Commonwealth Fund for Ket, Inc.
560 Cooper Dr
Lexington KY 40502-2200
Contact Information
Nonprofit Commonwealth Fund for Ket, Inc.
Address 560 Cooper Dr
Lexington, KY 40502 2200
Phone (800) 866-0366
Fax 859 258-7393
Contact Name Theresa Ward
Web and Social Media
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 2009
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer Many individuals choose to directly impact KET’s future productions by sponsoring specific programs or remembering KET as a beneficiary in their will. Gifts of stock are another popular method of making a donation, and you can double the impact of your gift if your company participates in KET’s corporate matching gift program. In addition to monetary donations, KET relies on the helping hands of thousands of volunteers who give the gift of their time.
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement To make Kentucky a better place and strengthen its communities by educating, inspiring, informing and connecting its citizens through communications technologies and the power of public media. 
Background Statement KET was established in 1968 by the Commonwealth with the vision to use television to improve educational services to children and adults. We are Kentucky’s public television network, but our vision takes us far beyond just television or computer screen. These are merely the tools we use to deliver resources to Kentucky. KET is really about ideas—about learning, the arts and culture, and citizenship. We work each day to use televisiononline video and related media to distinguish itself as the most-trusted, pre-eminent source of high-quality educational and public media—in classrooms, homes, and communities—to meet the diverse needs of everyone in Kentucky.  We produce and provide innovative and relevant programs and services, giving all citizens access to in-depth information and to cultural and educational opportunities, including our high-quality, educational children’s multi-media resources and instructional content which is designed to boost four key areas of childhood development –cognitive(including literacy, science, technology and math), socialemotional, and physical (healthy living).
Impact Statement
KET strives to impact learners of all ages using television multimedia to eliminate barriers thus improving lives individually and collectively so that the overall well-being of our community and state improves.
KET’s main goals are to:

1. Support student achievement. Provide standards-based instructional resources and services for teachers, students, adult learners, and the education community. KET will contribute to the professional growth of educators and the development of an educated workforce.

