Partnering with Community

“It started off with just a conversation about philanthropy in Louisville and it turned into us working together to fund a food systems fellowship. It’s turned from a learning partnership to an actual funding partnership that makes a lot of strategic sense for our foundation.”

Ashley Novak Butler, the Executive Director for Lift a Life Novak Family Foundation, runs a small shop locally, just herself and one other staff member. When she wanted to create a Hunger Innovation Fellowship, she knew exactly who to lean on. “I don’t know that we’ve had any other place in the community to partner with for these things,” she says. In 2018, the Hunger Innovation Fellowship was funded to provide social, intellectual, and financial capital to research opportunities for a systemslevel change within Jefferson County, Kentucky’s food ecosystem, which could help elevate and accelerate current efforts to end food insecurity.

That’s just another role the Community Foundation provides: identifying community need and partnering with others to create and build plans to work to address the needs. Ashley is a passionate advocate for folks in need and her foundation supports a wide range of projects. She’s played an instrumental role in initiatives targeting hunger relief, leadership development, early childhood education, juvenile diabetes, and more. She says the Community Foundation always connects her to key partners who ensure her efforts make an impact.

When I was just getting connected in Louisville, the Community Foundation was a great place to start to kind of reach out and say, ‘Hey, I need help with starting this foundation. Can you give me some insight into your grant-making process? Or help me make connections in the community?’ So, I ended up meeting with the President at that time and had a long conversation, which led to a really cool partnership between our two organizations.” She likens the Community Foundation to a powerhouse, one that still inspires her.