Community Funds Serve as Umbrella for Charitable Giving

April 12, 2023Community Funds, Green Spaces and Public Places

Blue Grass Community Foundation hosts a network of endowed community funds, each seeking to improve the quality of life in their geography. In partnership with local leaders, these funds work to increase charitable giving and build local charitable resources to impact their city’s greatest needs and opportunities.

These community funds, including ones in Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Harrison, Madison, Magoffin, Rowan and Woodford counties, have the ability to serve as an umbrella organization for specific projects and initiatives that may not have the funding or resources to kick-start their own nonprofit. Take, for example, a project recently supported by the Franklin County Community Fund.

When Frankfort decided to take on the issue of homelessness, the community came together and said, “We’ve got you covered.” Literally.

In November 2022, “Give Me Shelter” was installed in downtown Frankfort’s Catfish Alley. Comprising 32 brightly colored umbrellas and globe lights suspended in mid-air, the installation was the brainchild of Franklin County natives Teresa Barton and Lee Ann Snelling, who’d seen similar projects in other cities to revitalize alleyways. The Frankfort umbrella alley has since become a “selfie stop” and created a new gathering space between the famous Foundry and Cooperage buildings.

The project was done through a fiscal sponsorship at Blue Grass Community Foundation that helps fund the Frankfort CARES Coalition and addresses two needs in Frankfort: local homelessness and a lack of tourism.

“Give Me Shelter” has raised over $20,000 for the coalition and shows no sign of slowing down.

“BGCF allowed us to fast track the contributions for the Frankfort Cares Coalition with a 501(c)(3) already in place to ensure the ‘Give Me Shelter’ project was successful,” Snelling said. Barton added, “The extra layer of accountability gave assurance to contributors. This funding was the seed money to make a difference in our community for those in crisis. It’s a win-win!”

The Frankfort CARES Coalition is an umbrella organization, pun intended, that benefits local agencies that work to help the homeless and address shelter issues. The CARES Coalition includes representatives from several local organizations including the Franklin County Women and Family Shelter, Simon House, Sunshine Center, Senior Activity Center, Homeless Housing Coalition of KY, Franklin County Health Department and Franklin County Schools Family Youth Resource Center.

The Franklin County Community Fund at BGCF is a permanent charitable resource that supports local causes and organizations. A local advisory board puts donations of all sizes to good use by making grants to meet the vision and needs of the community. Because the Franklin County Community Fund exists, projects like “Give Me Shelter” help make Franklin County a better place to learn, work, play and live.