New and Noteworthy: March 2020


Town Branch Park exceeds fund-raising goal as it completes Phase I

Town Branch Park announced in February it has exceeded its year-end fund-raising goal as it completed Phase I of the project. Town Branch Park has raised more than $12.2 million, which propelled it past the $12 million goal.

“It is wonderful to see families – some with multigenerational roots in Lexington and some relatively new to our community – come together to make this a better place to live, work, play and connect,” said Allison Lankford, executive director of Town Branch Park.  “Families across Lexington realize the importance of this park and want to be a part of it. And, their generous donations have fueled our efforts to move into the final design phase.” 

Phase I accomplishments also included receiving 501(c)3 nonprofit designation, which established it as Lexington’s first and only park conservancy; finishing environmental assessments, site survey, and geotechnical studies; and completing the Inclusion Report to help ensure the park is welcoming and inclusive to all.

End-of-year commitments, which have just been finalized, totaled more than $1 million.

“I bought my office on Main Street 35 years ago,” said Bill Justice, owner of Justice Real Estate, who made one of the year-end donations. “The transformation of downtown since then is exciting. Town Branch Park will be its centerpiece. Cities with downtown parks throughout the United States are thriving and so will Lexington.

“Lexington has been good to me, and I want to share in something special for generations to come.”

Bob Rouse of the Rouse Family Foundation, which also made a year-end donation, said: “This park is going to be an integral part of the growth of downtown. The whole family grew up here and is raising children here. It’s an unbelievable place to raise a family, and downtown is a huge part of it. This is a wonderful project and will help get Lexington’s downtown where it needs to be.”

The park has an overall goal of $31 million in private funds to create more than 9 acres of signature downtown park. It also will function as the trailhead connecting 22-miles of biking/walking trails leading from downtown to Lexington’s iconic rural landscape. story courtesy of Allison Lankford, Town Branch Park


Railbird rides again!

Railbird Festival will return to the beautiful grounds of Keeneland in Lexington, KY on August 22-23, 2020!

Railbird Festival, celebrating music, bourbon and equine is brought to you by AC Entertainment. Railbird will also give back to the community by partnering with local nonprofit organizations Central Music Academy, Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, Fayette Alliance and Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Each nonprofit will receive monetary support from the festival, and will have a presence on-site during the event. 

The lineup of folk, bluegrass, Americana and rock includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Maren Morris, The Head & The Heart, The Decemberists, Tanya Tucker, Cat Power, The Dead South and many more. All tickets are on sale now at

RSVP to the official Railbird Festival 2020 Facebook event and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates about the festival. story courtesy of Railbird


Stonewall Terrace, a first of its kind residence and resource in the Commonwealth

AVOL Kentucky, and Winterwood, Inc. announce the receipt of a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allocation from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through Kentucky Housing Corporation to build Stonewall Terrace, a 26-unit community residence serving low-income individuals living with HIV in Lexington. Additionally, the facility will be open to medically vulnerable citizens who need close access to social services and support. The facility will also make much-needed community meeting space available for use by other groups and nonprofit organizations.

Medically vulnerable populations served by Stonewall Terrace include the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ individuals, the elderly, homeless, those with HIV/AIDS, and those with other chronic health conditions, including severe mental illness and substance use disorders.  The health and healthcare problems of the medically vulnerable intersect with many social factors, including housing, poverty, and inadequate education. 

“This is an absolute gamechanger for our community,” said AVOL’s Executive Director, Jon Parker. “To be able to provide both housing and essential resources at a single location will greatly enhance the services already being provided by AVOL to those in need.”

AVOL is partnering with Winterwood, Inc., a real estate company with more than 40 years of experience serving the housing needs of the region, creating safe and affordable places to live. Parker indicated Winterwood has played a critical role in making this opportunity possible.

Stonewall Terrace will be located on Versailles Road, close to Cardinal Hill Hospital and Oxford Circle. AVOL plans to break ground this summer and the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021. story courtesy of AVOL Kentucky, Inc.


Walk MS to help change the world for those living with multiple sclerosis

Ending multiple sclerosis for good will take all of us. Walk MS helps us team up with friends, loved ones and co-workers to change the world for everyone affected by MS. Together, we become a powerful force. And with every step we take, every dollar we raise... we’re that much closer.

