Philanthropic organization has $30 million to invest in Clark County

gkocher1@herald-leader.comSeptember 30, 2013 

A philanthropic organization with $30 million to invest in Clark County will officially launch at an event Tuesday night in Winchester.

The Greater Clark Foundation — Ambition for a Vibrant Community is the new name for what previously was known as the Clark Regional Foundation for the Promotion of Health.

The $30 million came from the sale of Clark Regional Medical Center to LifePoint in 2010, said Jen Algire, foundation president and CEO. The foundation is the second-largest legacy foundation in Kentucky.

For some context, The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky launched in 1999 with $45 million, which the state recouped as charitable assets from a merger between Anthem and then-nonprofit Kentucky Blue Cross & Blue Shield. That foundation's mission is to serve the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians across the state.

By comparison, the Greater Clark Foundation was launched with $30 million to serve only the Clark County region, Algire said. "So we've got a pretty significant opportunity," she said.

Grants from the Greater Clark Foundation will focus on civic and economic vitality; educational attainment; and the health, well-being and quality of life in Winchester and Clark County.

"Factors like your socioeconomic status and your level of education are more predictive of your health status than any other factor," Algire said. "We want to raise the average wage in our community because the higher salaries people have, statistics show the healthier they will be. We want to raise the educational attainment level because the better educated you are, the better off you are health-wise."

The foundation's new name will be launched at AmbitionFest, a community conference that will elicit ideas from the public.

The free event begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the new George Rogers Clark High School auditorium, 2745 Boonesboro Road, Winchester.

The foundation does not want to "become an ATM machine for people with special projects," Algire said. "We want to do something that we would not have the opportunity to do otherwise.

"We will fund initiatives that go hand-in-hand with economic development to improve the quality of our place and the quality of the greater Clark County region so that it is more attractive to the kind of employers that we really want in our community."

Those who attend Tuesday night's event will be encouraged to share their answers to the question, "What's your ambition?"

During the past several weeks, Clark County residents have been invited to answer that question as they have seen it on banners, lapel buttons, flags on light poles and a billboard at Maple and Washington streets.

ClarkAmbition.org, a new website, has featured a series of videos of Clark County residents talking about their ambitions for themselves, their families and the community.

"We want to inspire people to think bigger thoughts, create a higher level of expectation for the people of our community so that we can start to make the community a more vibrant place," Algire said.

The foundation already has donated a 3-acre parcel on the former hospital property for an emergency communications center and funded a training series for leaders of local nonprofit and civic organizations.

In addition, the foundation funded the Mobilizing through Planning and Partnerships, or MAPP, study, a community-driven strategic planning process that began in 2011.

The high school auditorium seats 600, and "I'm hoping it's going to be full," Algire said.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @heraldleader.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service