Kentucky Foundation for Women

OVERVIEW: This funder supports artist enrichment and art and activism for women in Kentucky. Grant applications are accepted twice per year.

FUNDING AREAS: Women artist enrichment, art for social change, arts and activism

IP TAKE: Grants aren’t huge here, but they are very relevant for feminist arts groups in Louisville and throughout Kentucky. This is also one of the rare funders that support individual artists.

PROFILE: The Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW) supports social change through feminist expression in the arts. The foundation was established in 1985 and is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

This funder values art as a form of activism, storytelling, dance, and literature. There are two grant programs at the foundation, one for artist enrichment and another for arts and activism. The artist enrichment program funds women artists and arts organizations to create positive social change. Past organization grantees in this category include Beaded Treasures, the Flashback Theatre Company, and Looking for Lilith Theatre Company. However, most of the enrichment grantees are individuals.

The activism program is all about supporting female activists and groups to make art for social change in Kentucky. Past organization grantees include the Americana World Community Center, the Anchal Project, Boys and Girls Haven, and the Buttafly Center—all in Louisville. A list of recent grantees can be viewed here.

Each year, the foundation awards $100,000 in each of these two programs. Enrichment grant applications are due the first week in September, and activism applications are due the first week of March. Most grants range between $1,000 and $7,000 each.

To be eligible, grant applicants must be residents of Kentucky; both individuals and organizations may apply. KFW wants to make the arts accessible to all people, so this is a key component of new proposals. Check out the funder’s Completing the Application page for tips and instructions.

In addition to its normal grantmaking areas, KFW also awards special grants. One year, it gave an anniversary grant to celebrate the history of feminist art for social change. In another year, it addressed timely and urgent feminist topics.

Other foundation programs include retreats and residencies for women at the Hopscotch House, and participatory workshops in different locations around Kentucky for networking and discussion about foundation grant opportunities, the grantmaking process, and more broadly about feminist art for social change. These events have taken place in Louisville, Hopkinsville, and Grayson.

The foundation is run by a staff of four women; their email addresses are linked on the foundation website. There are also about nine KFW board members. General questions can be directed to 502-562-0045 or team@kfw.org. The foundation’s mailing address is Heyburn Building, 332 West Broadway, Suite 1215, Louisville, KY 40202.

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