499 East High Street
Suite 112
Lexington KY 40507
Contact Information
Address 499 East High Street
Suite 112
Lexington, KY 40507
Phone (859) 225-3343
Fax 859 243-0770
Contact Name Barbara Fischer
Web and Social Media
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At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 1967
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer

 On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Blue Grass Community Foundation once again presented On The Table, a one-day community conversation about ways to improve the place we call home. Participants gathered around tables throughout the region to share a meal and had real conversations about ways their community can be better for everyone through individual and collective civic engagement. Survey results will be available soon at



Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement Blue Grass Community Foundation creates more generous, vibrant and engaged communities, growing charitable giving throughout the Bluegrass and Appalachia Kentucky.
Background Statement Blue Grass Community Foundation is a public charity that helps individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits accomplish their philanthropic goals by helping them establish charitable funds and endowments. We are the region’s go-to source for giving and engagement.

The Community Foundation was established in Lexington KY in 1967 by local philanthropists Irene and C.W. Sulier. Their goal was to create a permanent endowment to provide for diverse community needs over time and to encourage other like-minded philanthropists to join them. Today the Community Foundation has grown to over $130 million in assets and has awarded over $98 million in grants. From one fund in 1967, we have grown to over 652 charitable giving funds, each with its own charitable purpose. Our Affiliate Foundations serve Boyle, Clark, Harrison, Franklin, Madison, Magoffin, Morgan, Rowan, and Woodford Counties

The Community Foundation leads and convenes on key community issues and projects. We partner with national funders, state and city government and local residents to make our region the most engaged, vibrant place it can be. Our efforts promote robust social engagement and provide leadership on capital and civic projects. We seek to enhance the quality of life in central and eastern Kentucky.
 We believe that the power and passion of individual philanthropy leads to a stronger, better community for us all.
Impact Statement From one fund established in 1967 by local philanthropists Irene and C.W. Sulier, we've grown to over 600 funds. Our assets exceed $131 million.  Since 1967, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $91 million in grant funding, including $10 million in FY19.

The Community Foundation partners with the community to identify projects that will have lasting value and provides the leadership to accomplish them. Examples include

  •      Cooperative Neighborhood Building in Northeast Lexington. In 2015, the Kresge Foundation awarded BGCF a    3-year grant totalling $675,000 to boost collaboration between Lexington's East End and Northside neighborhoods in the areas of art, culture, food and health.
  •      North Limestone Cultural Plan. BGCF currently oversees a $75,000 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant to engage local residents in a planning process on artistic public space needs in the North Side neighborhood.
  •     USDA Bluegrass Double Dollars Program. BGCF administers a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program grant of $47,250 to improve affordability and accessibility of local fruits and vegetables among low-income customers, including residents of the North Side and the East End neighborhoods.
  •     Lexington Equity East End Partnership (LEEEP). In 2012, BGCF facilitated the establishment of this collaborative effort composed of residents, nonprofits and businesses for the improvement of the built environment and healthy food access in the East End. In 2013, BGCF received three years of funding for LEEEP from the National Convergence Partnership.
  •     Gimbel Foundation Grants
  •         In 2013, BGCF was awarded $25,000 for the Water Tower Project to create public art and a green public gathering space in the North Side neighborhood, one of Lexington’s most disinvested communities.

