Bluegrass Families First (BFF) began in May 2012 in response to a request for a volunteer board to support programming at Lexington’s Family Care Center. The Center held an open house on that date, sponsored by the LFUCG Division of Family Services and the University of Kentucky on-site medical clinic, to educate the community about the center’s services and issue a call for volunteers to pioneer a volunteer board and non-profit entity that could help Lexington’s families.
On September 18, 2012, the first meeting was held to discuss the idea of building a non-profit. In attendance were eight volunteers with unique ties to Family Care Center. With complete support and involvement of the Center’s leadership, all eight later became the volunteer board’s initial Board of Directors. In 2013, the group elected its initial officers, adopted by-laws, filed Articles of Incorporation and obtained 501c3 status as Bluegrass Families First.
Through its initial phase, BFF created its own unique identity, expanding its mission to be inclusive of efforts beyond the Family Care Center. Board members felt strongly that their work should extend to other initiatives focused on family self-sufficiency, to eventually support a broad array of local, family-oriented programs and projects.
Major Accomplishments in First Year as a 501c3 on November 3, 2013
Held “BFF Launch Party” at Natasha’s Bistro to educate community members and past Family Care Center volunteer board members about the BFF mission and plans for the future. The event also debuted BFF’s fundraising role on a small scale. The inaugural Jean Sabharwal Award, a stunning stained glass piece created by local artist Dan Barnes, was presented to Jean Sabharwal at this event in recognition of her many years of passionate advocacy for Lexington’s families. Nominations for the award will be accepted annually.
Distributed holiday gifts to clients/students of Family Care Center’s Parent Education Program
Visited The Nest and One Parent Scholar and received orientations to the services of each as we explored agencies with like missions with a view toward partnerships.
Initiated “BFF Giving Tree” Project at Family Care Center in partnership with Family Care Center’s Family Service Coordination Program. The Giving Tree essentially is a resource closet with household essentials for young parents transitioning to living independently in their first home. The program has been received very well by clients and things are “flying off the shelf.”
Held BFF’s first family-oriented community event with a free showing of SHREK at the Kentucky Theatre. Besides giving back to Lexington families, we collected diaper donations for the Family Care Center, One Parent Scholar and The Nest.
Held Awards Luncheon honoring Dr.Kaak as the second recipient of the Jean Sabharwal Award. Event also raised funds for students’ holiday presents.
Held educational enhancement event (holiday gifts for teenage high school students).
Financial support (playground and courtyard renovation; educational enhancement; increased case management; other program needs.)
Professional consultation (paid or in-kind) re concrete demolition and design and construction of playground and courtyard
Household goods for Giving Tree (in-kind donations)
Volunteers to provide supportive services (in-kind donation of time)
Sponsor for annual Jean Sabharwal Award
“BFF’s focus across the community makes it a unique connector of service providers specializing in families with young children. At a time when safety nets and other resources are stretched, BFF is uniquely set up to offer support at the local level to address various components which support self-sufficiency of parents. Through its commitment to volunteerism and support of local initiatives through grants and fundraising, BFF has the potential to become the community’s most valued resource for the development and enhancement of promising programs to help families find a way out of poverty while meeting the needs of their young children.” Joanna Rodes, Director of Family Services, Lexington Fayette Urban County Government.
“As a budding organization, Bluegrass Families First has the unique opportunity to set the course for its program initiatives, strategies, and activities. The group of motivated, passionate directors is able to analyze the most effective strategies for making an impact on the children and families in Lexington without pressure to preserve past objectives. BFF has experienced the growing pains of any new organization – fundraising, board recruitment, and vision challenges – but it has handled them with grace and through a lens of opportunity to create a path of meaningful impact in the community. BFF appreciates its collaboration with community partners and looks forward to implementing future projects to help families with children become more self-sufficient in Lexington.” Meg Phillips, BFF President
Top Goals for 2016 (and Beyond):
Case manager to reduce barriers to success; textbooks, laptops/tabletsfor student use in secondary education; field trips; arts programming and supplementary physical education for secondary education students; regular and periodic encouragement for achievement of academic goals; monetary awards (scholarships) to cover textbooks, fees, partial tuition for students enrolling in post-secondary education and training.
Purchase and presentation of a yearly award celebrating/incentivizingexemplary service by a community leader in the region addressing Bluegrass Families First goals.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507