The Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies has landed a $500,000 grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, the University of Maine System said Thursday.

The Maine Center Initiative was launched in 2015 with the goal of bringing University of Maine System graduate programs together under one roof.

The realization of that idea – the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies – will be located at a to-be-determined site in Portland. It would house the University of Maine School of Law, the graduate business programs that now operate at the University of Southern Maine and UMaine in Orono, and the graduate programs in public health and in public policy and management that now operate at the Muskie school at USM. It also would house the Cutler Institute for Health and Policy, which is the research arm of USM and part of the Muskie school on the Portland campus.

The $500,000 would go for “strategic development” of the plan, the UMS statement said.

The foundation’s support for the center now stands at more than $2 million, University System Chancellor James Page said in the statement.

Maine Center Initiative CEO Eliot Cutler thanked the Alfond Foundation.

“This is an exciting vote of confidence in the hard work that the deans and faculty have been doing for nearly a year to bring this important project into being,” he said. “We have a long way to go, but this grant gives the University System and my office additional assurance that the Alfond Foundation understands the ground-breaking significance of this initiative and the critical contribution it will make to the Maine economy.”

The $500,000 grant brings the Foundation’s total support for the Center to more than $2 million.