Since 2010 we have partnered with Smiley Pete Publishing to offer the GoodGiving Challenge, an online giving campaign that shines a light on local nonprofits. In 2018, the GoodGiving Challenge raised $1.5 million for the benefit of 110 Central and Eastern Kentucky nonprofits.
Needs Statement
Live or work in Lexington? Join us March 15 for On the Table, a community-wide conversation designed to bring people together during conversations over coffee or food to discuss not only what makes Lexington city great, but what we can do to make it better.
Join the conversation! Go the and sign up to be a host, guest, or ambassador. You may also contact Blue Grass Community Foundation at 859-225-3343 or
CEO/Executive Director Statement
For as many unique needs as there are in our community, there are just as many unique desires to give. Our role is to help givers find meaningful opportunities to use their passion for good. That's why we ask every donor, What's important to you? Through the Community Foundation, our donors provide college scholarships, support emergency food programs, further the arts and the list goes on. Each cause is as unique as our donors' visions. But the collective result is a stronger, more vibrant community for us all.
Board Chair Statement Blue Grass Community Foundation is dedicated to the idea that one person can make a powerful impact. For that reason, we provide personalized services and flexible giving opportunities to meet the diverse needs of each donor. We make charitable giving as easy and effective as possible. We offer maximum tax benefits and a wide array of planned giving opportunities. But we also know that we make the greatest impact when we work together. Although each fund at the Community Foundation is individually named and managed, assets are pooled and invested to provide economies of scale for our donors. Our collective size allows us to provide outstanding investment managers and competitive investment fees. Our investments are carefully monitored by the Community Foundation's experienced investment committee, consultants and staff. Blue Grass Community Foundation adheres to the most scrupulous standards of operational excellence. We have been certified as meeting the Council on Foundation’s National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, philanthropy's most rigorous set of guiding principles. We are committed to being good stewards for the funds our donors entrust to us for now AND over time. At Blue Grass Community Foundation, we're in it for good.
Service Categories
Secondary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C.
Tertiary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C.
Geographic Areas Served
Whitley County
Wolfe County
Anderson County
Bath County
Bell County
Bourbon County
Boyd County
Boyle County
Bracken County
Breathitt County
Campbell County
Carroll County
Carter County
Clark County
Clay County
Elliott County
Estill County
Fayette County
Fleming County
Floyd County
Franklin County
Gallatin County
Garrard County
Greenup County
Harlan County
Harrison County
Jessamine County
Johnson County
Kenton County
Knott County
Knox County
Laurel County
Lawrence County
Lee County
Leslie County
Letcher County
Lewis County
Madison County
Magoffin County
Marshall County
Martin County
Mason County
Menifee County
Mercer County
Metcalfe County
Montgomery County
Morgan County
Nicholas County
Owsley County
Pendleton County
Perry County
Pike County
Powell County
Robertson County
Rockcastle County
Rowan County
Scott County
Impact Questions
GoalsHelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact.

Blue Grass Community Foundation’s ultimate goal is to create a more engaged, vibrant community through philanthropy. To accomplish this, we work with donors, nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, other funders and community members. We channel resources, engage and educate donors, promote local nonprofits and provide leadership to make real, lasting change in all the communities we serve.

We connect donors to causes they are passionate about. We work to increase charitable giving and a more engaged community. In order to accomplish lasting, meaningful change, the Foundation is embarking on a capital campaign to raise an endowment of unrestricted funds to support community projects and issues, and to leverage additional funding for critical, high impact initiatives.

StrategiesHelpWhat are the organization's strategies for its stated long-term goals?

Strategies for accomplishing long-term goals include

  • A capital campaign to establish an unrestricted endowment to fund projects identified as key to improving our community
  • Monthly information sessions to educate nonprofits about our services, which aid with marketing, fundraising, capacity building and best practices
  • Growing charitable giving and a philanthropic culture by deploying both community-wide and targeted giving opportunities
  • Ensuring that giving is simple, effective and rewarding

Broad approaches include helping donors define their passions; forming alliances with other funders--both national and local; providing tools for easy, effective philanthropy; educating donors about the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit and other ways to maximize charitable deductions.

Activities that serve as important building blocks for future success include, an online, user-friendly search engine to highlight local nonprofits; the GoodGiving Challenge, to raise operating dollars and endowments for nonprofits serving local communities; reaching out and providing challenge grants to communities in Eastern Kentucky to help them establish local endowed community funds.

Each of these activities is designed to support particular, strategic objectives.

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

The Foundation’s internal assets include an experienced staff of eleven--three attorneys, two CPAs, and staff with long-term experience in grantmaking, nonprofit outreach, scholarships and social media--with a combined total of 60 years experience working for the Community Foundation. We also have an engaged, well-connected board of directors.

BGCF has been certified as following best practices as outlined by the Council on Foundation, philanthropy’s highest standard; and we have been certified by the Kentucky Revenue Department to receive contributions to endowments eligible for the Endow Kentucky tax credit.

External assets include partnerships with the Kresge Foundation; the Knight Foundation; the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky; Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government; LexArts; the Kentucky Nonprofit Network; the Gimble Foundation; numerous local community groups; and a wide range of local donors. We have established partnerships and working relationships with many central Kentucky community leaders and community leaders in other counties including Clark, Boyle, Franklin, Madison, Morgan, Magoffin, Rowan, Harrison and Woodford counties. We also work closely with the Kentucky Revenue Department on the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit initiative.

Future resources include an alliance with the James Graham Brown Foundation and Grantmakers of Kentucky to develop and utilize

IndicatorsHelpHow will the organization know if it is making progress? What are the key qualitative and quantitative indicators against which the organization assesses its progress toward its intended impact?

Indicators of progress include the total amount of endowments for the benefit of local Kentucky counties; number of Kentucky nonprofits with complete, up-to-date portraits; amount raised and number of donors giving during the GoodGiving Challenge for the benefit of regional nonprofits; number of business and media partners and the amount of their matching funds for nonprofits participating in the Challenge; and the amount of catalytic grantmaking opportunities we are able to fund.

ProgressHelpWhat has and hasn’t been accomplished so far?

