After a year of research and assessment, the Marilyn and William Young Foundation revealed its intent to change the grant awarding process and branding of the organization and a new five-year strategic plan at a reception Monday.
According to its website, the foundation was established in 1998 after the deaths of Bill and Marilyn Field Young in order to honor the couple’s passion for philanthropy. The private foundation formed a board of trustees, which awarded its first grants in 1999. Funds are directed toward charitable programs and projects of nonprofit organizations primarily located in Owensboro.
For the last year, the foundation’s board has taken community leader and board member interviews, regional data and trends to revamp the organization.
With a new website that went live Monday, the foundation plans to become more well-known in the community for the work it does that was previously described as “under the radar.”
Sara Hemingway, executive director of the Marilyn and William Young Foundation, said that it is not about the foundation, but it is about highlighting the grantees, something that was at odds with the private yet philanthropic lifestyle of the Youngs.
“The Marilyn and William Young Charitable Foundation serves as a continuum of the giving that this generous couple began during their lifetime, giving to needs, large and small, in discreet ways that did not demand recognition,” according to the website.
With a restructured mission, guiding principles and grants focused on significant community issues, along with a rebranding of the foundation’s logo, the Young Foundation envisions “a vibrant, progressive community where everyone belongs and everyone thrives.”
Guided by the principles of excellence, partnerships, accountability and integrity, the newly-formed board of nine is looking to take the foundation to the next level through grants that focus on “significant issues, build community and deliver results.”
Hemingway said the foundation is looking for ways to elevate public and private leaders in Owensboro through a leadership program to develop a new sector of leaders.
“It’s like a Leadership 2.0,” Hemingway said.
One of the ways the foundation is hoping to elevate leaders is through Engage Owensboro, a partnership with the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce that will connect individuals with nonprofit organizations beginning this fall.
The foundation is also focused on sustaining the arts experiences in Owensboro and Daviess County, something that key stakeholders said are “a valuable economic asset to be protected.”
The third focus of grant making is family support systems, which helps low-income, undereducated populations utilize educational opportunities to become self-sufficient and stable.
“They’re the ones doing the hard work,” Hemingway said of this focus area.
The three priority focuses align with the private foundation’s original 1999 mission, but the community has evolved and the board of directors has as well.
Through the creation of a new logo and a new website, the foundation hopes to have an active social media presence to highlight grant recipients and provide information for grant application.
Previously, the grant application process was fluid, meaning at anytime, an organization could apply for a grant. The board has decided to allocate grants quarterly with deadlines with objective criteria for assessing requirements.
The first grant deadline is Sept. 30. For more information or to apply for a grant, visit the application process page.