100 W. Broadway
Frankfort KY 40601-1931
Contact Information
Address 100 W. Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601 1931
Phone (502) 564-1792 4445
Fax 502 564-4701
Contact Name Mary Cawein
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 1991
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer

Gifts to the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) Foundation fund exhibits, collections, acquisition and preservation, educational programs and outreach. Support from our donors makes a direct impact on the KHS mission to educate and engage the public through Kentucky’s history in order to confront the challenges of the future.

Gifts may be made in any of four ways:

·         By mail: 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601

·         Online:

·         Via text: text KY1792 to 243725 

·         In person: 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601

All gifts to Kentucky Historical Society Foundation are tax deductible within the extent of the law. For information on gifting appreciated securities or making a planned gift, please call (502) 564-1792 or visit in person.

KHS is committed to encouraging the involvement of volunteers at all levels in the organization and within all appropriate programs and activities; KHS receives no public funds to purchase paintings, documents, furniture, silver, porcelain and textiles of extraordinary craft or historical significance - signature pieces of Kentuckiana. Acquisition and conservation care, essential to preserving precious pieces of our past, is provided by private donations of artifacts or funding.

All exhibitions and educational programming - whether on the road, online or on-site at the KHS campus, rely upon the generosity of committed people who want to ensure that our children and all visitors know what it means to say, "I, too, am a Kentuckian."

Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement


The purpose of the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation (KHSF) is to support the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) in its mission to educate and engage the public through Kentucky history in order to confront the challenges of the future.

We use history as a powerful tool to help people find their identity, to develop critical thinking skills, to engage in their civic responsibilities and to be inspired to leave a legacy for their families and their communities. We collect, preserve, interpret and share Kentucky’s historical treasures.  KHS engages with our audiences in a way that ensures activities are active, learner-driven experiences that introduce historical information and demonstrate how the historical discovery process provides skills that offer insight into issues and opportunities facing our commonwealth and the world.

Our program platform includes:

General public programs – Exhibitions, Tours, Youth & Family programs, Life-long learning programs, scout programs, and special events.

School Programs – Field Trips, Educational Outreach, and School partnerships

Teacher Programs – Professional Development & Workshops, National History Day – KY, and Kentucky Junior Historical Society

Collections Access – collecting, maintaining, and sharing primary source materials, Kentucky Oral History Program

Community Engagement – Historical Markers, Local History Trust Fund

Scholarly Research and PublicationsThe Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil War Governors of KY, KHS Scholarly Research Fellowships

Research Library – Reference services, genealogy and family history programs. 

Background Statement

Background Statement

The Kentucky Historical Society Foundation (KHSF) is a 501 c(3) charitable organization formed in 1991 to further the educational and stewardship purposes of the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) by providing assistance and support to the Society as needed.

KHS was formed in 1836 by a group of prominent Kentuckians intent on preserving the history of the commonwealth. In 1836 it was chartered as the state society and began to collect books and printed materials. In 1954 KHS became an independent agency of Kentucky state government. KHS’s headquarters, the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, was completed in April 1999.

Organization Description

The principal and registered office of the Foundation is 100 West Broadway, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601. The Kentucky Historical Society Foundation consists of a staff of one full-time employee and one part-time employee, working in conjunction with two outside consultants. Business affairs of the Foundation are managed by its Board of Directors, consisting of 12 Directors; 5 Directors Emeritus; and 1 Ex Officio Board Member.

The Kentucky Historical Society consists of a staff of 48 individuals serving the following areas:

Advancement (4 staff members); Historical Resources (9 staff members); Learning Services (11 staff members); Operations (11 staff members); research Experience (12 staff members); and Office of the Director (consisting of a Director and Deputy Director).

Business affairs of the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) are managed by the KHS Director, the Director of Finance and Operations, and the KHS Governing Board (consisting of 27 members).

Organization Purpose

The purpose of the KHSF is to assist and support the Kentucky Historical Society, an independent corporate agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky under Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 171.311
Impact Statement

Kentucky’s schools with 31,433 K-12 students participating in History SmArts, National History Day, or on-site visits. In addition, 777 K-12 teachers attended KHS professional development to make history come alive in the classroom;

Kentucky’s communities with 2,862 attendees in one of 63 KY@225 listening tours statewide. Kentuckians across the state shared why they are proud of Kentucky and how to make the state even better. Over 53,250 visitors came to KHS for activities and programming focused on Kentucky History.

Kentucky and beyond with over 202,000 using the ExploreKYhistory app, doubling the number of users from 2016. Over 103,100 articles were downloaded from The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Visitors from all 120 Kentucky counties, 46 U.S. states, and 14 countries came to KHS to explore Kentucky’s impact on the world.

Accessibility to KHS artifacts. For the first time since 1936, KHS completed an inventory of its collections, including providing a description for all items, now available online.

