UMaine Athletics has received $1.5 million award from the Harold Alfond Foundation to continue a focused centralized fundraising structure for athletics and continuing the support of the football program.

The award will establish the Harold Alfond Foundation that will be awarded over the next three years to the university by way of funding of $750,000 annually.  The funds have been designated by UMaine to help increase the visibility of the athletic program and encourage more donor support, according to a release by the school on Monday morning.

"Through the years, Harold Alfond and the Harold Alfond Foundation have helped the University of Maine achieve excellence in Division I athletics for Maine, and for our fan base on campus, statewide and beyond," said University of Maine President Susan J. Hunter in the release. "This newest award further underscores the leadership role of UMaine Athletics, and will be a game-changer for fundraising and friendraising going forward."

The Alfond family has donated over $15 million in gifts and pledges to UMaine over the years, including a $250,000 annual one-to-one matching challenge grants since 2007.

The Black Bears athletic program has 600 student-athletes currently playing for 17 total UMaine programs.