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ISSUE 6 / 2018


A Publication of the Community Foundation of Louisville


Helping individuals and families advance

Recognizing Redlining

CFL Impact Capital

Who Inspires Us

Perspectives: Susan’s Musings

Photo by Chris Witzke

What should drive our decisions? Is there a moral or ethical compass we should follow? Is there something to be said for letting data and detail lead the way in the decision-making process? What if it were both? This particular issue of our magazine firmly plants itself in the middle of a community conversation about poverty across multiple dimensions, such as income, housing, health and education. It is near and dear to my heart for two reasons – it aligns with my moral compass, and the data surrounding poverty in our community drove our foundation’s decision to focus intentionally on those who need us most. Multidimensional poverty begs for query and conversation. Engaging with and bringing people along with us on these “bigger than me” topics is a major part of why the Community Foundation has been supporting the Greater Louisville Project for 14 years. Launched in 2003 when a consortium of funders commissioned the Brookings Institution to issue a report, “Beyond Merger,” the

Greater Louisville Project has been incredibly laser-focused on measuring our success to assure we are competitive against peer cities. They look at the data and issue reports that, over the years, have become a catalyst for civic dialogue and action. The latest two reports focused on poverty laid bare the complexity of this issue. Based on this data, as well as the “redlined” maps clearly showing the most distressed areas of our city (see article on Page 8), the Community Foundation of Louisville chose to direct our Fund for Louisville grantmaking toward those nonprofits working in the most distressed ZIP codes in our city. In short, we chose to focus on where we see the greatest need. As we learned, it is not simply about adding money to the pot (though money is part of the solution) but taking a look at poverty as a complex set of circumstances. Where you live matters, what you eat matters. The air you breathe matters, your health matters, your educational attainment, your job skills, and indeed, how much you earn matters. We used the data to consider the kinds of interventions we might deploy to be a more compassionate, livable, and yes, competitive city, one where people want to live, work and contribute.” It goes without saying that there are too many of us struggling in our community. Louisville must do better. We hope this issue intrigues and inspires you to join us and others to create a community where all people and places can thrive. SUSAN A. BARRY, JD President & CEO Community Foundation of Louisville

EDITOR Cara Baribeau


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Liz Alkire Emily Gahafer Sarah Kelley Anne Marshall Anne McKune Caroline Meena

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS William DeShazer Emily Gahafer Chris Witzke


DESIGN Joe Weber, Bisig Impact Group

PUBLISHER Community Foundation of Louisville

ForGood is a publication of the Community Foundation of Louisville. At the Community Foundation, we are a force for good and invite others to engage in creating a community where people and place thrive. We are committed to promoting the understanding and participation in philanthropy in all of its different shapes and forms. This publication is an expression of that commitment that we hope helps to inform, inspire and create a community of thoughtful citizens dedicated to improving the world around them. Visit to learn more.

Contents / feature

ISSUE 6 / 2018


MOVING BEYOND POVERTY: Helping individuals and families advance.

P. 12 ON THE COVER Ben Reno-Weber, Kelsie Smithson and Nate Kratzer of the Greater Louisville Project team who worked on the Focus on Poverty report.

PHOTOGRAPHY William DeShazer

P. 3

CFL IMPACT CAPITAL Affecting change and improving lives, one loan at a time.

Photo by William DeShazer


P. 8

RECOGNIZING REDLINING Louisville neighborhoods still reflect redlining practices from the 1930s.

P. 16

WHO INSPIRES US Making sure everyone has a seat at The Table.

Photo by William DeShazer



worth knowing

A job can mean many things: a paycheck, a connection to the broader community, a chance to learn and apply new skills and a sense of collective purpose. But for many, a job is out of reach. Lack of skills or connections and lack of reliable transportation can be barriers, but so is lack of confidence, interview skills and appropriate attire. The Brookings Institution cites a host of studies that connect joblessness to increased risk of family destabilization, suicide, alcohol abuse and disease, as well as reduced lifespan. We are proud to highlight the work of just three of the many nonprofits committed to helping people prepare for, find and keep a job or start a small business. Dress for Success Dress for Success Louisville (DFSL) empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. In 2016, 95 percent of


its clients lived below poverty level and 48 percent were single mothers. Many are fighting hard to escape a past challenged by homelessness, domestic violence, incarceration or chronic unemployment. DFSL offers career counseling, writing assistance for resumes and cover letters, professional attire for interviews and employment, one-on-one mentorship and training in computer skills and personal finance management. Jewish Family & Career Services Jewish Family & Career Services serves the entire community with a mission to strengthen individuals, family, career and community life, and enhance self-sufficiency. Its career and enterprise services help individuals at all socioeconomic levels attain their maximum potential. Through one-on-one coaching and group activities that help individuals identify their strengths and interests, coaches help clients set a career pathway or business goals, and identify and maintain motivation to pursue next steps, which can include

enrolling in college or vocational training programs, applying for jobs or starting or growing a small business. Zoom Group Because people with disabilities have high rates of unemployment, Zoom Group is committed to empowering, educating and employing people of all abilities. Each year, it supports about 250 people through programming that teaches daily living skills and provides opportunities for volunteering, self-advocacy, entrepreneurship and money management. Through its StudioWorks program, participants create art and receive an 80 percent commission for all sold work. Other participants benefit from Zoom Group’s pre-vocational training in partnership with local businesses, including UPS, Kroger, Cinemark Theaters and others. Learn more at, and

