Life-long learning

Welcome to our first edition of Point of View, a monthly viewpoint shared from Community Foundation of Louisville staff, board, and partners.  As we lead in building a community where people and place thrive, we have an incredible opportunity to share with you our personal perspectives of creating lasting impact.


The Community Foundation of Louisville was founded in 1984 with just about a million dollars and a strong group of community leaders behind us. They were following in the footsteps of Fred Goff, who in 1914 founded the Cleveland Foundation (one of the nation’s largest) based on the idea that people could link arms and pool their philanthropy to do more good than they ever thought possible.

Well, that idea has taken off in Louisville where in 35 years we have grown to $550 million in assets. Our combined grantmaking during this time is $900 million. Amazing! While we may be the largest charitable foundation in the Commonwealth, we are simply one of many in the broad sphere of community philanthropy. There are more than 800 community foundations across the country and across the globe there are nearly 2000 community foundations.

We are active members of the Council on Foundations, our national association of foundations, based in Washington, D.C. Just a few weeks ago, I had the chance to attend our national conference. I attended this conference because I firmly believe that our organization must consider itself a life-long learner. If we think we have it covered, we should just turn out the lights and call it a night.

For the Community Foundation of Louisville, we have so much to learn from colleague foundations and partners throughout the country and around the world.  At this conference, we heard from leading national and international foundations and our partner NGO’s about issues related to climate change, disaster relief, diversity, equity, inclusion, and economic prosperity for everyone in community. Leading Together was all about bridging divides within our communities and within our sector.

I was joined by several staff members and a board member for this conference. It was a wonderful opportunity for our team to engage more deeply with colleagues and learn from one another.  My takeaway: Every organization and individual must evolve and learn so that we continue to remain relevant and significant in serving community.

Susan Barry, President & CEO