2. Serve the audience. Produce, acquire, and distribute high-quality, innovative educational, local, and national content on multiple platforms. KET will be responsive to the needs and expectations of our viewers, users, and supporters.
Needs Statement
KET accepts annual gifts, endowment and planned gifts to ensure quality local and national programming, to reach out to the community with  vital services, and to enrich every classroom in the Commonwealth.
Each day, KET brings a world of extraordinary television into your home. Programs that challenge your intellect and captivate your imagination. Programs that nurture the minds and spirits of children. Programs for and about you and your family. Your support will help us continue to give you and the rest of our community engaging programs that are always worth watching.
Geographic Areas Served
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
The entire Commonwealth of Kentucky and parts of the surrounding contingent states.
Impact Questions
GoalsHelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact. The Commonwealth Fund for KET aims to support and further the educational, charitable and public purposes and activities of KET. KET produces and provides innovative and relevant programs and services, giving all citizens access to in-depth information and to cultural and educational opportunities.
StrategiesHelpWhat are the organization's strategies for its stated long-term goals?
Initially, the primary avenue for giving - and still the most viable - was through TeleFund, the annual on-air pledge drive held in March. Even with the addition of the year-end WinterPledge in 2004, KET pledges some 25 days on air, far less than the average 63 days across the PBS system. In recent years, 50% of the callers during both drives have been new donors to KET, meaning these drives maintain one of KET's most effective acquisition tools. Approximately 20% of total revenue derives from on-air pledge drives.
The core of today's balanced development program includes the annual Membership campaign that incorporates renewal, lapsed, additional gift and acquisition direct mail (gifts of $1-$499). Additional components of this campaign are the Family Fun Club, offering children's activities for some 2000 families, and Group Memberships. Membership gifts represent the majority of our donors and some 30% of total earned income.
The Fund for Excellence giving society was created in 1981 to recognize annual major donors, though the base level has changed from $1000 to $1200; it is our oldest and most prestigious recognition program. Also part of the giving pipeline is the Cornerstone Society which recognizes mid-level donors of $500 to $999. The Legacy Circle includes bequests, trusts and other planned giving vehicles that enable others to remember KET in their estate planning.
Incorporating restricted major giving opportunities, the Fund has established four endowments to ensure KET’s mission and services in perpetuity: the Lucille Caudill Little Arts Endowment for early childhood arts education, the O. Leonard Press 21st Century Fund for civic engagement, the Endowment for Kentucky Productions for local programs, and the John R. Hall Endowment for Education to ensure KET’s cradle-to-career educational services. Today, major annual and restricted gifts represent some 30% of total contributed income; the system average is 6%.
In FY2000, long after the system embraced the strategy, the Commonwealth Fund began accepting broadcast Underwriting gifts for programs. Corporations and foundations can support KET philanthropically and gain marketing benefits as well.
The Fund manages some 15-20 Special Events annually across the state to engage KET donors and prospects in unique KET experiences. While few of these are fundraising events like Summer Celebration, which is in its 30th year, other cultivation events hold untold fundraising dividends in the future.  
CapabilitiesHelpWhat are the organization’s capabilities for doing this? What resources, capacities, and connections support its progress towards long-term goals?
The Commonwealth Fund for KET owns the property at 560 Cooper Drive and leases 10 staff from the KET Foundation. They are given the same benefits and are subject to the same rules and restrictions as the other KET state and foundation employees. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Nick Nicholson
Company Affiliation Retired/Keeneland Association, Inc., President
Term Oct 2014 to
Board Members
Mrs. Mira S. BallBall Homes Inc.Voting
Mrs. Kathy BrauerFriends of KET RepresentativeNonVoting
Mrs. Vickie Yates BrownFrost Brown Todd LLCVoting
Mr. Rusty CheuvrontBrown-Forman CorporationVoting
Mr. John S. DomaschkoMC SquaredVoting
Mr. John R. HallRetired/Ashland Inc Chairman of the BoardNonVoting
Mrs. Shae HopkinsKentucky Educational TelevisionVoting
Mr. William JonesUS BANKVoting
Mrs. Donna MooreCivic LeaderVoting
Mr. Nick NicholsonKeenelandVoting
Mr. Kimberly PattonGBBN ArchitectVoting
Mrs. Hilma PratherCivic LeaderVoting
Mr. Chris ReidIndependence BankVoting
Mr. William T. Young, Jr.W. T. Young IncVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity. Add number
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 71%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 92%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 0%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Mr. John Domaschko
Company Affiliation MC Squared
Term Oct 2014 to Oct 2015
Constituent Board Members
Yvonne Baldwin
Ann Beard
Carol Beirne
Daphne Blevins
Kathy Brauer
John Burton
Mary M. Butler
William M. Cox Jr.
Elrene Davis
Martha Deener
Deede Dykes
Laura Fields Eason
Abdus-Sabuur FM
Kelly Green
G. Dan Griffith
Romanza Johnson
A. Dale Josey
Surekha Kulkarni
Barbra Ledford
Edith Lovett
Carol Major
Peggy Mershon
Sean Mestan
Brenda Owen
J. Donald Parrish
Marie Piekarski
Diane L. Porter
Wayne Rassman
Rebecca Forsythe Rose
Patricia Seiber
Kaye Smith
Elsa Spurlock
Terri Srinivasan
Martha Taylor
Maude Teegarden
Nancy Thames
Donna Wear
Standing Committees
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Mrs. Michele D. Ripley
Term Start Nov 2001
Michele Ripley is president of the Commonwealth Fund for Kentucky Educational Television. For an unprecedented five consecutive years, PBS recognized KET with an Overall Development Award, the industry’s highest fund-raising honor. Michele served as the 2007 national chair of PBS’ Development Advisory Committee and also was named to the PBS Foundation’s Station Advisory Council. Previously, for 13 years, Michele served the University of Kentucky, both as institutional National Marketing Director and as the Director of Development and Public Relations for the UK College of Fine Arts. Michele is a native of Lexington, a graduate of UK, and in 2007 became the youngest inductee into the Lafayette High School Hall of Fame. She is a member of the 2002 class of Leadership Kentucky, was president of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education-Kentucky, presently serves on the United Way of the Bluegrass Board of Directors, and is active with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Full Time Staff 10
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 660
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 80%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Quarterly
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
NonManagement Formal Evaluation No
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Description KET provides 4 channels digitally in High Definition 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: KET, KET2, KETKY, and KET PBS KIDS.  KET spends approximately $3million/year on acquiring PBS programming, including national favorites such as Sesame Street, PBS NewsHour, and Nova.  KET also produces more local programming than all other Kentucky commercial stations combined.  All programs are available for sponsorship.
Program Long term Success KET has been on-air for 50 years.  We have garnered awards for our educational content.

KET enjoys a stellar reputation nationally for excellence across the Public Broadcasting System. It is widely understood throughout the industry that KET is a flagship, a celebrated leader. And among its accolades, KET’s commitment to local productions is unmatched since KET produces more local productions than any other PBS station.


To ensure a stable funding source that guarantees in perpetuity local production capacity and ensures access to a lifelong learning gift for all our citizens and students, we have established the Kentucky Productions Endowment. 


KET’s local productions celebrate, preserve, and share stories about the people, places, and heritage of Kentucky. These stories remind all Kentuckians of what makes this Commonwealth richly distinctive. 


May these stories inspire ideas, make connections, and help the youth to carry on the legacy to preserve a very special place in this world.

Budget 2000000
Population Served Adults
Program Short Term Success

Kentucky productions include educational, biographical, cultural, business, and public affairs programs that document the people, places, issues, and heritage of the Commonwealth. Presently, 7,500 hours of original programs which are available nowhere else document 38 years of Kentucky heritage. These productions are designed to be used on-air, in the classroom, on-line, and for research.