Study after study cites the powerful link between low socioeconomic status and a higher incidence of illness, injury and death. In fact, poverty has been shown to be both a cause and a result of poor health. These local nonprofits are working to address the mental and physical health needs of some of Louisville’s most vulnerable populations. Your small, unrestricted gifts can go a long way to providing vital support to some of the area’s most disadvantaged families. Bridgehaven provides the highest quality communitybased psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery services, education and support to those touched by mental illness.


$100 to Bridgehaven will pay for six individual sessions with a Certified Peer Support Specialist. Peer Specialists, people with mental illness who are in recovery, use their lived experience to inspire, motivate, generate hope and show others the way to recovery.

ElderServe empowers older adults to live independently with dignity. ElderServe envisions a compassionate community with plentiful resources to support the independence of aging adults. $200 to ElderServe provides four months of daily exercise activities, health screenings and education opportunities for low-income seniors at ElderServe’s community center in the Russell neighborhood.

Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center seeks to improve the overall health of the community through a comprehensive array of services that address the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of the residents of the Shawnee neighborhood. $300 to Shawnee Christian Health Care provides new toothbrushes and toothpaste for 300 elementary school students at Maupin Elementary School’s school-based health clinic.

Learn more at, and


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It’s possible through impact investing, and the Community Foundation of Louisville is a leader among peer organizations in utilizing this philanthropic tool. Through its CFL Impact Capital program, the Community Foundation of Louisville facilitates investments that result in positive social change. But unlike a grant, an impact investment is a loan, meaning the capital can be redeployed once the loan has been repaid. “Impact investments are a powerful complement to grant funding. When a grant is given, the investment is complete,” explains Trisha Finnegan, Vice President of Mission & Impact for the Community Foundation. “While the good it creates will live on, there is no opportunity to do more with those funds.” The other main difference is that impact investing can support both nonprofit and for-profit partners — as long as the organization and project positively impact the community. The Community Foundation has distributed more than $780 million in grants since 1984; impact investing is simply “a way to make even more possible” when it comes to community investment, Finnegan says. Here’s how it works: A potential investment undergoes a social review to ensure it meets at least one of the program’s social objectives,


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such as neighborhood revitalization, creating jobs or leveraging funding from other investors. If the social review committee determines the project offers significant social benefit, a financial review committee performs a credit risk review, similar in many ways to that of a traditional lender. Once that hurdle is cleared, a third committee that considers both social and financial elements votes to approve or decline the loan. Donors can participate in the loan with a minimum of $10,000 either contributed directly to the Foundation or withdrawn from the donor’s existing fund at the Foundation. Over the term of the loan, these donor “co-investors” receive quarterly updates on the social impact of the loan. Once a loan is repaid, a donor can choose to participate in another impact investment or use the returned proceeds to make grants in the community. “Importantly, donors get to be part of a high-impact project that might otherwise be out of their reach,” Finnegan says. “In the end, their contribution can be recycled and used for another charitable purpose, which is particularly appealing.” There are nearly 800 community foundations nationwide, according to the Council on Foundations, and the Community Foundation of Louisville is one of only around three dozen utilizing impact

investments. “We have created tremendous impact with the amount of money we’ve invested,” Finnegan says “and there’s still much more on the horizon.”

SINCE 2013, THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF LOUISVILLE HAS LOANED $1.4 MILLION TO SEVEN PROJECTS – JFCS’ Navigate Enterprise Center, Community Ventures’ Chef Space, Housing Partnership Inc.’s Beyond 9th Initiative, New Directions Housing Corp.’s St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education, Portland Investment Initiative, River City Housing and Volunteers of America Mid-States’ Freedom House. These loans have helped support job creation, affordable housing, educational opportunities, community revitalization and more — improving the community as a whole and transforming individual lives. The profiles on the following pages provide a glimpse of some of the dreams that have become a reality as a result of these loans.




