Local organizations receive combined $770,000 from giving challenge

Published 3:57 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

The Leeds Center for the Arts downtown is known for putting on good shows, but last Thursday, it hosted a show of generosity as several community organizations received funds from the 13th Annual GoodGiving Challenge.

Hallee Cunningham, the general counsel and director of planned giving for the Blue Grass Community Foundation and overseer of the board of advisors at the Clark County Community Foundation, explained the history and details of the challenge that begins in late November each year.

“It was started by the Blue Grass Community Foundation and Smiley Pete Publishing to get more awareness for the nonprofit organizations located in central and eastern Kentucky,” Cunningham said.

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The challenge has raised over $20 million over the past decade-plus and raised $2.66 million in 2023.

Clark County raised $770,000 of that total with 1,900 donations.

“It proves that Clark County is an incredibly generous community and that we have incredibly hardworking nonprofits that support an excellent quality of life here,” Cunningham said.

The event’s host was also a beneficiary of the challenge.

The donation of over $52,000 will allow the Leeds Center to continue to do more than just put on performances.

“The heart and soul of Leeds is our education program. We teach classes, put on workshops and do all kinds of enrichment activities for students across central Kentucky and our portion of Appalachia,” said Leeds’ Director of Development, Bo List.

In the past year, Leeds has added a Rock University to its offerings, with more additions hopefully on the horizon thanks to the funding.

“It will help to continue to expand and support our education program, which is very important to us. It is essential to us to have students in here and to support their growth not only as artists but as people, said Leeds’ Operations Manager, Elizabeth Massie.

Center staff also hope to continue to be good stewards of the community.

“We hopefully are a positive and useful civic presence in Winchester,” List said. “We try to be good citizens and do our best to support the wonderful things happening in the city…We like to welcome people to our town.”

For more information on the center, visit its website at leedscenter.org.

One of the area’s most high-profile nonprofits, Legacy Greenscapes, also received funds – totaling over $28,000 – from the drive.

“We are the nonprofit that manages Legacy Grove Park,” said executive director Deborah Jackson. “We do all of the maintenance and operations there. We also provide programs and events free to the community year-round, like the community Earth Day celebration and the Legacy Nights concert series.”

The funding will be a tremendous help for the nonprofit.

“We are 100 percent donor-supported. We do not receive city or county tax dollars. So, this funding goes directly back into our park and funds the programs and events that we have this year. We want to keep those free so that everyone has access to them,” Jackson said.

To learn more about the park, visit its Facebook page.

For some local organizations, like the Winchester Kiwanis Club, this was their first time participating in the Good Giving Challenge. 

This year, the club was awarded over $2,000 in donations. 

“Kiwanis’ main function is to serve the children of Winchester,” said club president Cindy Banks. “Our main purpose is to clothe children identified through the family resource centers in elementary and intermediate schools. We partner with Walmart, and they each get $100 worth of school clothes.”

The annual endeavor costs nearly $20,000, so the donated funds will benefit the Kiwanis cause.

“It will be a huge help for us,” Banks said.

For more information about the Winchester Kiwanis Club, visit its Facebook page.