Staff members in the Women and Infants Health Care Unit at Waldo County General Hospital were given a box of birthday treats recently. The treats were from the Harold Alfond College Challenge Program to honor the birthday of the late philanthropist Harold Alfond and to thank the WCGH staff for their role in educating parents about the college challenge program.

The Harold Alfond College Challenge is a program that will provide $500 to every Maine baby to open a NextGen College Investing Plan account, provided the account is opened by the baby’s first birthday. There is no income limit or additional money needed to open the account.

According to Elizabeth Vanderweide, manager of the Harold Alfond College Challenge Program, more than 3,000 parents have opened such college savings accounts and have received the $500 grant. “We owe much of the program’s success to the voluntary support and assistance of our hospital partners who help by informing new parents about the program while the moms are still in the hospital,” she said.

“Thanking our partners on what would have been Mr. Alfond’s 96th birthday is one way to keep us connected to the incredible gift he gave for the future of Maine. It is also a reminder that the baby’s first birthday is the day when the application for the grant must be completed,” Vanderweide said.

To learn more about the Harold Alfond College Challenge, visit: 500forbaby.org or call 800-228-3734 to get further information.