‘A blessing and an achievement’

‘It just felt right’

The ranch-style, red brick house had sat vacant since going into foreclosure in August 2016. It was a solid structure but in need of extensive rehab. Those renovations became a reality thanks to River City Housing, allowing Brandy White, 31, to move her family into their home – just in time for the holidays. “It was the best Christmas gift,” says White, whose Realtor connected her with River City Housing, a nonprofit that acquires and renovates vacant or foreclosed houses to be purchased by low-income families. For the past seven years, White has worked full-time at a hotel near the airport. She started as a front desk clerk and worked her way up to assistant general manager. “Hopefully in the next six months to a year, I’ll be working as a general manager at a hotel,” says the first-time homebuyer and mother of three. The family has scrimped to make purchasing a home possible, meaning fewer restaurant meals and vacations. Earlier this year, White moved out of an apartment and into her mother’s home to save even more money. Buying a house is “a blessing and an achievement,” says White, who beams when describing her newly renovated home. It features a bedroom for each child,

a finished basement “for movie nights and games,” and the highlight: an open-concept kitchen and living room, which will enable White to spend time with her kids while cooking. “I’m a very hands-on mom, and my kids are my world,” she says. As for her children — daughter Shayla, 13, and sons Darius, 10, and Matthew, 2 — they are most looking forward to picking paint colors for their bedrooms. River City began remodeling the home after White made an offer and was approved for the program. The nonprofit does both aesthetic and structural improvements that make the homes both highly energy efficient and affordable over the long term. With both routine and unexpected maintenance costs posing significant challenges to moderate-income homeowners, River City’s work is increasing long-term stability for families. The Community Foundation extended a $200,000 loan to River City to acquire and rehab seven southwest Louisville homes, including the one White moved into off Rockford Lane. “River City has been totally awesome during this process,” she says. “I’m just so grateful.”

Amanda Zilka was 18 years old when she took her first drink. By age 20, her drinking was unmanageable. “It just escalated from there,” she says. Zilka began moving around a lot — from Kentucky to New York to North Carolina — but her alcoholism only worsened. “I started trying to change my life and started going to church and trying to do the next right thing, but I was still drinking.” Soon she was drinking alone every day. Her alcoholism came to a head when she tried to pick up her son, Jaxon, from day care while intoxicated. “The next day, I checked myself into rehab because I didn’t want to lose my child,” Zilka says. “If I lost him, then I was going to lose everything, and I needed to stop.” After going through an eightmonth rehabilitation program at The Healing Place, Zilka is now 18 months sober and beyond grateful. She has an apartment, and her son is enrolled in preschool at the St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education. Located in West Louisville’s California neighborhood, St. Benedict — in partnership with New Directions Housing Corp.

— recently expanded thanks to a $100,000 impact investment from the Community Foundation. “When I took the tour at St. Benedict, I almost cried. It just felt right,” says Zilka. A typical day for 4-year-old Jaxon involves tracing letters and numbers, learning to spell, singing songs and even doing homework, which he loves. But perhaps more important than academics is that Jaxon feels at home after a tumultuous period. “His relationship with everyone at St. Benedict is amazing. It’s kind of like family.” Zilka also counts her one-bedroom apartment as a blessing that’s changed her life. When she left rehab, Zilka assumed a halfway house was her next stop. But the nonprofit New Directions set her up with an affordable apartment, without which she would not be able to have custody of her son. Zilka is searching for a parttime job, and soon she will start a class to learn computer coding through the grant-funded Code Louisville program. “I am so, so blessed right now,” she says. “To have Jaxon, to have him in an amazing school, to have a roof over my head — it’s really incredible.”

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SARAH ALLGEIER ‘A dream come true’

Sarah Allgeier had spent nearly a decade working in the health insurance industry when she decided to go back to college and finish her degree. “I originally planned to get a degree in hospital administration,” she says. “I went for maybe a semester and thought, this is crazy. I was just doing it because I had always been in the health insurance industry. Then it struck me: I’m going to do what I want to do.” In 2013, Allgeier graduated from Jefferson Community and Technical College with a culinary degree. Allgeier was considering launching her own food truck when she met Johnetta Roberts, then Vice President of Community Ventures Corp., a nonprofit focused on neighborhood revitalization and community development. The organization had plans to open a commissary kitchen and smallbusiness incubator in the Russell neighborhood, and Roberts encouraged Allgeier to stay in touch as plans progressed. When Chef Space opened in 2015, thanks in part to a $200,000 loan from the Community Foundation, Allgeier became one of its first members,


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launching a baked goods business called DelectaBites. Chef Space provided all the necessary equipment in a licensed kitchen, along with training opportunities and camaraderie among fellow entrepreneurs. By October 2016, Allgeier had generated enough business that she was able to move out of the kitchen and into her own shop in Okolona. “Before this, I just had a job. I didn’t hate it, but it was just something I did to make money,” she says. “This is something I really enjoy. It’s my passion.” It’s a passion that blossomed during childhood, when she would spend summers with her grandmother, an avid baker. During the school year, Allgeier and her sister were tasked with preparing dinner because their mom worked late — cookies were often on the menu. At DelectaBites, Allgeier bakes an array of breads and sweet treats in small batches. The most popular items, she says, are her carrot cake and “cake bites.” “It’s a true neighborhood bakery. I know my customers, and they know me,” she says. “It really is a dream come true, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without Chef Space.”