The foundation of the public’s trust and confidence in KET rests with our quality, integrity, and programming independence throughout years of differing political, social and economic circumstances. This independence is made possible by 29,000 annual donors, corporations and foundations that comprise the largest source of annual private support for KET and the volunteer spirit of over 1,000 individuals.


A more predictable and stable funding source, insulated from fluctuating economies, will secure KET’s ability to provide the programs Kentuckians not only need, but have come to expect. A program endowment will guarantee in perpetuity a reliable recording of the life and times of the Commonwealth—a lifelong-learning gift for students, teachers, citizens and future generations and an ongoing and more comprehensive Kentucky archive for learners, researchers and viewers.


This $2 million endowment for local productions will allow us to achieve certain production targets, such as:


  • Annual biographies of important Kentucky figures
  • A salute to Kentucky’s Veterans of World War II
  • A documentary History of the Horse and the Thoroughbred industry
  • Increased capacity to launch new educational series
Program Long term Success

KET has had a vision to improve the quality of life of Kentuckians, individually and collectively. KET has honored that mission and vision in every sense. 


As the only state-wide media source, KET is a unique, transformational force harnessing the power of television to nurture the human mind, cultivate strong families, and build robust communities. KET brings the world to the Commonwealth airing the finest of national PBS productions such as Masterpiece Theatre, Nova and NewsHour. Using production studios in Louisville and Lexington, KET chronicles Kentucky’s heritage and culture in the finest feature and documentary programs. Such video is made available for researching, teaching, and private edification.


Partnering with 1,700 public schools and more than 160 local and statewide social, educational, governmental, and civic organizations, KET manages direct educational services targeting underserved populations’ needs. KET is the nation’s premier producer of adult learning programs such as GED Connections. The latest revolution in teaching and learning is KET’s EncycloMedia, an online tool that gives teachers the resources to inspire future generations. 


KET’s broadcasting and services overcome barriers – geographic and circumstantial – to nurture the human mind and spirit so that a person may achieve his/her potential. 

Examples of Program Success This endowment will be producing nationally recognized, locally produced Kentucky stories.  KET will be releasing "Thoroughbred" in HD March 2009 to Kentucky and April 2009 nationally through PBS.

With a donation of $1 million, the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Arts Endowment was established. Mrs. Little's gift, the largest donation in KET history at the time, was matched by other private donations over five years, including the Steele-Reese Foundation, and used for the purchase and production of arts programming for Kentucky schools. 

Description In 1998, the O. Leonard Press 21st Century Fund for civic engagement was established. 
Program Comments
CEO Comments

KET houses one of the nation’s most innovative public television production facilities, made possible by funding from state appropriations.

Kentuckians can count on KET to expand its array of local content online with more streaming video and podcasts, as well as more opportunities for deeper exploration of program topics.

New programs, deeply rooted in the history and heritage of Kentucky, remain a priority at KET.

Local programs, designed with community needs in mind, are produced in HD. Kentucky-focused magazine and arts programs will continue to reflect our common bonds, while KET’s deep slate of public-affairs programming will continue to explore the ideas and people that keep our state vital.

By providing even more purpose-built educational content and HD programs that explore Kentucky, KET will expand its commitment to make our Commonwealth stronger.

Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted July 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 No
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? Yes
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2018
Projected Revenue $6,350,000.00
Projected Expenses $5,975,000.00
Endowment Value $7,980,875.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage 5%
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Revenue$6,464,369$5,789,540$6,073,119
Total Expenses$4,915,739$4,734,349$4,329,100
Revenue Less Expenses$1,548,630$1,055,191$1,744,019
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$5,314,226$5,554,893$5,328,617
Investment Income, Net of Losses$350,388$451,168$521,221
Membership Dues--$0$0
Special Events$191,984$256,234$203,007
Revenue In-Kind--$200,822$121,050
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$2,958,048$2,695,600$2,413,000
Administration Expense$1,192,260$1,129,882$1,010,818
Fundraising Expense$765,431$908,867$905,282
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.321.221.40
Program Expense/Total Expenses60%57%56%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$24,590,799$22,655,403$21,898,776
Current Assets$2,690,836$5,479,807$5,642,002
Long-Term Liabilities$2,313,916$3,167,348$3,537,804
Current Liabilities$274,824$355,742$460,400
Total Net Assets$22,002,059$19,132,313$17,900,572
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
2007 Form 990
Audit Documents
2017 Audit
2016 Audit
2015 Audit
2014 Audit
2013 Audit
2009 Audit
2008 Audit
2007 Audit
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Registration Yes
Address 560 Cooper Dr
Lexington, KY 405022200
Primary Phone 800 866-0366
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Michele D. Ripley
Board Chair Mr. Nick Nicholson
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired/Keeneland Association, Inc., President