Pathways to Prosper: An Appalachian Fund Story

Having grown up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Nora Redman had a deep adoration for the children and families of Appalachia. A former teacher, she recognized the need for education and wellness within the region, and in 1997, through the Community Foundation of Louisville, she established the Nora Redman Endowment Fund upon bequest. The fund that carries her name has a focus that reflects this background and her commitment to the place where she grew up. 85% of the fund can be spent on projects that provide for the health, education, and welfare of children in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, as selected by her daughter, Barbara Redman, and her grandson Michael Chastkofsky who were named as the fund advisors.

Although Mrs. Redman grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, Barbara and Michael do not live in Kentucky. And until the Community Foundation of Louisville staff stepped in to assist, they had difficulty identifying organizations whose work aligns with the original charitable intent of the fund. However, in partnership with the Community Foundation staff, Barbara and Michael have begun to find projects that resonate with them.

Now through one deserving nonprofit, the Nora Redman Endowment Fund is impacting children’s health, education, and welfare all throughout the Appalachian region of Kentucky. In June 2022, after several weeks of research and outreach, Community Foundation staff connected with the Appalachian Early Childhood Network (AECN), which provides professional development and advocacy efforts that support young children, their families, and the early childhood professionals that serve them. They were invited to submit a proposal for funding, but days later, eastern Kentucky was hit by historic floods.

Collaborating with the Community Foundation, the team at AECN adjusted their proposal to address the urgent needs of their childcare providers. The proposal requested funding to support a lending library on wheels, allowing AECN to deliver high-quality resources from libraries and other educational sources to their childcare providers and children in the region. When Barbara read the proposal, she was thrilled – it reminded her of an old-fashioned Bookmobile – and she decided to fund the project in full.

“Our childcare providers want to give their children the opportunities other communities have, but they are often limited geographically or simply do not have the means to purchase materials. AECN wants to change that,” said Becky Stacy, AECN’s executive director. “This grant from the Nora Redman Endowment Fund will provide the children in our region with access to the same high-quality resources that are readily available in urban areas. We are so grateful for the family’s support.”

Want your generosity to create a lasting impact? Connect with Anne McKune, Vice President of Advancement, Community Foundation of Louisville, at to learn more. And if you would like to support the Appalachian Early Childhood Network, click here to make a donation.