LOPA MEHROTRA / A donor’s perspective ‘A head-meets-heart investment’ In the world of finance, the success of an investment is assessed primarily by the monetary gains it generates for the investor. Not so in the world of impact investing, explains Lopa Mehrotra, a seasoned nonprofit executive, philanthropist and social entrepreneur. “Impact investing is an incredible new tool in the toolbox for philanthropists who want to see capital make a significant difference in their community,” says Mehrotra. With the help of donors like Mehrotra and her husband, Rishabh, the Community Foundation loaned $200,000 to the nonprofit Community Ventures, which used the money to renovate and repurpose a shuttered cafeteria in West Louisville. The result: Chef Space, a commercial kitchen shared by budding food industry entrepreneurs, like Sarah Allgeier. “We are looking more closely at the amount of social impact being created than at the level of return,” she says. “For us, it’s sort of a head-meets-heart investment opportunity.” The Community Foundation

reached out to the Mehrotras to gauge their interest in the Chef Space loan given their past experiences with entrepreneurship and impact investing. The Mehrotra’s passion for food was an added bonus. Mehrotra’s impressive career includes founding TestToob, a video network for science education, and leading the nonprofit Grameen Australia, which provides microloans to entrepreneurs living in extreme poverty. After a five-year stint in Australia, Mehrotra recently returned to Louisville with her husband — a health and technology entrepreneur — and their two daughters. Mehrotra applauds the Community Foundation for embracing this innovative way to deploy charitable capital, and as a donor participant, she especially values the due diligence the Foundation performs. “When this opportunity is completed and the loan is paid back, we’ll definitely be looking for another opportunity like this to invest in the community,” she says. “For us as a funder, it allows us to recycle the principal into more and more social change.”

CFL Impact Capital has an additional $1 million to add to the current portfolio, further extending support for job creation, community revitalization and much more. Interested in learning how you can join us as we grow our investment in community? Visit

We love the city of Louisville, and it is our privilege to work with so many people who love the city as much as we do. We cityaofplace, Louisville, and it is our work with soWe many people who love theWe cityplant as much we do. It’slove morethe than it’s our home. Weprivilege meet newtofriends here. start our families here. rootsashere. We It’swant moretothan place, it’s ourContact home. We meet new friends here. of WeLouisville, start our your families here. We plant roots here. We see a our city thrive. the Community Foundation trusted resource in philanthropy, to learn want to about see our cityyou thrive. the for Community Foundation of Louisville, trusted resource in philanthropy, to learn more how canContact be a force good with your charitable giving.your 502.585.4649 more about how you can be a force for good with your charitable giving. 502.585.4649


Home Owners Loan Corp. (HOLC) residential security maps, now known as “redlining” maps for the blush-red tone given to neighborhoods that received a “D” grade. Use the QR code to visit the interactive version of the maps.

LOUISVILLE’S NEIGHBORHOODS STILL REFLECT REDLINING PRACTICES FROM THE 1930S IN LOUISVILLE, the eastwest divide endures. It is so familiar and persistent that one might shrug it off as just another boundary located at 9th Street, similar to a railroad track or river. Trace its origins, though, and the divide most certainly stems from redlining, a 1930s practice of denying loans in certain areas based heavily on socioeconomic and racial makeup, rather than physical or structural characteristics. It happened across the country in hundreds of cities, big and small, steering investment out of predominantly black neighborhoods. In a speech this past July, Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, spoke

to redlining’s legacy. “This country and this city operates exactly as it was designed to,” she said. “The people who were intended to be oppressed are and have been. If you look at the redlining map and overlay it with the most povertystricken areas, you’ll see that . . . there’s an impact.” Thanks to a curious, determined activist and former urban planner named Joshua Poe, a series of interactive maps detail redlining’s legacy. Last year Poe, with the help of Metro Louisville’s Office of Redevelopment Strategies, released a project titled, “Redlining in Louisville: The History of Race, Class and Real Estate.” It illustrates how many neighborhoods that were targeted for disinvestment

still shoulder poverty, low property values and a greater percentage of mortgage denials than other parts of Jefferson County. Just take the Russell neighborhood, a place described in the redlining documents as “one of the worst areas of the city” with “low type property and inhabitants.” Today, Russell has a median household income of about $15,000. Sixty percent of neighborhood households rely on food stamps, and only 17 percent of residents are homeowners. Compare that with the Cherokee Park area, which received a top grade, largely due to its subdivisions being “well-restricted” (meaning deeds outlawed African Americans from moving in.) Today, the area’s median household income is $46,000. More than half of residents are homeowners, and unemployment sits at only 5 percent.