Recent progress toward long-term goals include

  • In the second year of a capital campaign to raise an unrestricted endowment to fund key community projects
  • Establishment of endowed Community Funds in Franklin, Madison, Woodford, Morgan, Rowan, Harrison and Magoffin Counties to fund local community projects
  • Over 400 donor advised funds allowing donors the flexibility to recommend grants to any charity they wish
  • Charitable gift annuities and remainder trusts that provide income during donors’ lifetimes and then continue to meet donors’ charitable objectives in perpetuity
  • Ability to receive complex gifts
  • The GoodGiving Challenge, an online giving campaign to raise funds for nonprofits serving central and eastern Kentucky, which has raised $5.5 million for regional nonprofits since 2011
  • LEEEP, a Community Foundation partnership with East End residents to create thriving businesses, arts venues and beautiful streetscapes
  • Establishment of fiscal sponsorship funds that allow engaged citizens to partner with the Community Foundation to accomplish long- or short-term community projects
  • The Legacy Trail, a nine-mile walk/bike trail that will include public art and enhanced broadband access. Through key partnerships, $12 million has been raised for this project to date
  •, a searchable database with user friendly, transparent profiles of over 400 Kentucky nonprofits

Future goals include establishing Community Funds in other counties identified as underserved by the ARC.

Through establishing endowed Community Funds, the GoodGiving Challenge and, local donors are learning about—and giving to—nonprofits with the potential to make a difference in communities in the Bluegrass and beyond.

The Community Foundation provides services to the community, donors and nonprofits at a nominal cost. One obstacle—to avoid any appearance of competition for available funds with local nonprofits. Our goal is to increase the pool of available funds. In the case of and the Challenge, we take no profit at all, and in fact, provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in matching funds. Providing services to nonprofits as part of our mission.

We know that people and organizations have a desire to be charitable, but too often don’t know where to start. We have learned that giving grows when we provide information, tools, services and giving opportunities that are simple and effective. What does NOT work is complexity. Blue Grass Community Foundation is committed to continual improvement in producing data and feedback on a regular basis. Based on the last four years of success, we have continued to make our goals more ambitious.

Board Chair
Board Chair Fran Taylor
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Term July 2019 to June 2021
Board Members
Blanton Coates Jr.Codell Construction CompanyVoting
Joseph ColemanKentucky League of CitiesVoting
Tim DunnMusgrave & AssociatesVoting
Lori GarkovichCommunity VolunteerVoting
Vanessa GrosslLexington Global Engagement CenterVoting
Lisa Higgins-HordUniversity of KentuckyVoting
Michelle HollingsheadImprint Coaching + ConsultingVoting
Jenna MitchellCommunity VolunteerVoting
Travis MusgraveMerrill LynchVoting
Dan PraterCommunity VolunteerVoting
Carolyn Purcell M.D.Community VolunteerVoting
Andy ReynoldsBallast, Inc.Voting
Ricki RosenbergCommunity VolunteerVoting
Salvador SanchezChocolate Holler; Cup of CommonwealthVoting
Fran TaylorLexington Silver LLCVoting
Richard WehrleAttorney/CPAVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity. Add number
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 78%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Madonna Turner
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Lisa Adkins
Term Start Oct 2009


Lisa Adkins is President and CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation.  Prior to joining the Foundation, Adkins worked in the non-profit sector for 15 years in affiliation with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.  During that time she served as President and CEO of YouthFriends for 13 years.  Previously, Adkins practiced law, working as an Assistant District Attorney focused on the prosecution of sex crimes and child abuse, as well as a corporate litigator. Lisa has served on the Board of Directors for numerous organizations with an emphasis on arts, education and health.  Lisa was appointed by two Kansas’ Governors to serve on the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas and Missouri Culture District Commission, where she served as the first Chair. Lisa received the Regional Leadership Award from the Mid-America Regional Council and Civic Leadership Awards from the Junior League of Kansas City and the Native Sons & Daughters of Greater Kansas City.  She was included in Ingram’s Magazine Forty Under Forty and the Kansas City Star’s Women to Watch.

Lisa received her undergraduate degree, with Honors and Distinction, and her law degree, where she was named a Rice Scholar, from the University of Kansas.


Full Time Staff 11
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 275
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 70%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 7
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Title President/CEO
Title VP of Finance and Administration
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 Annually
Blue Grass Community Foundation partners with the community to identify projects that will have lasting value and provides the leadership to accomplish them. Current initiatives include: 
  • Town Branch Park. BGCF is partnering with LFUCG to serve as incubator for the Town Branch Park Fund. Town Branch Park, to be built on the former parking lot across from Rupp Arena, will connect to other nearby parks and complete 22 miles of trails linking Masterson Station Park and the Kentucky Horse Park. 
  • The Legacy Trail, a nine-mile walk/bike trail that will include public art and enhanced broadband access. Through key partnerships, $12 million has been raised for this project to date. 
Population Served General/Unspecified

Our role is to help givers of all kind find meaningful opportunities to use their passion for good. Funds are tailored to the specific goals of donors.

