ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The University of Maine announced Monday that it has received a $1.5 million grant to support its athletic programs.

It is a gift that UMaine president Susan Hunter called a "game-changer" for future fundraising efforts.

The three-year award is another gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation to help fund the Black Bears.

“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,” Hunter said in a statement.

The award is poised to launch greater fundraising for all sports, something that could impact more than 600 student-athletes by establishing the Alfond Fund. It is expected to create a more centralized structure for all fundraising.

"It's an extremely generous gift," UMaine athletic director Karlton Creech. "One that we are humbled by and grateful for and something that we'll use to make all of our sports programs better."

Half of the money will go to continue to fund the football program in the form of a grant that will match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $250,000 a year.

The other half is completely unrestricted and will go to other sports programs however the university sees fit.

The Alfond family has donated more than $15 million to UMaine athletics over the years. The program hopes this latest donation will allow the school to continue to bolster their Division I athletic programs across the board.

“A lot more work has to be done to help us use this gift as a catalyst to reorganize our fundraising,” Creech said.

The full program will not be launched until the spring.