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THE ORIGINS OF REDLINING Redlining is in no way the only discriminatory practice in America’s history. For example, Poe’s report points out that for many African Americans, their first “residence” in Louisville were slave pens at 2nd and Main streets. Still, redlining created enduring scars. In 1933, the Home Owner’s Loan Corp. (HOLC) was created to make home ownership more widely available to Americans during the Great Depression. HOLC hired local real estate experts to create “residential security maps” assessing risk. Those maps that date back to 1938 are now called “redlining” maps, largely due to the blush-red tone of the neighborhoods that received a “D” grade, the lowest possible. The system ranked and color-coded neighborhoods on a four-tier scale — “A” through “D.” The lowest quality areas were almost always predominantly African American neighborhoods. Banks channeled mortgages away from these red zones, making homeownership difficult. Private and public credit institutions, including the Federal Housing Administration, used HOLC’s discriminatory system. Without access to FHA-insured mortgages, black families sometimes turned to predatory lenders. A generous swath of green and blue, “A” and “B” neighborhoods, respectively — present day St. Matthews, Indian Hills and the Highlands — were deemed as “hot spots,” full of good housing stock, free of black or Jewish populations (“homogenous”) and not likely to be infiltrated by such populations. (Top-ranked neighborhoods aren’t exclusively out east. A pocket of blue neighbors Shawnee Park, but that area was exclusively white at the time.) Poe points out that in HOLC’s documents, a neighborhood’s deed restrictions prohibiting the sales of property to blacks were given


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great weight. “These restrictions were mentioned in the assessments more than physical (characteristics) such as the topography or quality of structures,” Poe explains in his report. In yellow-shaded, C-graded Clifton, there’s a concern of “infiltration . . . of a lower-income group gradually moving in.” Surveyors found no value in one class or race mixing with another. One exception: domestic workers. In the area of the Highlands near Douglass Loop, the surveyors wrote that there are “10 negro families, all closely grouped and no probability of further negro infiltration.” Red clusters include Shelby Park, Smoketown, Russell and Portland. A sliver of yellow exists in red Russell. It’s right along Chestnut Street where a black middle class thrived. It’s the only predominantly black area that received anything but a D-grade. Surveyors touted its proximity to schools and churches. Poe uses 2010 census data (the latest available at the time of his research) to show how redlined neighborhoods stack up now. Russell, Portland and Smoketown all have poverty rates above 40 percent. Areas around Shawnee and

Chickasaw Park that were graded better have lower rates of poverty. Vacant and abandoned homes plague the redlined areas in greater numbers. Poe also looked at mortgage denials between 2011 and 2013 and found that 41 to 75 percent of mortgage applications were denied in certain areas of Russell and Portland. Smoketown and Shelby Park had a mortgage denial rate of 21 to 31 percent. Out east — Indian Hills, the Highlands, St. Matthews — the rate was 10 to 20 percent.

A LEGACY OF DISCRIMINATION Jeana Dunlap, director of the Office of Redevelopment Strategies, has held several community events presenting the redlining maps to citizens, students and bankers. The reaction is often shock. Once that shakes, Dunlap hopes for reflection. “From a community standpoint, Louisville remains one of the most segregated cities in America. As much as I love this city, we simply cannot wholeheartedly make claims of our brilliance if we still have huge gaps in equity and resources in the city,” she says. “We can’t allow a whole section of our community, some 65,000 people, to go without

West Louisville homes circa 1937. Photo credit: ULPA P_02312, R. G. Potter Collection, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.

the basic assets and resources that the balance of our city enjoys. It sounds trivial, but people in West Louisville drink coffee. And yet there’s not a Starbucks in a part of the city nearly equal the size of Owensboro, Ky.” Carol Ray Bottoms grew up in West Louisville and lived around the Chickasaw area for 40 years, before moving to Southern Indiana. For her, redlining is deeply personal, having come from a line of Realtors and businessmen. “I used to fill out the contracts — that was my job — and I remember a family, they both were teachers and only had one child, and I remember doing a letter that said they would not have any more children if they could secure a loan,” she says. She typed up a letter promising the couple would comply. Her dad scribbled a doctor’s name on it. While redlining made it more difficult to secure FHA-backed loans, Bottoms recalls black families finding another path to homeownership. Mammoth Insurance Co. and Domestic Life and Accident Insurance Co., both black-owned businesses on the lively Walnut Street (then dubbed “Louisville’s Harlem” and now Muhammad Ali Boulevard) provided home insurance. “They (also) held a lot of loans for people’s houses,” Bottoms says. Officially, redlining ended in 1951. But several years later, Louisville, along with many other cities, would participate in urban renewal. On Walnut Street, the beloved strip of movie theaters, nightclubs, shops and banks, was torn down. In the early ’60s, as thousands of whites fled West Louisville for suburbs in the east and south, Realtors often pressured white families to move if just one black family moved in, convincing whites their property values would go down. Bottoms remembers it well. “Block busting, we called it,” she says.

Carol Ray Bottoms reflects on her family’s history growing up in the Chickasaw neighborhood.

Housing discrimination remains. Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against a Minnesota bank that allegedly avoided serving individuals seeking mortgage loans in minority-heavy census tracts. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development settled with the largest bank in Wisconsin over claims it discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers throughout the Midwest. And data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act shows that in 2014, in Jefferson County, 29 percent of African Americans who applied for a mortgage were denied versus 18 percent of white applicants. According to a recent CityLab article, African American

homeownership rate is at its lowest level since the 1960s. Bottoms has witnessed the many hits West Louisville has taken over the decades. Employers like Phillip Morris left. All the corner shops, grocery stores and restaurants that add density and life to a neighborhood shuttered. Absentee landlords replaced homeowners. Bottoms says streets she grew up on, played and giggled in, now make her nervous. Sometimes she even locks her car doors when driving through. “That’s what hurts me more than anything,” she says. Redlining isn’t solely to blame, but it certainly triggered an era of disinvestment that continues today.