  • Donor advised funds allow donors the flexibility to recommend grants to any charity they wish, at any time.
  • Scholarships funds provide educational awards and are customized to donors’ interests.
  • Designated funds provide ongoing support to donors’ preselected charities.
  • Field of Interest funds allow donors to support specific causes and/or geographical areas.
  • Nonprofit funds, established by nonprofits, provide support for those nonprofits’ operations.
  • Unrestricted funds make competitive awards for the good of the community.
  • Fiscal sponsorship funds allow engaged citizens to partner with the Community Foundation to accomplish long- or short-term community projects.
Population Served General/Unspecified

The Community Foundation has a wide array of services to help professional advisors better serve their clients. These include planned giving services, charitable gift annuities charitable remainder trusts, and charitable lead trusts. We can accept bequests, gifts of stock, complicated gifts such as real estate and other property, and IRA assets. In addition, we can minimize tax penalties by accepting end-of-year gifts which donors can recommend for charitable grants at their leisure.  We also offer an online resource—the Planned Giving Design Center (, which provides the latest philanthropic news and up-to-date tools to aid professional advisors in their work on their clients’ behalf.


To date, the Community Foundation has awarded over $98 million in grants to nonprofits, with 95% of all grant dollars staying in Kentucky.
Other services include:
  • The GoodGiving Challenge, a partnership between Smiley Pete Publications and the Community Foundation, an online giving campaign to raise funds for local and regional nonprofits. Since its inception in 2010, the Challenge has raised over $10 million for Central and Eastern Kentucky nonprofits.
  • Giving Cards. The first program of its kind in Kentucky, Giving Cards are the charitable version of retail gift cards and can be redeemed to benefit any 501c3 charity of the recipient’s choice. To purchase Giving Cards, go to
  • Nonprofit endowed and nonendowed funds management
Population Served General/Unspecified

On March 15, 2017 Blue Grass Community Foundation introduced On the Table to Lexington, a community-wide conversation to discuss not only what makes our city great, but what we can do to make it better.

To see complete results of conversation held during the most recent On the Table on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, go to 

Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Comments
CEO Comments
The Community Foundation offers competitive grantmaking programs. These include: 
 Blue Grass Community Foundation Literacy and Early Childhood Education Grants for the benefits of central Kentucky nonprofits;
  • The Thomson R. Bryant, Jr. and Betty R. Bryant Grants for nonprofits providing services for basic human needs in Lexington;
  • Northeast Lexington Neighborhood Mini-grants for grassroots projects focusing on art, culture, food and health; 
  • The Teacher Mini-Grant Program, to encourage effective, creative teaching in Fayette County Public Schools.
  • Clark County Community Grants, for the benefit of Clark County.
  • Hudson-Ellis Grants, for the benefit of Boyle County. The Community Foundation also partners with other funders to establish cooperative grantmaking programs to address current community needs.
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Sept 2010
Management Succession Plan? Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)2010
Council on Foundations - Member2010
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 $1,351,957.00
Projected Expenses $1,351,956.00
Endowment Value $578,518.00
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 Year201820172016
Total Revenue$31,883,163$36,303,372$16,751,581
Total Expenses$15,182,451$13,516,147$11,397,814
Revenue Less Expenses$16,700,712$22,787,225$5,353,767
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 Year201820172016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$24,391,810$31,221,166$14,238,688
Investment Income, Net of Losses$3,502,063$2,428,596$2,090,761
Membership Dues----$0
Special Events$14,323$11,842$8,446
Revenue In-Kind----$3,189,248
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201820172016
Program Expense$14,291,071$12,706,411$10,747,117
Administration Expense$841,240$759,217$603,349
Fundraising Expense$50,140$50,519$47,348
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.102.691.47
Program Expense/Total Expenses94%94%94%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201820172016
Total Assets$126,725,630$105,927,423$78,385,726
Current Assets$12,544,364$9,636,496$4,888,943
Long-Term Liabilities$519,325$531,930$544,083
Current Liabilities$13,515,404$10,131,844$7,666,393
Total Net Assets$112,674,716$95,263,649$70,175,250
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose To raise endowment funds for community good.
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Registration Yes
CEO Comments
Address 499 East High Street
Suite 112
Lexington, KY 40507
Primary Phone 859 225-3343
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Lisa Adkins
Board Chair Fran Taylor
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer