BGCF Celebrates $150 Million in Total Grantmaking

February 13, 2023Impact Stories, Transformative Philanthropy

Blue Grass Community Foundation is celebrating a tremendous milestone: awarding over $150 million in grants and scholarships since our founding in 1967!

BGCF was established when C.W. and Irene Sulier invited several Central Kentucky philanthropists to join them in establishing a public foundation to encourage charitable giving and to support local causes and charities. That first year, the assets of Blue Grass Foundation (as it was then called) reached $5,000. The following year, grants totaling $500 were awarded to five nonprofit organizations.

Fast forward to 2023. The Community Foundation has grown from one charitable fund to over 800, each with its own unique charitable purpose. Charitable assets total more than $220 million. Most importantly, the Community Foundation, in partnership with our generous fundholders and donors, has awarded more than $150 million in grants.

It was just three years ago we celebrated surpassing $100 million in grants. It took us 53 years to reach that milestone but just three years to grant another $50 million. And what a whirlwind those three years have been! From COVID-19 to racial injustice, to devastating natural disasters, our community has experienced what seems to be a record amount of heartbreak.

Yet, we’ve also experienced a record amount of generosity and support since those early 2020 days. In FY20, we saw a record number of grants awarded in one fiscal year — $17.2 million — a 70% increase over the previous year. And in FY22, the amount of total contributions to charitable funds at the Community Foundation rose to $43,045,798, the largest amount in our 55-year history and double the amount of contributions over FY21!

“This is about so much more than numbers. Surpassing the $150 million milestone represents progress toward our mission of increasing community generosity. It’s about impact, transformation, changed lives and the generosity of donors of all sizes who make it possible. We hope this philanthropic milestone will inspire pride and energize our community’s giving spirit.”

Lisa Adkins, president/CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation

Skyrocketing Generosity

Total grants awarded milestones since our founding in 1967:

Blue Grass Community Foundation’s Impact Over the Past 56 Years

  • The Community Foundation is one of the first calls for many when disaster strikes: When historic flooding devastated Appalachia Kentucky, Blue Grass Community Foundation was there to facilitate donations and grants to support those affected. We partnered with local businesses, news outlets and nonprofits to make the biggest impact. Thanks to donations from BGCF fundholders, corporations, individuals and foundations across Kentucky, more than $1.3 million was distributed to assist communities repairing businesses, homes and infrastructure from devastating flood damage. And when fundholder and country music superstar Chris Stapleton wanted to hold benefit concerts to raise money for flood relief and other needs in Appalachia Kentucky, he came to us — twice — and over $5.2 million was raised to support his home state.
  • The Community Foundation is the region’s philanthropic collaborator: At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, BGCF and United Way of the Bluegrass partnered to create the Coronavirus Response Fund, which raised and deployed more than $1.1 million to those hit hardest by the pandemic.
  • The Community Foundation inspires conversations about community and equity: For three years, BGCF hosted On the Table, a national initiative funded by Knight Foundation, during which tens of thousands of residents in and around Lexington participated in conversations about how our community can improve and be more inclusive. And, we continue to support On the Table as the leadership has transitioned to CivicLex.
  • The Community Foundation connects everyday philanthropists with the community through the GoodGiving Challenge: The GoodGiving Challenge was launched in 2011 and has since raised $19.3 million for hundreds of regional nonprofits. The easy-to-use online giving platform connects thousands of donors to local charities and causes annually, amplifies donations with over $600,000 in matching dollars and proves that giving is easy and fun!


At Blue Grass Community Foundation, we believe one person can make a difference, but know we make the biggest impact when we invest together for our community. If you’d like to have a greater impact on your community and the causes you love, join us! We want to partner with you. Contact us today to establish a charitable fund to reach your philanthropic goals. Or maximize the impact of your charitable giving by investing in our endowed community funds in Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Harrison, Madison, Magoffin, Rowan or Woodford counties.