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n a blustery day in front of Rangeland Elementary in Newburg, branches quiver at the touch of a cool breeze, loosening rusty-colored leaves. A mother walks with her 9-year-old son. Before they part at the school doors, he says, “Mom, I miss our old house. We have lots of good memories there.” The mother, Amie (who asks that her last name be withheld for privacy), wills her brown eyes to push back tears. She doesn’t want to upset him. She’s trying so desperately to keep life clicking along for her son, the baby, the youngest of her four boys. She’s tells her son that crashing at a friend’s house is like “an extralong sleepover.” She still makes sure he is at the kitchen table doing homework after school. And on Tuesdays, they watch their favorite television show, “The Flash.” But, honestly, nothing is normal. Amie, a 41-year-old who recently acquired an associate’s degree in health administration, is homeless. Her housing troubles started with a “slum lord,” she says. He refused to address mold and other issues. There were legal battles that kept her busy with court appearances. Those court proceedings had her missing a lot of work, and as a result, she was fired from her job as the office manager in a doctor’s office. She’s had trouble finding a landlord who will take her Section 8 voucher. Her income is so low — just over $750 per month in disability — they don’t feel she’s a reliable tenant. On top of all this, after losing her job, she had to reapply for food stamps, a process that’s taken over a month. In theory, there is a network of nonprofits and churches in Louisville to support her. But without a car, Amie can’t just run to a food pantry. She called one nearby church that told her that they were out of funding and to





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call back on the first of the month. Others have just referred her elsewhere when they hear she’s in Newburg because it’s outside their service area. “People don’t realize how resources are limited,” says Amie. “I don’t understand why people can’t cross lines.” It’s like she’s on the radar of those who can help, but she’s drifting along with no clear path ahead. Amie’s situation is not unique. One out of five children in Louisville live in poverty, roughly 38,000. In its latest Competitive City report, the Greater Louisville Project (GLP)— a project for which the Community Foundation of Louisville is a co-founder and sustaining funder — explores the many barriers poor families face, including health problems, a lack of readiness for kindergarten and employment that doesn’t pay well enough to accrue savings. Bringing those 38,000 kids out of poverty would lead to an additional $9,300 per person in annual income when they become adults. On a broader scale, lifting those children closer to the middle class would unleash $200 million in economic activity in Louisville. “The moment of urgency is that we are realizing we are paying a lot in health care and crime and we are losing a lot in economic opportunity,” says Ben Reno-Weber, project director at GLP. “It’s not that we need new resources; it’s that we need to better connect the ones we have.”

1990, these centers have worked to eliminate barriers to learning. “If a child can’t eat, they’re not going to function well in school,” says Milessa Barnes, coordinator of Rangeland’s FRYSC. Rangeland has a 96 percent free and reduced lunch rate. Barnes loads backpacks with food for Amie and other families every Friday, gently placing them next to students’ desks before school lets out. Without that, some kids might go without food over the weekend. The center also provides clothing, free counseling and therapy, and dental, hearing and vision care. Removing those needs can, hopefully, allow students to focus on learning. For many children in poverty, educational struggles persist. While 43 percent of children on free and reduced lunch are kindergarten ready, 71 percent of their wealthier peers come into kindergarten with the essential skills. Eighteen percent of children in poverty don’t have anyone at home who has completed high school. In Louisville, the gap between college and career readiness levels of students who are on free and reduced lunches and

Milessa Barnes with the Rangeland Elementary Family Resource and Youth Service Center.

those who are not is 25 percentage points. Barnes says she always tries to assess the whole family, taking a “wrap-around service” sort of approach. Lately she’s seen a lot of homelessness — families shuffling from hotels to friends’ couches. Many parents may be working, but

SCHOOL RESOURCE CENTERS FILL SOME GAPS In the course of hopping from place to place, Amie’s lost many of her belongings, including clothing. Without the money to buy her son a winter coat, she turned to Rangeland Elementary. It’s one of 130 Jefferson County Public Schools with a Family Resource and Youth Service Center (FRYSC). Since

Ben Reno-Weber, Kelsie Smithson and Nate Kratzer of the Greater Louisville Project team who worked on the Focus on Poverty report.

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Top: Beth Robinson-Kenney of Doctors & Lawyers for Kids meets with her client. Bottom: Yashawa Walker with two of her sons, Jamaetrion Houston and Brandon Lane Jr., at her residence at Family Scholar House.

due to an eviction, addiction or health crisis, they find themselves slipping backward — falling behind on bills, relying on overpriced corner stores for a meal and toiletries because they lack a car


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to get to a decent grocery store. Stress and worry mount quickly. “Sometimes I feel like I’m failing as a mother,” Amie says through tears one morning after she drops off her son at school.

