Community Foundation of Louisville Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports mostly Kentucky-based organizations in the areas of community, environment, education, health, human services, arts & culture, and religious/faith based groups.

FUNDING AREAS: Community, environment, education, health, human services, arts & culture, religious/faith based groups

IP TAKE: Field of Interest Fund grants only make up a tiny percentage of this community funder’s portfolio; however, they cover a wide range of topics. Affordable housing, HIV prevention, underprivileged children, and local arts have gotten a fair amount of support through these funds.

PROFILE: The Community Foundation of Louisville is the largest foundation in Kentucky, with more than $530 million in assets and at least 1,600 funds established by donors. This foundation was established in 1984 and has distributed over $500 million in grants since that time. The foundation seeks to “connect donors, nonprofits and civic partners to create lasting impact in community so people and place thrive.”

In a recent year, the funder made over $73 million in contributions through more than 9,5000 grants to local, national, and international nonprofits. About 80 percent of the foundation’s grants support organizations in Kentucky and Indiana. In addition to the donor-advised funds, this foundation also reserves field of interest funds in the areas of arts and culture, education, youth, health, and human services.

Most foundation grants support community and environment, followed closely by education and health and human services. In lesser amounts, grants have supported arts and culture causes and religious/faith-based groups.

One locally focused fund is called the Fund for Louisville, which supports capacity building. Funding seeks to strengthen nonprofit leaders to lead more effective programs that build community impact.  These types of grants are awarded for board/staff training, technology upgrades, merger/collaboration planning, and financial/data management system improvements. 501(c)(3) organizations headquartered in Jefferson County, Kentucky, or at least can prove that a majority of its beneficiaries are from the county, are eligible for grants.

One significant awards program is the Vogt Invention & Innovation Awards, which were established with a $5 million grant from Henry V. Heuser Sr. These grants support early-stage manufacturing companies with mentorship and training to launch commercialization. Another large donor program is the Mary Alice Hadley Prize for Visual Art. Hadley was an artist, and her $5,000 grant supports enrichment experiences for artists working in the visual arts, crafts, theater, and the Louisville Free Public Library.

The foundation also hosts Give Local Louisville, which is a 24-hour online giving day that has been held in mid-September. In a recent year, the foundation got 362 nonprofits involved to raise $3 million. Nonprofits may also be interested in becoming one of the foundation’s endowment partners, which is a program created to help nonprofits increase the size of their endowments through long-term investing and visibility.  

Although 2015 was a big grantmaking year for this community funder, 2012 was the biggest year for grantmaking in over a decade. Assets have been steadily growing each year though.

Not surprisingly, the bulk of the community foundation’s assets are in donor-advised funds (48 percent), followed the Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation (12 percent of assets) and designated funds (10 percent of assets). Field of interest funds only make up about two percent of the foundation’s assets. Regionally, this funder has a network of affiliate foundations in the Louisville area, including the following: Oldham County Community Foundation, Shelby County Community Foundation, Green River Area Community Foundation, Wilderness Trace Community Foundation, and the Nelson Community Foundation. 

Grant seekers can contact each program officer directly by email and phone. General questions can be directed to the staff at 502-585-4649.


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