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The Kentucky Derby Festival works each year to provide community service that directly contributes to the cultural, educational, charitable and economic development of the community. To further that mission, the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation was founded in 1998. The Foundation, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charity receives and manages charitable contributions on behalf of the Kentucky Derby Festival Inc., its supporters and the general public.

Mission of KDF Foundation:
Enhance and advance the Kentucky Derby Festival mission through philanthropic support of cultural, educational and charitable activities, primarily but not exclusively associated with the Kentucky Derby Festival.

Current KDF Foundation Projects:

  • Production of the Derby Festival Foundation Pro-Am Golf Tournament with $10,000 in proceeds benefitting The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
  • Awarding $20,000 in savings bonds to top five finishers in the Derby Festival Spelling Bee.
  • The Foundation has also provided more than $500,000 in financial support to groups such as Metro United Way’s Success by 6, Crusade for Children, Derek Anderson Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Research, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Music Theatre Louisville, Police Youth Activities League, St. Anthony’s Community Center, Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, Alzheimer’s Association, Youth Alive, Every1Reads, American Red Cross (tornado relief), Presbyterian Community Center, Plymouth Community Renewal Center and various Kentucky schools.
  • The KDF Foundation established a Charity Module committee to help oversee the efforts of the 30 charitable organizations that utilized the 2016 Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon to raise money for their groups through pledges secured by runners. More than $217,000 was raised for these charities in 2016 alone, with over $2,000,000 million having been raised since the program was started in 2007.
  • Production of the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation Student Art Contest presented by the Fillies, Inc..  This is a competition for all Kentucky schoolchildren to have their artistic skills evaluated by independent judges, with the winning pieces being placed on display throughout Louisville.
  • Production of the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation Academic Challenge presented by Sullivan University.  This event represents a great opportunity for students from all over the county to test their acumen by answering questions pertaining to math, science, social studies, language arts and humanities. The competition features teams from local elementary schools and a total of 200 students.