Arts and Culture

The Community Foundation of Louisville has refocused one of its major grant programs to support racial equity. 

Last fall, the foundation brought in 15 Black community leaders with varied expertise to develop a new strategy for awarding grants through the Fund for Louisville program. 

The result is a new model through which eight to 12 Black-led nonprofits focused on social change will be selected to be a part of the program’s Racial Justice Cohort, according to a press release. Each group will receive an unrestricted grant ranging from $5,000 to $40,000, renewable annually for three years. 

Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville, said they changed the program to make the grant-making process more “accessible, equitable and transparent.”

“National data shows that charitable foundations underfund Black-led nonprofit organizations, resulting in the restricted ability to develop and implement organizational strategies that can lead to improved impact, growth and sustainability,” Gallo said in the release. 

To apply for the cohort, Black-led social change groups will submit a description of their work via an audio or written application not to exceed five minutes or 750 words. 

Seven Black community members will review the submissions and choose 25 organizations for virtual interviews, the release said. From there, a workgroup made up of Black community members and allies will select the final cohort. In addition to receiving funding, the recipients will have the chance to share information and network with each other.  

“The Fund for Louisville’s unique application process is trust-based, meaning it is designed to reduce power imbalances while strengthening relationships between the Foundation and grantees,” Ramona Dallum Lindsey, senior program officer for the Community Foundation, said in the release. “Offering renewable, unrestricted funding signals our trust in a grantee’s leadership to determine the best use of the funds.”

Groups won’t request grant amounts until accepted into the cohort, she added.

Applications are open through March 29.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.