Stories

Introducing the Fund for Greater Lexington

November 2, 2023Community Funds
“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau

What if we could invest in projects that elevate our city, shape its character, and create lasting impact? What if we could transform Lexington into a model community that embraces innovation, fosters creativity, and nurtures the well-being of its citizens for generations to come?

With the launch of a new public endowment by a group of local leaders, these questions become the foundation of Lexington’s shared reality and future. The Fund for Greater Lexington, an endowed community fund at Blue Grass Community Foundation, will serve as a catalyst for change by investing in transformative projects that have the power to shape the cultural, recreational, and economic landscape of Fayette County. By providing financial support and resources, the Fund for Greater Lexington will incubate visionary endeavors to make a lasting impact on our community and ensure Lexington becomes a better place for everyone.

Led by a volunteer advisory board of local leaders, the Fund for Greater Lexington utilized community-informed data sets and conducted research to identify five areas as funding priorities: Cultural Access, Green Spaces, Youth, Transportation and Affordable Housing. Using these pillars as guides, the Fund for Greater Lexington will provide the resources needed to turn transformative ideas into tangible realities.

The Fund for Greater Lexington’s commitment to a brighter future is exemplified by the initial projects selected for a total of approximately $650,000 of funding:

First, the Fund for Greater Lexington has funded the incubation of a new performing and visual arts center for Lexington. The goal is to develop a world-class facility to attract top performers and exhibitions, captivate audiences, increase arts access and further establish Lexington as a vibrant cultural hub, while providing an economic boost to local businesses. To ensure the project meets the needs of the community, the Fund for Greater Lexington has hired Sound Diplomacy, a world-renown strategy and consulting firm that specializes in stimulating economic, social and cultural growth, to conduct an extensive feasibility study and develop a project plan. The study is intended to engage a broad group of stakeholders to build a project plan that is both achievable and transformative for our city. The Fund for Greater Lexington and Sound Diplomacy are working closely with LexArts, Lexington’s premier cultural development, advocacy and fundraising organization as well as RIOS, an internationally recognized architectural agency with an extensive track record in designing experience spaces.

Additionally, the Fund for Greater Lexington has invested in the development of a state-of-the-art master plan for Kelley’s Landing, a public park on 30 acres of undeveloped land off Old Richmond Road. The site, purchased by Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government in May 2022, includes significant green space, wooded areas, Kentucky River frontage, and direct access to the Kentucky River. The next step in bringing this park to life is to conduct a master plan with significant community input and engagement. The Fund for Greater Lexington is stepping in to catalyze the development of this land into a transformative river-based outdoor space that will be a vibrant addition to Lexington’s quality of life and protect our community’s natural resources.

Co-chair of the Fund for Greater Lexington, Noa Gimelli, expressed her enthusiasm about the launch of this monumental initiative, saying, “The Fund for Greater Lexington is an unparalleled opportunity for us to invest together in our community. With the power of collaboration and the generous support of our donors, we have the potential to realize extraordinary projects that will shape the future of Fayette County for generations to come. We invite individuals, businesses, and organizations who share our passion for a better Lexington to join us in this remarkable endeavor.”

“Our initial goal is to build a $30 million endowment in the next five years to support the incubation of new projects that can make a positive, lasting impact in Lexington,” said Co-Chair Wes Murry, “But our aspirations must be greater.  Simply seeding an idea is an insufficient level of commitment.  Our endowment must also be able to serve as the “lead investor.”  To achieve this, we will need an endowment that approaches $100 million.  And this is absolutely achievable.”

The Fund for Greater Lexington’s board of advisors has raised $9.25 million to date, but there is more work to do. Make a gift to this endowment fund and directly contribute to the realization of visionary projects that will uplift Fayette County and leave a remarkable legacy.

To learn more about the Fund for Greater Lexington and how you can support this transformative resource, please visit www.bgcf.org/FGL.

 

FUND FOR GREATER LEXINGTON LEADERSHIP

CO-CHAIRS: Headley Butler & Noa Gimelli, Anne Murry, Wes Murry

HONORARY CHAIRS: Anthany & Eunice Beatty, Jenna & Matthew Mitchell, Stephen Webb

BOARD OF ADVISORS: Beth Bell, Price Bell, Brent Bruner, Olivia Davis, Harding Dowell, Adam Edelen, Jeff Fugate, Rebekah Gray, Christy Hiler, Chapman Hopkins, Katie Kaufman, David Kloiber, Marci Kloiber, Kristi Runyon Middleton, Christian Motley, Nick Nicholson, Mary Quinn Ramer, Seth Salomon