P.O. Box 1663
Contact Information
Address P.O. Box 1663
Phone (606) 278-0188
Contact Name Cindy Schuster
Web and Social Media
Bluegrass Families First Board Meeting
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 2013
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer Mail donation checks to P.O. Box1663, Lexington, KY, 40588. Volunteer opportunities include: board membership upon election by Board, tutoring, gardening, job shadowing/internship opportunities, courtyard maintenance, electronics donation coordinator/Giving Tree closet organizer to work with Family Care Center Volunteer Coordinator, assistance with grant applications, storytelling/reading with day care children, and guest speaking.
Other Documents
Financial Summary
Mission Statement Bluegrass Families First will promote and provide opportunities for high quality early childhood development, education, health and human services for Lexington families in their progress towards self-sufficiency.
Background Statement

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.


At this time, BFF’s efforts and support are directed primarily to programs of the Family Care Center, Nest and One Parent Scholar – all offering services to families with young children.
Impact Statement

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).

Needs Statement
  1. Financial support (playground and courtyard renovation; educational enhancement; increased case management; other program needs.)

  2. Professional consultation (paid or in-kind) re concrete demolition and design and construction of playground and courtyard

  3. Household goods for Giving Tree (in-kind donations)

  4. Volunteers to provide supportive services (in-kind donation of time)

  5. Sponsor for annual Jean Sabharwal Award

CEO/Executive Director Statement

“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.

Board Chair Statement

“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

Geographic Areas Served
Bluegrass Families First serves Fayette County and surrounding counties.
Impact Questions
GoalsHelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact.

Top Goals for 2016 (and Beyond):

  • Renovate the Family Care Center (FCC) courtyard into an outdoor theater to serve both established clients as well as families in the broader community. The courtyard as it exists currently is an area completely surrounded by the FCC building and a beautiful garden, maintained by a volunteer. It is used daily by on-site clients enrolled in educational and life skills programs. There is a need to maximize seating, remove a fountain that does not work and create an additional gathering place to be used for enhanced programming in the arts (theater, dance,  music). Original plans are being updated so that professional estimates may be obtained for this project.
  • Update/overhaul Family Care Center’s playgrounds. All need updating and one must have a complete overhaul within the next two years.
  • Increase case management personnel available to work with Lexington families in need of assistance with meeting basic needs.
  • Increase donations for families with young children participating in local educational, life skills and early childhood programs to both incentivize parents towards self-sufficiency goals and provide basic supplies/furnishings to those parents moving into their own homes.
  • Provide funding for enrichment opportunities
    for young parents enrolled in educational programs (e.g., field trips, extra programming such as yoga/Zumba) as well as encouragement and incentives (e.g., small holiday gifts &/luncheon, graduation festivities).
  • Provide scholarship funding for textbooks, fees, and partial tuition for students enrolling in post-secondary education.
Board Chair
Board Chair Rebecca Montano-Smith
Company Affiliation Lexington Public Library
Term Feb 2013 to June 2015
Board Members
Allison Grogan Buckley Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLPVoting
Pat Elizabeth Burke Community VolunteerVoting
Faith LaNette Calhoun Community VolunteerVoting
Aaron Joseph Dowdell Bluegrass.orgVoting
Kelly Ranae Duffy Catholic Action CenterVoting
Chris Ford LFUCG Commissioner of Social ServicesExofficio
Ellen Gish Lexington PhilharmonicVoting
Kelly Lynn Hagan Bluegrass Community & Technical CollegeVoting
Wendi N. Keene Community VolunteerVoting
Carol Martin University of KentuckyVoting
Linda Carolyn Maxwell Community VolunteerVoting
Rebecca Montano-Smith Lexington Public LibraryVoting
Sarah Moore Community VolunteerVoting
Meg Ellen Phillips Community Action CouncilVoting
Carol Allyn Riker University of Kentucky College of NursingVoting
Cindy Ann Schuster Lexington Urban County GovernmentVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 14
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 66%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Allison Grogan Buckley
Company Affiliation Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP
Term Feb 2013 to June 2016
Standing Committees
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director All Volunteer
Term Start Nov 2013
Experience All volunteer board; no CEO or staff. Received 501c3 on 11-3-2013.
Co-CEO All Volunteer
All volunteer
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 18
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 0%
Management Reports to Board? N/A
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 15
Unspecified 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation N/A
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
NonManagement Formal Evaluation N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Playground upgrades; renovation of the courtyard to include an amphitheater and community garden; library upgrade to include computer terminals.
Courtyard Renovation is BFF's Current Priority:
  • Architectural plans are developed and approved.
  • Community Block Grant money is being sought for partial funding.
  • Funding is envisioned as a public/private partnership.