Doctors & Lawyers for Kids is another nonprofit working to halt the spiral. Located in all the University of Louisville pediatric clinics as well as a few Family Health Centers, the model involves training health professionals to spot issues that affect the health of their patients, issues that a lawyer posted right down the hall can jump on for free. Eviction is a big one. So are custody cases. Martha Hasselbacher, founding director and volunteer president of the organization, says the opioid epidemic has increased the number of grandparents caring for children. “If they don’t have some kind of legal guardianship, they can’t get a Medicaid card or change their school,” Hasselbacher explains. In one instance, Doctors & Lawyers for Kids was able to help a Louisville family with a severely ill 5-year-old girl. Her father had lost his job due to criminal activity. He was under home incarceration and was not following doctor’s recommendations for his daughter. The mother assumed care for the girl’s complex medical issues and subsequently lost her job. The family was about to be evicted. The agency worked to get the mother sole legal custody and kept her in her home. Hasselbacher wishes the organization could operate in many more clinics, “but we have limited resources,” she says. Many organizations echo that sentiment. They can’t do everything for everybody. It’s why the Metro United Way is actively researching ways to ensure that when a person presents needs at one location, a web of support surfaces across the community. In Louisville, 72 percent of children growing up in poverty live in households where at least one person is employed but does not earn enough to take steps

out of poverty. Instead, life is more about survival.

CASTING A SAFETY NET FOR SINGLE PARENTS “You all know tutoring is at four, right?” Yashawa Walker says as she walks into her 3-bedroom apartment at the Family Scholar House. “Yes, ma’am,” one of her teenage sons replies. Walker, a tall, energetic 36-yearold mother of three boys, arrived at the Family Scholar House two years ago. After she split with the father of her sons, they stayed with him. She became homeless. Originally from Louisiana, she had no family to live with. As a student at University of Louisville studying to become a psychiatric nurse, she had no job, no income. There were nights in her car and in hotel rooms. “It was hard but at the same time, to me, it was motivation to keep going,” she says. The Family Scholar House works to empower families by providing housing, childcare and whatever else single parents need to complete a college degree. Since 2008, Family Scholar House participants have earned 371 degrees.

Walker covers her apartment with motivational quotes on Post-It notes — “Be productive every day, even when it’s the hardest thing to do” is the message on her full-length mirror. Positive attitude helps, but without support, lifting herself out of poverty would have been nearly impossible. After her split, she thought she’d have to give up on her college goals and go back to retail work, a job that was limiting — financially and mentally. Could she afford a decent place in a safe neighborhood? Maybe. At Family Scholar House, she has a gated complex that’s safe for her boys while she works overnight as a nursing aide. Her boys have tutoring on site, and she has people there that she trusts. She knows if she needs to cry or vent, there’s an office with a door that closes and a friendly shoulder to lean on. Cathe Dykstra, the “chief possibility officer” at Family Scholar House, is proud of how much her organization has expanded. Now with five sites, it has assisted more than 3,000 families. Still, Dykstra knows the community could benefit from broader safety nets. She has a wait list of nearly 850 people she

can’t help. Dykstra doesn’t have a social work background. She’s an economics major. Human dignity aside, for her, elevating families couldn’t make more logical sense. “If you look at what we normally do for families who can’t make it, we normally give them enough to get through today and that’s important,” she says. “But when we are able to get them to be contributing members of the community we’re all better off. The savings is about $69,000 per year (in state and federal dollars) for a mother with two kids who graduates and becomes self-sufficient. We should all want that.” As shown by the Greater Louisville Project’s data, there’s a strong moral case as well as a clear economic case to reduce poverty in our community. May we continue to join together, align resources and increase collaboration to shift the daily realities of poverty that affect many of our neighbors. To learn more visit,, and

The Louisville Urban League’s fivepronged approach to helping the community involves programming in jobs, justice, education, health and housing. It provides 12,000 individuals with everything from homeownership support to financial aid courses for college-bound teens to an after-school “Street Academy” to assist young boys both academically and socially. The League’s outcomes are measured at over $30 million in new wages, housing investment and other achievements. “I don’t want to live in a community with people who have no hope for a second chance,” says Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League.

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inspires us




riving through Portland, a neighborhood just west of 9th Street where 42 percent of the population lives in poverty, there are signs of revitalization everywhere. Art galleries, businesses, remodeled homes and more are popping up all around, creating an atmosphere of change, growth and hope. Portland is a community of individuals dedicated to restoring and building a place where everyone is welcome. Larry and Kathie Stoess and John S. Howard decided to take their love for their community a step further in 2015 when they opened The Table Café. Larry described this part restaurant, part nonprofit as a social entrepreneurship organization with a business model that includes sustainability, allowing them to address social injustice in their community. “We didn’t want to do the one-way giving of the food pantry. We felt like that was what we call a crisis solution to a chronic problem,” Larry said. “We were looking for a way to do a kind of two-way giving.” Larry and Kathie moved to Portland in 1999 and have been part of the community ever since. They became involved with the Promise Community Development Corp. and Portland Promise Center when they moved here, and in 2012 helped open The Church of the Promise, where Larry is the pastor. They were looking for a way to extend their reach and provide a more holistic community ministry. “It was lots of nights sitting on our front porch, the three of us, trying to figure out how to address the food insecurity in our community,” Kathie said. “We asked the community what they wanted, and we kept hearing that they wanted a sit-down restaurant.”


