Community Foundation of West Kentucky

OVERVIEW: This funder supports local groups in the Paducah area and elsewhere in Western Kentucky. Funding supports community arts, social services, children, education, health, and community improvement groups.

FUNDING AREAS: Community arts, social services, children, education, health, community improvement

IP TAKE: This funder is best known for providing $1,000 microgrants to local groups in Western Kentucky. Though small, they can support pretty much any nonprofit cause in the region.

PROFILE: The Community Foundation of West Kentucky (CFWK) dates back to 1996, when Paducah Mayor Gerry Montgomery helped form the Paducah Area Community Foundation. It seeks to support “a variety of charitable initiatives as diverse as the interests and needs of those who live in West Kentucky.” The first grants were made in 1997; the name was changed to its current form in 1999 to expand services more broadly throughout the region.

Since then, the foundation has exceeded $26 million in funds and disbursed millions of dollars in grants. There are currently over 225 charitable funds at CFWK. The audited financial statements and Form 990 reports can be viewed on the funder’s website.

This community foundation provides administrative support for affiliated funds that address local needs in specific geographic areas. The affiliate foundations include the Community Improvement Foundation of Madisonville and Hopkins County, the Community Foundation of Glasgow – Barren County, the Murray-Calloway Community Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Henderson.

Each year, this foundation grants over $1.5 million to nonprofits in the community—some competitive and others from permanent endowments. One big opportunity here has been the Philanthropy 360 Grant Program. This program offers $1,000 grants to West Kentucky nonprofits in community arts, social services, children, education, health, and community improvement. These are designed as microgrants that help with projects of $1,000 or less, as well as urgent and emergency needs.

Grant seekers can access this grant application online. In the past, the deadline to apply has been February 1. This is a one-page form that gets reviewed by the funder’s staff and board. The foundation typically announces award winners at the end of February at an event where winners must be present to receive the grant.


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