Brown-Forman Foundation - Foundation to Donate $50 Million Over 10 Years

Brown-Forman is a global company that offers its beverage alcohol brands in more than 170 countries around the world. The company was founded 152 years ago and has kept its headquarters in the same location in Louisville, Kentucky’s downtown West End neighborhood since 1924. While many companies chose to move out of this area of town, that was often known for redlining, Brown-Forman chose to stay and grow into the global corporation they are today.

Brown-Forman is a company that has always given back to their community and now they’ve given back to their local neighbors in a big and purposeful way.

Brown-Forman Donates $50 Million Over 10 Years

Brown-Forman has announced a collaboration with five organizations in west Louisville to advance educational opportunities from early childhood through adult learning. The partnership and corresponding $50 million financial commitment empowers these organizations to increase their reach and create measurable impact by meeting long-term needs with new resources for the next generation of leaders.

The investment represents Brown-Forman Foundation’s largest investment since it was created in 2018. The $50 million financial opportunity fund will span ten years. 

West End School Board Chair Daniel Hall, AMPED Executive Director Dave Christopher, Louisville Central Community Center President & CEO Kevin Fields, Louisville Urban League President & CEO Sadiqa Reynolds, Simmons College President Dr. Kevin Cosby, Brown-Forman Foundation Executive Director Jill Horn, Brown-Forman President & CEO Lawson Whiting, City of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Brown-Forman Foundation Chairman & President Ralph de Chabert (L to R).

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Believers in Quality Education from ‘Cradle to Career’

“Brown-Forman and the Brown-Forman Foundation aspire to have a transformative impact in the community we’ve called home for more than 150 years. We believe that quality education, from cradle to career, is critical to lifelong success and helps ensure a brighter future for generations to come,” said Lawson Whiting, CEO, Brown-Forman Corporation, and Director, Brown-Forman Foundation. “Today’s announcement is another step on that journey and our commitment to positive, long-term change here in Louisville.”

“Providing access to education and opportunities is key to ensuring our children can be successful. These programs have made a strong commitment to offer that support along every step of the educational journey. They have a tremendous grasp on what the needs are, and they know how to meet them. The Brown-Forman Foundation is honored to help amplify that response over the next decade,” said Ralph de Chabert, Chairman and President, Brown-Forman Foundation. Watch the video at about the 28:30-minute mark to hear de Chabert’s heartfelt words.

“There are things that people in middle class and upper-class families have access to that poor people simply don’t have access to,” said Louisville Urban League President & CEO Sadiqa Reynolds. “We are going to pay for those things for our students. We are doing intensive tutoring services. It is expensive, it costs about $5,000 per student. It is very much worth it. We are doing reading and math. We are already seeing differences. And we are going to continue that work. This will help us to expand it. We are not doing 50 different things; we are going to use this money for intensive tutoring services. We are going to change outcomes for students in this community.”

“Many Christians wear a bracelet around their wrist with the initials WWJD,” commented Simmons College President Dr. Kevin Cosby. “WWJD in Christian culture means What Would Jesus Do. But when I wear my bracelet from this point on, please know it spells ‘What Would Jack Daniels Do?’”

The 5 Organizations That Will Benefit from this Gift

The Brown-Forman Foundation has identified five partner organizations. You can hear from a member of each organization in the video.

  • AMPED will receive $5 million to expand Out of School Time (OST) program offerings. AMPED will work with community partners aiming to provide support for youth, including social-emotional programming that centers on mentorship and music. 
  • The Louisville Central Community Center will receive $10 million to support its Mini-Versity Child Development Program, which provides health and education equity for families of infants and preschoolers. The funds will create better access to quality early education services, helping children start school with the necessary social, emotional, and academic skills to be successful.
  • The Louisville Urban League’s education programs will receive $5 million to provide opportunities for families that directly address the achievement gap that adversely affects Black and Brown students through critical programming that focuses on increasing access and removing barriers. 
  • Simmons College of Kentucky will receive $10 million to further develop a teacher education program that prepares licensed secondary school teachers and addresses the racial inequities in the local and regional public schools.
  • The West End School will receive $10 million to continue to offer boys an academically rigorous school, complete with wraparound counseling, enrichment, extracurricular activities, and invaluable mentorship. The West End School will also receive $10 million to expand programming to create equitable opportunities for girls with additional details to follow soon. 

“As Brown-Forman has expanded globally, our roots have kept us anchored to Louisville and our west Louisville neighborhood,” said Campbell Brown, Chair, Board of Directors, Brown-Forman Corporation. “These collaborations allow us to support organizations dedicated to creating opportunities and enriching lives through transformational work over the long-term.”

Brown-Forman Corporation established the Brown-Forman Foundation in 2018 to serve the company’s strategic charitable mission and ongoing philanthropic endeavors. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, the Brown-Forman Foundation amplifies Brown-Forman Corporation’s generous culture to deliver transformative community impact, with focus on enhancing arts and cultural living, ensuring essential living standards, and empowering responsible and sustainable living.

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