Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Rollins College's new Alfond Inn benefits scholarship program

 

The Alfond Inn, located in Winter Park.

WINTER PARK—The financial challenges facing higher education institutions throughout the country are being addressed in a new and innovative way by one liberal arts college. Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., recently opened The Alfond Inn with net operating income designated for a permanently endowed scholarship fund. What’s unique about it is that all the net proceeds help fund full-ride student scholarships at Rollins. It was built by a lead gift of $12.5 million from the Harold Alfond Foundation, established by Jewish philanthropist Harold Alfond.

The Inn, located a block from campus, not only meets a community need for lodging and conference space, but also provides full scholarships (tuition, room and board) for top students through The Alfond Scholars program—the college’s premier scholarship fund.

The family has done so much for higher education—not only for Rollins, but in the state of Maine. The family funds $500 of college scholarship to every student born in Maine.

Net operating income from the Inn will be directed to the scholarship fund for the next 25 years or until the endowment principal reaches $50 million, whichever comes later. The Alfond Inn’s annual net proceeds are expected to reach up to $3 million. To pay for the remaining $17.5 million in building expenses, Rollins used cash reserves in the form of an internal loan.

“One of the most exciting aspects of this gift is that it’s philanthropy supporting our long-term sustainable business model,” said Rollins President Lewis Duncan. “In the competitive world of higher education, we must employ creative problem solving and innovation. The Alfond Inn is our latest example of doing just that, and we thank the Harold Alfond Foundation for enabling us to provide annual financial assistance to deserving students and contributing significantly to our long-term endowment growth, while addressing strategic institutional and community need.”

A 2008 strategic planning session of the board of trustees at Rollins College sparked the idea for the Inn.

“Our plans initially stalled due to the challenges of finding a hotel developer to invest in the property,” said Jeffrey G. Eisenbarth, vice president for business and finance at Rollins College. “We met with the Harold Alfond Foundation, a longtime Rollins supporter, and together we developed this unique opportunity that helps the community and our college.”

The gift is the latest and largest in a long history of contributions to Rollins College by the Alfond family. The late Harold Alfond received an honorary doctorate from the college in 1997. He and his late wife, Dorothy “Bibby” Alfond, who themselves were generous contributors to Rollins, saw two of their sons graduate from Rollins. Two of their grandchildren also attended the college. Their son Ted Alfond (Class of ’68) is currently a college trustee, and Ted’s wife, Barbara Lawrence Alfond, is also a graduate of the Class of ’68 as well as a former Rollins trustee.

“My father had a strong fondness for Rollins, and this project would have been right up his alley,” said Ted Alfond. “He was a businessman who liked entrepreneurial, creative ideas—and this project is both. Rollins will capitalize on a commercial opportunity to fund student scholarships. As the Inn achieves business success, the scholarship program’s impact will continue to grow. My father would have loved it.”

In addition, Orlando-based Baker Barrios Architects, Inc. managed the planning, architecture, interior design and landscape architecture for the Alfond Inn, and Atlanta-based Hardin Construction served as the general contractor for the project.

 

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