Scholarly research. KHS leads a prestigious Mellon grant to digitally link three history collections, one from KHS and two other institutions. This project will link KHS’ own Civil War Governors of Kentucky – a collection of life events of as many as 250,000 Kentuckians who interacted with Kentucky governors’ offices in the Civil War, along with thousands of Frederick Douglass papers at IU-PU and Abraham Lincoln documents from his Presidential Library.

FY19 Goals:
  • Offer compelling and innovative programming, educational, and scholarly activities via our museums sites and research facilities.
  • Improve collaborative engagement of the KHS Foundation board and the KHS Governing Board toward mutually strategic goals. 
  • Increase overall attendance and admissions to the KHS History Campus via marketing campaign with Miles partnerships.
  • Diversity fund sources.  
Needs Statement
The KHS Foundation secures support for operating expenses through the Fund for KHS (formerly called annual fund). Other priorities include, but are not limited to:

Kentucky HistoryMobile’s latest three-year traveling exhibit: the 100 Years of the Sweet 16, an award-winning traveling exhibit where an 18-wheeler is transformed to bring history to communities statewide;

Kentucky Ancestors Town Hall program, which uses KHS staff experts and resources to solve history mysteries submitted online by members of the public, including an annual event where selected mysteries are revealed;

Kentucky National History Day program, a year-long rigorous, skills-based program focused on historical research, interpretation, and creative expression for students in 6th-12th grade. KHS intends to triple the number of students participating to 10,000 statewide;

Educational initiatives spanning from early childhood to scholarly research.

CEO/Executive Director Statement

The Kentucky Historical Society is many things: a library, a museum, an educational institution, a research center. We oversee three historic sites and protect a treasure trove of documents and artifacts for the public. But at the heart of it all, we are a network of people dedicated to preserving and exploring Kentucky’s rich and fascinating past and then using the power of history to improve life today.

Since 1836 the public has entrusted the Kentucky Historical Society to be the keeper of the commonwealth’s legacy. The Kentucky Historical Society has continued to re-imagine this commitment, deepening it to also help Kentuckians recognize history’s value and use it to address the enduring social, economic and sustainability challenges facing us today.

As a public/private partnership, we shifted our business model from one that was heavily reliant on government funding to one in which philanthropy will play an essential role in addressing the challenge confronting us— how to expand upon our successes, address new opportunities and plan for sustainability.

Service Categories
Secondary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / History Museums
Tertiary Organization Category Education / Libraries
Geographic Areas Served

The majority of KHS programs are centered in the Bluegrass Region of Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Scott, and Woodford counties with reach into Jefferson, Oldham, Owen, Shelby, and Spencer counties. Through selected programs KHS does reach into each county of Kentucky. Through our online platforms for conducting scholarly research, we do reach a limited international audience.

Impact Questions
GoalsHelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact.

The challenge of KHS is to address the continued loss of substantial State funds and the ongoing uncertainty of the economic environment.

Funds raised through the KHS Foundation help advance the mission of KHS mission of educating the public through Kentucky history in order to confront the challenges of the future. KHS seeks to share how history is a powerful tool to help people explore and discover their identities; develop critical thinking skills; and to shape the future by engaging in their civic responsibilities and by being inspired to lead and to leave a legacy – physical or philosophical – for their families and communities.

KHS serves educators, students, researchers – scholars and genealogists, local history organizations, families, and the public in Kentucky and beyond. It does so through relevant programs and services that equip educators, challenge and inspire students, are easily accessed by and beneficial to researchers, and that engage communities by helping them recognize and share their roles in the commonwealth’s development.
StrategiesHelpWhat are the organization's strategies for its stated long-term goals?

Offer compelling and innovative programming, educational, and scholarly activities via our museums sites and research facilities.

Program review with metrics

Implement constituent tracking and program metric reporting

Training for all staff in free-choice learning; public history interpretation.

increased and efficient use of KHS signature assets


Increase overall attendance and admissions to the KHS History Campus via marketing campaign with Miles partnerships

Improve strategic messaging

 Clear media objectives

Identify target audiences


Improve activity and engagement of the KHS Foundation around mission-based motivations

Prospect Strategy Committee – identify prospects whose interest in KY history match ours. Improved wealth screening

Further engaged KHSF board – both programmatically and fundraising, regional participation

Donor recognition – Events, etc. also regional

Diversity fund sources.

Increase private support through donations, sponsorships, and grants via the KHSF.

Increase federal fund support, both number of grants and amounts

Increase earned revenue



CapabilitiesHelpWhat are the organization’s capabilities for doing this? What resources, capacities, and connections support its progress towards long-term goals?

