation. Coach Amy Vachon challenges team alumnae and fans to make gifts of any amount to support the women’s basketball team, and she will personally match donations up to $10,000.

University of Maine Foundation President Jeffery Mills also announced the receipt of several lead gifts to support Maine Day of Giving. 

A $1.2 million gift from alumnus Norman Stetson ’62 of Lexington, Massachusetts will benefit the University of Maine through the Carleton M. Brown Scholarship, the Norman B. Stetson ’62 Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Norman B. Stetson ’62 Uplift Maine Fund, the Norman B. Stetson Scholarship Fund, and the newly established fund to support the Stetson Electric Drives Lab.

A $1 million bequest expectancy from alumni Neil ’77 and De ’77 DeStefano of New Jersey will provide $500,000 to support the Athletics Master Facilities Plan which is part of the UMS TRANSFORMS initiative, funded through the Harold Alfond Foundation, and $500,000 to support soil sciences and agriculture in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. 

A $300,000 gift from Dr. Carole Goldberg ’66 of Connecticut will endow a scholarship to support students with financial need from the College of Education and Human Development.

A $45,000 pledge from Versant Power will support Electrical and Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering Technology programs and enable UMaine to hire a new Robert N. Haskell Professor of Power Engineering.

A $40,000 gift from Clifford Rosen ’71 will support the Dr. Clifford J. Rosen ’71 Scholarship, which will be used to provide financial assistance to University of Maine students who have demonstrated financial need with a preference for students who are enrolled in the Honors College and who plan to attend medical school.

“We are grateful to all our community members, alumni and friends who share the UMaine vision and generously donate to advance student success and the university’s mission in Maine and beyond,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “The Maine Day of Giving has grown since its inception into a special opportunity to connect to the state’s R1 research university. Donors tell us they give as a way to pay it forward for the difference UMaine made in their lives.”

“Maine Day of Giving celebrates philanthropy as an extension of service for UMaine,” says Mills. “The Maine Day tradition is still very much alive with our alumni and friends and they welcome the opportunity to participate in this fun event. Every gift that comes in supports the common goal of excellence at the University of Maine.”

Many Maine Day of Giving gifts align with the philanthropic matching challenge for the UMS TRANSFORMS program, begun in 2020 by the University of Maine System in response to the Harold Alfond Foundation’s historic $240 million grant. The program has four focus areas: upgrade facilities for UMaine Athletics, improve student success and retention, for the statewide Maine College of Engineering, Computing and Information Science (MCECIS) and expand the Maine Graduate and Professional Center. 

The annual Maine Day tradition was established in 1935 by UMaine President Arthur Hauck. He stated that the day would help the campus, through work projects, become a more attractive place, foster the spirit of friendliness and cooperation, identified as the Maine spirit and strengthen loyalty among people and to the university.

The University of Maine Foundation was established in 1934 and exists to encourage gifts and bequests to promote academic achievement, foster research and elevate intellectual pursuits at the University of Maine in Orono. 

Contact: Monique Hashey,