Maine's retiring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe says her re-election campaign committee has transferred $1.2 million of its funds to an effort to encourage young women to participate in public service.

Maine’s retiring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe says her re-election campaign committee has transferred $1.2 million of its funds to an effort to encourage young women to participate in public service.

She said Friday the money will go to the Maine Community Foundation to support the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute. She’ll establish that institute after completing her third Senate term.

The remaining $800,000 is being used to pay outstanding campaign obligations and to establish a multi-candidate committee whose goals are to diminish what Snowe sees as polarization in today’s political environment.

The Republican cited partisan polarization in her decision earlier this year not to seek re-election.

Snowe says she looks forward to contributing to the development of young women in Maine through her new institute.

Snowe’s predecessor, George Mitchell, established a scholarship fund with his unspent campaign cash.