OVERVIEW: This funder supports early childhood education, cancer and tuberculosis patients, community causes, literacy, and youth enhancement causes in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Grant opportunities vary by county.
FUNDING AREAS: Early childhood education, cancer and tuberculosis patients, community causes, literacy, youth enhancement
IP TAKE: Early childhood education has been a big cause for this community funder throughout its various counties, so tap into this priority area. They have plenty of resources and tolerance for risk, so it's a great place to turn to if you’re launching a new nonprofit.
PROFILE: The Blue Grass Community Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Led by a volunteer board of community leaders and an expert staff, it helps people and organizations establish charitable funds to give back to the local community. It was established by Irene and C.W. Sulier of Lexington, who created a permanent endowment for the foundation in 1967.
This is a funder that’s solely dedicated to local causes and that understands the needs of the communities it serves. In a recent year, the foundation gave over $400,000 in competitive grantmaking dollars to nonprofits in Central and Eastern Kentucky. The foundation reported over $75 million in total assets in a recent financial quarter.
The grant opportunities and priorities vary from one region of Kentucky to the next; at the time of this writing, they are as follows:
- Central Kentucky: literacy and early education ($2,500 to $10,000 grants)
- Bath & Montgomery Counties: cancer and tuberculosis grants (up to $7,700 grants)
- Boyle County: projects that serve Boyle county (up to $10,000 grants)
- Clark County: matching grants for organizations in Clark County (up to $195,000 total)
- Fayette County Public Schools: mini-grants to age 3-K and literacy teachers (up to $1,000 per grant for $10,000 total)
- Rowan County: grants that serve Rowan County ($500 to $5,000 grants)
- Woodford County: youth enhancement programs for teens 14-18 (up to $2,000 grants)
Since 2015, new grantseekers have been required to register on the funder’s website before applying for a grant. Each of these grantmaking programs is lead by local volunteers that are elected by the foundation’s board of directors to review funding requests and recommend grantees. You can find the specific guidelines and applications for each grantmaking program on the funder’s grant opportunities page.
In addition to awarding grants, this community funder helps nonprofits grow and establish endowment funds and non-endowed charitable funds. It also helps new local nonprofits get off the ground with fiscal sponsorships that have a safety net while you’re working towards your own tax-exempt status. GoodGiving.net is the online database it uses to connect nonprofits and donors.
- Lisa Adkins, President and CEO
- Jane Higgins, Program Officer: Rural and Appalachia Initiatives
- Andrea James, Program Officer: Neighborhood Initiatives
- Kristen Tidwell, Grants & Scholarships Coordinator