BGCF365: Empowering Change in Lexington Through Philanthropy

May 9, 2024Transformative Philanthropy

BGCF365, a dynamic giving circle at Blue Grass Community Foundation for emerging philanthropists, hosted its annual grantmaking event, The Finals, on May 8 at The Melodeon in Downtown Lexington. The fast-paced event showcased three local nonprofits pitching innovative projects, vying for a total of $30,000 in grants.

BGCF365 members selected “Connecting Communities to Resources” as the grant theme for the 2023-24 grant cycle, to highlight programs that connect Fayette County adults and families to services that help them prosper and thrive.

After a meticulous review of more than 40 exceptional project proposals, the BGCF365 Advisory Committee handpicked three finalists to present their initiatives at The Finals: GreenHouse17, Jubilee Jobs and the Marafiki Center. Each nonprofit delivered a compelling 10-minute presentation, followed by live voting from BGCF365 members to award the $30,000 in grants. Those grant amounts and winners are:

First Place $15,000 Grant Winner: Marafiki Center

The Marafiki Center creates opportunities for cross-cultural connection, building a bridge of mutual understanding through education, events and advocating for improved representation of the Swahili-speaking community. Due to the growing Congolese refugee population in Lexington, Swahili is the third-highest spoken language in our community. The BGCF365 grant will help the Marafiki Center expand AfroLex Connect — a series of professional development training and networking events aimed to support African, refugee young adults ages 18-30 with resources to build a sustainable career and economic future.

Second Place $10,000 Grant Winner: Jubilee Jobs

Jubilee Jobs offers hope to all in Fayette County who desire to work but face barriers, through a seven-step program that educates people about becoming employed, helps place them in jobs and encourages them to grow beyond their initial placement. The BGCF365 grant will help launch Breaking Barriers, Building Futures, a new comprehensive effort to address the complex challenges hindering employment, through tailored support services, professional counseling and a data-driven approach.

Third Place $5,000 Grant Winner: GreenHouse17

GreenHouse17 is an advocacy agency committed to ending intimate partner abuse and its impact on families and our community. The BGCF365 grant will support its Nature-based Work Readiness After Surviving Intimate Partner Abuse program, through which intimate partner abuse survivors reimagine the possibility for economic stability for themselves and their children through nature-based work readiness training.

BGCF365, an initiative of the Blue Grass Community Foundation, empowers emerging philanthropists to collectively impact Fayette County. Open to givers of all ages, BGCF365 members pledge $1 a day ($365 annually) to BGCF365. Half of these contributions fund immediate grantmaking, while the other half is invested in a permanent endowment, ensuring ongoing support. Quarterly social and networking events foster community engagement. To date, BGCF365 has awarded $180,000 to Lexington nonprofits.

Lexingtonians seeking to amplify their charitable impact can join BGCF365 online. Monthly payment plans are available, and all contributions are tax-deductible. Join us in making Lexington a better place for all to live, work, and play!