Former PI business owners create NMCC endowment

Community Contributor, Special to The County
7 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A Presque Isle couple has made a significant, seven-figure gift to Northern Maine Community College in the form of a charitable remainder trust.  

Peter and Bette Briggs owned and operated the Aroostook Beverage Company in Presque Isle for over 50 years and now live in Kennebunk.  The majority of their donation will be earmarked for the NMCC Foundation’s Investing in Innovation endowment and the rest for a scholarship in their names.

“After much consideration, Bette and I determined we want to impact higher education and the economic development of the community that has rewarded us over the past 54 years,” Peter Briggs explained.  “NMCC is such a major plus for Aroostook County; we certainly appreciate the quality of graduates NMCC provides employers throughout the region.”

The Investing in Innovation Fund allows instructors to compete for grants to purchase equipment that would not otherwise be funded through college department budgets.  A committee of the foundation and representatives of the college and staff evaluate the proposals and make the awards.

“It is always very rewarding when people step up from the community to support our work which enhances the NM experience for students,” said Gregg Collins, NMCC Foundation chair.  “It also lets the rest of the community know that NMCC is a good place to invest your money.”

“We are very happy to stand up and be counted as huge supporters of this college,” said Bette Briggs.  “We believe NMCC and its graduates are critical to the economic vitality of Aroostook County.”

According to college President Timothy Crowley, the couple appreciates the meaning of community and their contribution will grow NM’s ability to reach more students and change lives.

“Peter and Bette’s generosity demonstrate their confidence in the mission of NMCC and the future need of our programs and services,” Crowley said. “We are most grateful.”

The couple’s longtime attorney, Richard Engels, helped prepare the charitable remainder trust.  “If you want Aroostook County to grow, supporting the work being done by NMCC is a sure way to make a positive difference,” said Engels. “The future of the college will certainly be improved by this generous donation.”

A charitable remainder trust is a deferred giving device that offers rewards to the donor and the charity and is a popular estate-planning option.