How the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s Grantmaking Has Been Playing Out

As we’ve mentioned before, the Southeast is home to quite a few health legacy foundations. The latest of these local funders to cross our radar is the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which does pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a funder with that name.

Last year, this foundation awarded over $1 million to local nonprofits and community health coalitions working to improve health conditions for Kentucky residents. And total grantmaking from this funder now exceeds $26.7 million since 2001.

Let’s take a closer look at how this funder’s local health grantmaking has been playing out around the state.

To kick off 2017, the foundation made a statement about what it funds in terms of geography and interest area. Interestingly, one of the emerging types of grantee that this group has been supporting is nonprofit news organizations. The goal, here, is to increase the number of high-quality health and health policy-related news stories published by the local media.

Unlike many health funders, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky does not support direct services. Instead, the foundation is keen on helping policymakers and citizens alike make better decisions about health and healthcare systems. 

Research and data are top priorities for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. For instance, it recently gave $824,000 to efforts like the Kentucky Health Issues Poll. The funder also recently supported efforts to obtain and report data to better understand the implications of local health policies.

The foundation’s president and CEO, Ben Chandler, said:

Even when earnings on our endowment have been down, we have been able to invest in demonstration programs, advocacy efforts and research to help make Kentucky healthier. We’ve built a substantial foundation of information about what works. Moving forward, we will be advocating more actively for policy changes such as smoke-free laws that can really move the needle in Kentucky by improving and extending Kentuckians’ lives while reducing health care costs.

In terms of geography, these are the three districts of Kentucky that have received the most of this foundation’s overall support: Buffalo Trace, FIVCO, and Lake Cumberland. Through December 2016, Buffalo Trace has received 10 grants totaling $351,357, FIVCO has received 33 grants totaling $893,736.32, and Lake Cumberland has received 28 grants totaling $1,347,387.80.

Community health coalitions have really been on this foundation’s radar lately, and seven of them received foundation support in 2016. Examples of this grantee type include Kentucky Youth Advocates, Kentucky Voices for Health, Kentucky Population Health Institute, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, and Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy. Ben Chandler, the state's former attorney general, is a big proponent of a smoke-free Kentucky. We expect to see a lot more of this kind of support.

There are currently two open grant opportunities with this foundation: one to support conference attendance and the other for rapid-response grants to advance state and local health policies. Learn more about both opportunities here.