On Saturday, April 18th at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, central Kentuckians will take that step. One and three mile routes are available and the walk is open to all ages. The site opens at 9am and the walk kicks off at 10am, rain or shine. All Walk MS routes are accessible for scooters, wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Accessible restrooms will be available.

Walk MS brings together passionate people who connect in communities nationwide and raise funds to change the world for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis. With nearly 300,000 people fundraising and volunteering each year, Walk MS has generated more than $1 billion toward this mission. Each step you take is backed by a supportive community. story courtesy of Walk MS... check the Walk MS website for any event updates!


Lexington Public Library earns five-star rating from the Library Journal

The Lexington Public Library recently announced it has been recognized by the Library Journal as a 2019 five-Star Library. This is the library’s first time receiving such a distinction.

“This is a tremendous honor for the Lexington Public Library, the city of Lexington and for our hundreds of thousands of stakeholders,” said Heather Dieffenbach, the library’s Executive Director. “Our score reflects a community that utilizes and appreciates the many benefits of its library.”

The rating is formulated using physical circulation, electronic material circulation, library visits, program attendance, public internet usage and Wi-Fi sessions.  2019 was the first year Wi-Fi sessions were included as a metric. With 842,264 Wi-Fi sessions last year, the Lexington Public Library has one of the highest Wi-Fi usages of libraries in the state. 

“The Lexington Public Library prides itself on listening to and adapting to the needs of our community,” Dieffenbach added. “We pride ourselves on exceeding the expectations of the residents of our city. Our staff’s thoughtful, strategic and forward-thinking approach to providing world-class service while being cognizant of an everchanging world positions us to be one of the foremost trailblazing library systems in the nation.”

In 2019, 6,333 public libraries across the country were rated. The Lexington Public Library is one of ten libraries to receive a five-star rating in the $10M-29.9M expenditure range. A total of 257 libraries nationwide were awarded stars, ranging from 3 stars to 5, in nine different expenditure level categories.

For more information on the Lexington Public Library, please visit story courtesy of Lexington Public Library


Blue Grass Community Foundation celebrates $100 million in total grantmaking

Blue Grass Community Foundation is celebrating the milestone of awarding $100 million in aggregate grants since its founding in 1967. Because this could not have been accomplished without the generosity of their donors and the communities they serve across Central and Appalachia Kentucky, BGCF hosted multiple special events to celebrate and express their gratitude. 

During a news conference at City Hall, Mayor Linda Gorton kicked-off the Thanks $100 Million celebration with a Mayoral Proclamation commemorating the event. Blue Grass Community Foundation President/CEO Lisa Adkins and Board Chair Fran Taylor presented executives and representatives of the Urban League of Lexington, The Hearing and Speech Center and Sayre School’s Green Team with grants in honor of the initial round of $100 grants awarded by the Community Foundation back in 1968.

BGCF will launch the website to share 100 stories of impact about the people, initiatives and $100 million in grants made throughout the Community Foundation’s history.

Blue Grass Community Foundation was started in 1967 by local philanthropists C.W. & Irene Sulier. That first year, assets of Blue Grass Foundation (as it was then called) reached $5,000. Fast forward to February 2020. The Community Foundation has grown from one charitable fund to almost 700, each with its own unique charitable purpose. Charitable assets total almost $150 million, with total grants since inception of over $108 million. 

Our community’s generosity has accelerated in recent years. It took 45 years to grant the first $50 million to nonprofits and scholarship recipients, but fewer than 7 years to grant the next $50 million. Over the course of the last 10 fiscal years (FY11 to FY20) BGCF has granted out $87.8M, or 81% of the total.  They are confident that the Community Foundation will have an even larger impact as they move forward and continue to grow.

But, as President/CEO Lisa Adkins notes, “This is about so much more than numbers. Achieving the $100 million milestone represents progress toward our mission of increasing community generosity. It’s about impact, transformation, changed lives and the generosity of donors who make it possible. Whether it’s the environment and greenspaces, early childhood education and literacy, safer communities, more engaged neighborhoods, or arts and culture, philanthropy powers so much good in our communities.”

At the Community Foundation, they believe that one person can make a difference, but know we make the biggest impact when we invest together for our communities. If you’d like to have a greater impact on your community and the causes you love, join the BGCF. They want to partner with you. Contact themtoday to establish a charitable fund to reach your philanthropic goals. story courtesy of Lauren Parsons, Blue Grass Community Foundation


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