Stories

Building a Brighter Future

November 14, 2020Impact Stories, Transformative Philanthropy

The repugnant legacy of slavery, America’s original sin, looms large in our culture and communities. The pervasiveness of systemic anti-Black racism has mobilized many to pursue justice and healing – to think in new ways about how we create a community that is truly welcoming and inclusive.

Blue Grass Community Foundation (BGCF) is committed to being part of the change needed to create a future with equal opportunity for all. This is what motivated BGCF’s board of directors, in partnership with a community of donors committed to advancing racial equity, to launch the Equity Fund, now known as the Lexington Black Prosperity Initiative.

An advisory committee of Black Lexington leaders will determine the initiative’s priorities and guide its grant making. The committee is co-chaired by Lisa Higgins-Hord, LFUCG councilmember, assistant vice president for Community Engagement at the University of Kentucky and a former BGCF board member, and Dr. Tiffany Daniels, D.C., owner of Chiropractic Care of Lexington and a current BGCF board member.

“Lexington has received many national accolades over the years: Best City to Live In, One of the Smartest Cities, Best Place to Retire,” said Higgins-Hord. “However, when taking a deeper dive into data about our diverse populations, not all Lexingtonians are enjoying the benefits of these great titles in ways we would expect. While our communities of color within Fayette County
present rich cultural histories and some success stories, there are many inequities that we, as a community, need to address.”

The initiative’s charitable fund has two component parts. The first allows donors to support immediate needs; while the second component, a permanent endowment, will provide resources in perpetuity to advance the mission of Black racial equity.

The immediate needs component of the fund was launched with a combined gift of $100,000 from three donors: the Thomson R. Bryant Jr. and Betty R. Bryant Fund at BGCF, Knight Foundation Donor Advised Charitable Fund at BGCF and the Community Foundation. A recent gift of $100,000 from the Jenna and Matthew Mitchell Family Foundation at BGCF doubled the immediate needs funding to $200,000.

To jump-start the funding of the permanent endowment, an anonymous donor and Matthew and Jenna Mitchell have issued a $100,000 endowment challenge to the community. Gifts of any size to the initiative’s endowment will be generously matched dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.

“Across our nation and globe, we are bearing witness to human beings speaking out against racial injustice and boldly challenging our systems to be reformed,” said Daniels. “We recognize that immediate, impactful results are needed, so we invite the entire community to join us in this endeavor by supporting the Lexington Black Prosperity Initiative. The next time we receive accolades for living in a prosperous and thriving city, we want the data to reflect that’s the case for all of us.”

To learn more and donate, visit bgcf.org/racialequity.