Sharing A Gift

By Staff

Athletic Management, 17.3, April/May 2005,

Talk about good neighbors. When Freeport (Maine) High School received a gift of $300,000 two years ago to build a track and field facility, the school gave the money to nearby Bowdoin College instead.

In return, Bowdoin is allowing the newly formed Freeport track and field team use of its Whittier Field and Farley Field House. The deal was reached in December, and allows the high school to practice and hold home meets for the cost of $1 per year for the next 20 years. Freeport students will use the track before Bowdoinís practices start at 4:30 p.m., and Freeportís home meets will be scheduled around Bowdoinís.

The gift to Freeport High School came from Nike, Inc., to honor Olympic marathon gold medal winner and Freeport resident Joan Benoit Samuelson. However, after researching the project, Freeport Athletic Director Craig Sickels found that the donation would cover less than a third of the cost of building a track from scratch.

The project was put on the back burner until Bowdoin Athletic Director Jim Ward and Samuelson, a Bowdoin trustee, had the idea to send the money the collegeís way. "Our track was in need of some renovation and some changes," Ward says. "So it seemed like an opportunity to improve our facility, take care of Freeportís needs, and honor Joan."

"We were basically giving up our $300,000 gift," Sickels says, "but I think itís a win-win situation. Bowdoin gets to have its facilities upgraded, something that wasnít in its budget, and we get to use the facilities. It is a collaborative effort that makes things happen for the betterment of both groups."