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After researching different business models, Kathie discovered the paywhat-you-can model on which The Table was founded. This business model allows patrons the option of paying the menu price, paying it forward or volunteering in exchange for their meal. This fosters a diverse, inclusive atmosphere where everyone, regardless of background, is welcome. “Our motto is, ‘Everyone Has a Seat at Our Table,’ and we wanted to provide that kind of place where it didn’t really matter how much you had or how little you had, we could share life and a meal together, share dreams and ideas together,” Larry said. Two years later, The Table is thriving, at near-capacity each day, served largely by volunteers. Their staff of only three full-time employees and one part-time employee relies heavily on their volunteer base. Chef Laura Rountree sources all of the fresh ingredients from local organizations, but The Table offers

much more than phenomenal food. The restaurant has become a source of business, economic and professional development. For example, its Culinary Apprenticeship Program allows aspiring chefs to make their dreams a reality. The first four graduates completed a 12-week program learning both culinary and business leadership skills. Kathie and Larry are thrilled with the impact The Table has made in Portland and hope to continue on this trajectory of growth and development for the community they call home. “There have been a lot of sweet surprises. We had no idea that this would become a networking place for the city,” Larry said. As they see the revitalization of the neighborhood, they hope “the flavor of Portland and the people who live here, who lived here through decades of disinvestment with dreams and hopes for the neighborhood, will be part of the conversation and will have a seat at the table.” As we look at the different ways people and organizations in our community are tackling the challenges of poverty, we raise a glass to the team at The Table for being an innovative force for good for community change.

The Table Cafe 1800 Portland Avenue, Louisville, KY 40203 Open Monday – Friday 11 AM – 3 PM | 502.708.2505




As a Wealth Advisor at Stock Yards Bank & Trust Wealth Management Group, I have the pleasure and privilege to work with a wide array of clients, each with their own unique personal and financial needs and goals. Along with our investment management services, I also provide my clients with estate planning reviews, insurance reviews and financial planning. During these reviews and client conversations, charitable giving is a topic I routinely discuss. Charitable gift planning, for many of my clients, is a necessary element of the overall planning for their transfer of wealth. I have found the Community Foundation of Louisville to be a great resource when my charitably inclined clients need assistance in carrying out their philanthropy. My objective is to ensure that my clients’ charitable gift plans are designed to meet their philanthropic goals, while providing the greatest possible impact to the organizations they wish to support. Many of my clients are also interested in engaging their children and grandchildren in their philanthropy. A Donor Advised Fund with the Community Foundation can be an ideal solution. I am currently discussing this option with one of my clients. It will allow generations of his family to give back to the Louisville

community — the same community that has supported his thriving business over the years. Many of my clients who have no heirs are also very interested in charitable gifting. These clients frequently choose to establish a Designated Fund or a Scholarship Fund to be funded upon their death. These types of charitable bequest plans have provided several of my clients with a great sense of peace and satisfaction. By establishing a Designated Fund, they know that the charitable organizations they have enjoyed helping will continue to receive their financial support long after they are gone. When establishing a Scholarship Fund, my clients can rest assured that by partnering with the Community Foundation of Louisville, scholarships will be administered according to the guidelines they establish during their lifetime. Recently, one of my clients voiced concern over the beneficiary designation on her life insurance policy. Over the years, she has supported numerous charitable organizations in the Louisville area and throughout Kentucky. After a lengthy discussion of her options and introducing her to the Community Foundation of Louisville, my client elected to establish a Designated Fund for one of her favorite charities with

the Foundation, gift her life insurance policy to the Foundation, and name the Designated Fund as the beneficiary. My client was delighted that the support she has been providing to a small nonprofit organization would continue beyond her lifetime. She also worked with the Community Foundation to set up a contingency plan in the event that the organization ceases to operate after her death, to ensure that her charitable goals will still be fulfilled. By partnering with the Foundation, her policy’s death benefits will always be utilized in accordance with her wishes. The charitable giving options offered at the Community Foundation of Louisville provide me with tools to better serve my charitably inclined clients. I encourage other professional advisors to take advantage of this unique philanthropic resource in our community.


Caroline George Meena is a Wealth Advisor for Stock Yards Bank where she assists clients with estate planning issues and is responsible for the administration of personal trust accounts and estates. Caroline is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association and Louisville Bar Association. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with concentrations in Finance and Marketing from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. Caroline serves on the Board of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Kentuckiana.

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ForGood: Louisville's Philanthropy Magazine. Issue 6 / 2018  
ForGood: Louisville's Philanthropy Magazine. Issue 6 / 2018  

ForGood is a publication of the Community Foundation of Louisville. At the Community Foundation, we are committed to promoting the understan...