Category None of the above
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Families, At-Risk Populations
Program Short Term Success
Acquire necessary funding.
Program Long term Success
Built environment safe and functional as well as enhancing physical activity and promoting creativity of the both center participants and community members.
Program Success Monitored By
Family Care Center Director monitors specific work plans and timetables.
Examples of Program Success
Demolition and reconstruction completed. Utilization by all groups.

Case manager to reduce barriers to success; textbooks, laptops/tablets
for 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.

Category Education, General/Other Student Financial Aid
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Families, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short Term Success
Acquisition of enhanced education materials.
Program Long term Success
Students will continue in secondary education and graduate. Graduates will pursue and complete post-secondary education/training.
Program Success Monitored By
Manager of high school program at Family Care Center.
Examples of Program Success
Every student will have access to a full set of educational materials.
Supplies for ongoing parent/child needs as well as well as items for setting up a household upon graduation
Category Human Services, General/Other Household Goods Provision
Population Served Families, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short Term Success
Steady supply of household necessities and personal care items that match the needs of young mothers and children.
Program Long term Success
Families who are active clients of the Family Care Center, One Parent Scholar House and the Nest will have the essential household goods to care for themselves and their children.
Program Success Monitored By
Family Care Center Volunteer Coordinator
Examples of Program Success
Household independence; family self-sufficiency.
Tutoring, gardening, reading with children, and other volunteer activities
Category Education, General/Other Tutorial Programs
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Families, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short Term Success
List of volunteer opportunities compiled and publicized
Program Long term Success
Staff, programs, and facilities/resources at the Family Care Center, One Parent Scholar House and the Nest will be  enhanced through in-kind donation of volunteer hours.
Program Success Monitored By
Volunteer Coordinator
Examples of Program Success
Identification of a full complement of volunteers to meet recurring and periodic requests for volunteers.

Purchase and presentation of a yearly award celebrating/incentivizing
exemplary service by a community leader in the region addressing Bluegrass Families First goals.

Category Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking, General/Other Community Service
Population Served At-Risk Populations, Families,
Program Short Term Success A sponsor or sponsors will be secured for next year.
Program Long term Success
Award will have a stable sponsor, year after year, and will be seen as a prestigious award to receive.
Program Success Monitored By
President of Bluegrass Families First
Examples of Program Success
Annual award is accepted and sought after by the educational, health and human service community.
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2014
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Bluegrass Families First collaborates with several local agencies with similar goals.
1. Family Care Center: The LFUCG Division of Family Service, based at the Family Care Center facility, provides services to families with priority given to young parents. The center uses a strength-based approach to assist parents in their efforts to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. This is accomplished through a number of services provided and coordinated under one roof, including Parent Education, Early Child Care, HANDS, and the University of Kentucky Clinic.
2. The Nest Center for Women, Children, and Families is a local nonprofit organization that provides a safe place for education, counseling, and support to children and families in crisis.
3. One Parent Scholar House is a program for single parents who are full-time students in a post-secondary educational institution. The primary purpose of the program is to help parents and their young children develop the educational and family life skills needed to achieve self-sufficiency.
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2016
Projected Revenue $4,345.31
Projected Expenses $3,197.97
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$1,108----
Administration Expense------
Fundraising Expense$1,019----
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.64----
Program Expense/Total Expenses52%----
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue22%----
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$3,489----
Current Assets$3,489----
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$3,489----
Form 990s
2016 990N 2016
2015 From 990N 2015
2014 Form 990N 2014
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Registration Yes
Address P.O. Box 1663
Primary Phone 606 278-0188
CEO/Executive Director All Volunteer
Board Chair Rebecca Montano-Smith
Board Chair Company Affiliation Lexington Public Library