For the first time in my life, I owned a significant amount of money and I knew I needed to decide what to do with it. Because of the sale that gave me my income, a lot of women had lost jobs, and all the money involved had been made in Kentucky over decades.
So it was clear: something for women, specifically Kentucky women.
Women in Kentucky, like women everywhere, have issues of survival that seem to trump all other concerns: lack of education, poverty, isolation, domestic abuse. There were groups valiantly fighting to ameliorate these problems and those groups, small, understaffed non-profits, desperately needed money.
Why not give to them?
Many urged it as the best way to go and certainly the most respectable.
But I’d learned early that “The poor are always with us” and had observed during my early years in the state how little various reforms had accomplished; the so-called Great Society had swept through with trumpets but once the funds donated were gone, and the trumpets as well, things reverted pretty nearly to what they were.
Everything depended on perspective—on age-old attitudes about women, and only art, not social programming, has a chance of influencing attitudes.
Women artists are always in danger of extinction; already low on the pay scale, often with too many children and no support, they can hardly be expected to devote their limited time and energy to becoming proficient professional poets, painters, sculptors…
It seemed to me that small grants to such artists, grants to fund babysitters or travel to workshops or painting materials, for example, had a chance, if a slim one, of producing work, over time, that might influence attitudes toward women.
Because the program would have to last for a very long time to have any effect, I endowed the not-for-profit that I called The Kentucky Foundation for Women.
Now, decades later, it is of course impossible to know whether we have achieved any part of our goal. But we have created community. We have created hope. The KFW Hot Flash, our monthly email newsletter, will give you an idea of some of our recent topics.
We are all in this together, after all.
KFW News for March 2015 from the KFW Hot Flash. If you’re interested in receiving the newsletter, you may subscribe here.
The opportunities, grants and resources listed are often national so even if you aren’t a resident of Kentucky, many will still apply. You may also want to check out the wonderful Resources and Links page on their website.
FOUNDATION FEATURED ON NATIONAL ARTS WEBSITE
KFW is honored to be the featured member on the Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) homepage for March, Women’s History Month! GIA is a national network of private, public and corporate arts funders that provides leadership and service that advances the use of philanthropic and governmental resources to support the growth of the arts and culture. To view the member spotlight visit http://www.giarts.org or http://www.giarts.org/blog/sujn/member-spotlight-kentucky-foundation-women. To view the full photo gallery, featuring photos submitted by KFW community members, visit http://www.giarts.org/photo-credits.
REMINDER: KFW 30th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL GRANT
In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, KFW has announced a one-time, special grant opportunity to support the artists, activists & organizers who have been at the forefront of creating feminist art for social change in Kentucky. Grantees who have previously received a KFW grant can apply to propose activities that honor the history of feminist art for social change in Kentucky, cultivate connections, and/or inspire dialogue about the power of art to affect change in the lives of women and girls.
KFW will award up to $20,000 to diverse proposals from across the state. In order to distribute funds equitably, no single award will exceed $3000. Applicants are encouraged to apply in collaborative partnerships or groups.
Information and how to apply can be found at http://www.kfw.org or by contacting Sharon LaRue, Executive Director at sharon at kfw.org or 502-562-0045. Application deadline is April 3.