KHS Foundation supports the KHS mission through implementing a detailed and dynamic development plan to grow financial support. To accomplish this, KHS will use five tactics:

Reconnect with donors to the Fund for KHS (formerly annual fund) and special projects:

·         Continue Kentucky’s statewide listening events

·         Establish monthly development dashboard for key leadership and staff

·         Reinstitute regular prospect review sessions

·         Focus on growing the 1792 Circle, the leadership recognition level for $1,000 and up donors

·         Streamline the list of fundraising priorities, as evidenced by the five referenced in other parts of this report

·         Reestablish member and donor publications through the quarterly KHS Insider

Reconfigure KHS Foundation operations

·         To access experienced consultants who KHS Foundation could not commit resources to be employed as full time staff, create a hybrid model of experienced development consultants working alongside KHS/KHSF staff

·         Increase Board engagement and participation

·         Constantly revise and revisit long-term development plan

Prioritize earned income

·         Increase earned income annually (was increased by 28% in FY18)

·         Generate $100,000 in rental income

·         Generate $89,000 in retail sales

·         Leverage Holiday Train display to grow admissions revenue

Secure significant grant support

·         Seek support for Civil War Governors of Kentucky Documentary and Digital Documentary editions, early childhood history education, conversations about history relevance project

·         Prioritize diversity and inclusion 

Increase funding of priority projects

·         HistoryMobile exhibit, 100 Years of Kentucky High School Basketball

·         Kentucky Town Hall Meeting, now known as Kentucky Revealed

·         Kentucky National History Day

·         Educational initiatives such as Early Childhood Education, Civil War Governors of Kentucky

·         Growing the Fund for KHS (formerly the annual fund)

KHS also will revitalize every experience it offers to reflect passion and energy. To accomplish this, KHS will use two tactics:

Play to the strengths of its signature programs and services

·         Capitalize and promote wall to wall inventory of artifact collection

·         Visitor engagements in exhibitions

·         Introduce Little Historians programs for children 2-5 and families

·         Offer a public, curator-led behind the scenes tour

Reinvigorate facilities to match the revitalization

·         Maintain banners around building

·         Continue updates on new website

·         Submit Old State Capitol improvement project

·         Update recently installed large format projection screen in the History Center’s Commonwealth Hall

·         Continue redesign of Kentucky Ancestors Online website

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. J. David Smith
Company Affiliation Lexington
Term Jan 2018 to Dec 2019
Board Members
Ms. Constance AlexanderMurrayExofficio
Mr. Scott AlveyVersaillesVoting
Ms. Marion C. ForchtCorbinVoting
Mr. Rufus M. FridayLexingtonVoting
Mr. John R. HallLexingtonVoting
Ms. Elizabeth Lloyd JonesMidwayVoting
Dr. James C. Klotter Ph.DLexingtonVoting
Ms. Crit LuallenFrankfortVoting
Ms. Lois MateusHarrodsburgVoting
Ms. Margaret PattersonFrankfortVoting
Mr. Louis PrichardParisVoting
Mr. Robert RichCincinnatiVoting
Mr. Warren W. RosenthalLexingtonVoting
Mr. Michael J. RuehlingLexingtonVoting
Mr. James ShepherdGeorgetownVoting
Mr. J. David SmithLexingtonVoting
Dr. Gerald L. Smith Ph.DLexingtonVoting
Mr. Charles StewartFrankfortVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity. Add number
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 45%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 0%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Co-Chair
Term Jan to Dec
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Board Development / Board Orientation
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. Scott Alvey
Term Start May 2018
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 1
Volunteers 0
Contractors 2
Retention Rate 100%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 0
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs
Mr. Kent Whitworth2004 - 2018
Senior Staff
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Semi-Annually

The Fund for KHS raises unrestricted funds for KHS’s programs and initiatives, all of which are focused on helping people of all ages find their identity, develop critical thinking skills, engage in their civic responsibilities and be inspired to leave a legacy for their families and their communities. The society also collects, preserves, interprets and shares Kentucky’s historical treasures.

KHS engages with our audiences in a way that ensures active, learner-driven experiences that introduce historical information and demonstrate how the historical discovery process provides skills that offer insight into issues and opportunities facing our commonwealth and the world. 

Each year KHS serves nearly 70,000 schoolchildren, K-12 teachers, genealogists, lifelong learners, scholars and anyone else interested in learning Kentucky’s story. Many come to the Kentucky Historical Society history campus in Frankfort, to participate in an educational activity and to immerse themselves in the Kentucky experience at our museums located in the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Old State Capitol and the Kentucky Military History Museum at the State Arsenal. They also come to solve their family history questions or conduct scholarly research in the Martin F. Schmidt Research Library, to participate in one of our family activities, to or to experience one of our history-focused events.

