The Kentucky Derby Festival works each year to provide community service that directly contributes to the cultural, educational, charitable and economic development of the community. To further that mission, the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation was founded in 1998. The Foundation, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charity receives and manages charitable contributions on behalf of the Kentucky Derby Festival Inc., its supporters and the general public.
The Foundation perpetuates the Festival’s impact on the community by developing projects that highlight the Festival’s influence on the area’s cultural heritage. It works to further the Festival’s educational and charitable mission through exhibitions and performances.
Current KDF Foundation projects:
- Production of the King Southern Bank Derby Festival Foundation Pro-Am Golf Tournament with $10,000 in proceeds benefitting The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
- Awarding $20,000 in savings bonds to top five finishers in the Derby Festival Spelling Bee.
- The Foundation has also provided more than $500,000 in financial support to groups such as Metro United Way’s Success by 6, Crusade for Children, Derek Anderson Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Research, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Music Theatre Louisville, Police Youth Activities League, St. Anthony’s Community Center, Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, Alzheimer’s Association, Youth Alive, Every1Reads, American Red Cross (tornado relief), Presbyterian Community Center, Plymouth Community Renewal Center and various Kentucky schools.
- The KDF Foundation established a committee to help oversee the efforts of the 32 charitable organizations that utilized the 2014 Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon to raise money for their groups through pledges secured by runners. More than $253,000 was raised for these charities in 2014 alone, with over $2 million having been raised since the program was started in 2005.
- Production of the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation Student Art Contest. This is a competition for all Kentucky schoolchildren to have their artistic skills evaluated by independent judges, with the winning pieces being placed on display throughout Louisville.
- Production of the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation Academic Challenge. This quick recall competition for middle-school students tests their knowledge on a wide variety of subjects.