“Do things that will promote the well-being of the citizens of the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky. Kentucky has long been thought of as a backward state and projects which the Trustees should undertake are those which will correct this impression, so that Kentucky and Louisville will be recognized nationally.”
That was the gist of the directive that lumberman and real-estate developer James Graham Brown left for his foundation before he died as the richest man in Kentucky. His trust has followed through. Hardly a major project has been completed in Louisville over the past half century without the foundation’s involvement. It helped create the Louisville Zoo, Louisville Waterfront Park, the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville, and the Kentucky Derby Museum. It has funded many improvements to local universities, including a current program that supports ten students every year at the University of Louisville or Centre College in the hope of making them “lifelong ambassadors” for the region.
The Louisville area is now thriving, with more than a million residents, growing industries, and booming tourism. The James Graham Brown Foundation remains the largest philanthropy in the state, and has awarded more than 3,000 grants totaling over half a billion dollars.
- James Graham Brown Foundation, jgbf.org/about-the-foundation