We also take history into Kentucky’s communities through programs such as Historical Markers, presentations to civic groups, grants to local history organizations, in-school activities and more. And our online services keep Kentucky’s history at the public’s fingertips 24 hours a day.

The Fund for KHS supports all of these activities and more.
Budget 349000
Category Education, General/Other Extracurricular Arts & Culture
Population Served General/Unspecified, Families

The Kentucky Historical Society’s HistoryMobile is a learning laboratory housed inside a 45-ft. semi trailer. It features traveling exhibits that challenge visitors to explore Kentucky’s history in the context of their own lives. Hands-on activities, artifacts, and touch screen interactivities bring Kentucky history to life. The next HistoryMobile exhibit, “100 Years of High School Basketball” will showcase how basketball has transcended athletics to shape Kentucky’s communities. It will show how basketball is relevant beyond what happens in the gym or on the court, serving as a role model to citizens of all ages for how it embodies a spirited, yet respectful, competition between traditional rivals and invokes a strong sense of community identity. This dynamic, state-of-the-art exhibit will hit the road in 2019, the year following the 100th anniversary season of the Sweet Sixteen. Funds raised will create the exhibit and educational materials, provide support staff to accompany it across the state and interpret what high school basketball means to the respective communities where we go.

Budget 300,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Curatorial Work & Exhibitions
Population Served General/Unspecified, General/Unspecified, General/Unspecified
Description This engaging program goes to the very heart of our communities’ identities, character and spirit — one that highlights the people of Kentucky by helping them unearth and then share their own families’ impact on the commonwealth. It features a full day annual event that includes a genealogy expo made up of community groups and vendors focused on family history. The event is anchored by a series of “reveals” in which our team of professional genealogists share what they learned after inves­tigating several family history questions selected after a call for anyone looking to solve their Kentucky-rooted genealogy mystery. The reveals are conducted with the families on hand, before a live audience. The families chosen represent a geographical cross section of the commonwealth, a variety of story topics and a variety of obstacles commonly encountered by anyone researching their family history. The “reveals” have been taped for future public airing.
Budget $40,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified, General/Unspecified, General/Unspecified
Description The Kentucky Historical Society makes history education accessible and relevant by combining our vast historical collections with inquiry-based, participatory learning that creates active and informed citizens. Each active, learner-driven experience is designed to introduce historical information and demonstrate how the discovery process provides skills that offer insight into issues and opportunities facing our commonwealth and the world. Each year we interact with nearly 70,000 people, including over 31,000 students and nearly 800 K-12 teachers, either on the KHS history campus or in their respective schools and communities. Programs span the learning spectrum from the Little Historians program, aimed at children aged 2-5, to Camp ArtyFact that targets school aged children. Lifelong learners, scholars and interns round out those benefiting from the KHS educational lineup.
Budget $1,030,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Population Served General/Unspecified, General/Unspecified, General/Unspecified
Description KHS runs National History Day in Kentucky. National History Day (NHD) is one of the many great ways to engage students grades 6 – 12 with history, while also developing skills that will provide value well after they leave school. NHD prepares students for college, careers, and how to be good citizens. Based on the concept of student voice and choice, NHD cultivates student interest in a variety of topics, helps them develop better research skills, enables them to become experts in a topic that they are passionate about, and boosts their confidence in their own abilities. Students direct their learning as they choose a topic, conduct primary and secondary source research, form their opinion, then creatively present their findings in one of five formats to a panel of evaluators.
Budget $110,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Apr 2017
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2019
Projected Revenue $792,900.00
Projected Expenses $792,900.00
Endowment Value $5,257,236.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage 5%
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available). Revenue from foundations and corporations may be included in individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$519,710$490,364$737,459
Investment Income, Net of Losses$84,858$88,724$192,574
Membership Dues--$0$0
Special Events--$0$0
Revenue In-Kind--$116,278$104,244
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$509,816$704,823$569,685
Administration Expense$76,175$17,414$15,914
Fundraising Expense$114,869$241,991$156,249
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.870.561.27
Program Expense/Total Expenses73%73%77%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$5,528,813$5,109,287$5,728,125
Current Assets$519,335$737,349$1,211,131
Long-Term Liabilities$36,059$0$0
Current Liabilities$10,218$71,347$242,335
Total Net Assets$5,482,536$5,037,940$5,485,790
Form 990s
2017 Form 990
2016 Form 990
2015 Form 990
2014 Form 990
2013 Form 990
2012 Form 990
2011 Form 990
2010 Form 990
2009 Form 990
2008 Form 990
Audit Documents
2017 Audit
2016 Audit
2014 Audit
2013 Audit
2012 Audit
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Registration Yes
Address 100 W. Broadway
Frankfort, KY 406011931
Primary Phone 502 564-1792 4445
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Scott Alvey
Board Chair Mr. J. David Smith
Board Chair Company Affiliation Lexington