Keeneland Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports health, human services, education, arts and culture, and community needs in Central Kentucky. Unsolicited grant applications are accepted throughout the year and reviewed in the winter.

FUNDING AREAS: Health and human services, education, arts and culture, community

IP TAKE:  You don’t have to know a thing about horse racing to get in with this Lexington funder. It's a good local outfit to know for equipment needs and capital projects.

PROFILE: Keeneland is well known for thoroughbred racing and breeding in the heart of Kentucky; it maintains beautiful park grounds that are open to the public as a National Historic Landmark. This racetrack and auction company's grantmaking foundation has been around since 1936. Over the years, the Keeneland Foundation has given more than $18 million to Central Kentucky communities and to the thoroughbred industry.

Central Kentucky grantmaking is focused on health and human services, education, arts and culture, and community. The Lexington, Kentucky-based funder keeps its grants close to home. Most grants have been for capital expansion and equipment purchases. However, it also supports endowment programs and scholarship funds. No grants go for operating funds of hospitals or patient care institutions, for primary or secondary schools, or for any kind of annual operating support. However, it gives regularly to fundraising efforts in the thoroughbred industry.

Keeneland Foundation has an open grant application process with its application posted online for download. Grantseekers in the region should submit the one-page grant application with an IRS determination letter and a listing of the board of directors via mail or email—either is acceptable. There are no deadlines, but all applications are reviewed in the winter. Awards are given out in the first quarter of the year, and successful applicants are notified by letter.

In addition to grantmaking, Keeneland employees volunteer at organizations in the area, such as United Way of the Bluegrass and Habitat for Humanity and Commerce Lexington. The organization also provides a combination of financial and in-kind sponsorship support for civic events like the Keeneland Art Fair and the Evening at Ashland Jazz Concert. It lends out its grounds for charity events and fundraiser walks.

General questions can be directed to staff at 859-280-4726 or to the promotions and community relations manager Hayley Robic. Robic has been with the organization since July 2014; her email is hrobic@keeneland.com. Bill Thomason serves as Keeneland’s president and CEO.

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