Gift Givers


Former Mayor Gerry Montgomery formed the original Foundation in 1996. Mayor Montgomery felt the region needed an organization like a community foundation to perpetuate charitable giving for decades to come. A community foundation in Paducah, like foundations in other cities across the country, could help charitable-minded people create legacies for the immediate and future needs of the area. The Foundation is a vehicle supporting a variety of charitable initiatives in the community; it is not a charity supporting its own programs.

What is the Community Foundation of West Kentucky?

The Community Foundation of West Kentucky is a tax-exempt public charitable organization that enables a community to establish funds that will meet the needs of the community for both short- and long-term perspectives. Whether your interest lies in the arts and humanities, healthcare, community revitalization, leadership development, education, or services for youth or the elderly, the Community Foundation will identify important needs and enable you to fulfill your philanthropic goals. Community foundations make up one of the fastest growing sectors of philanthropy, and there are more than 700 community foundations in the United States today.

What is the purpose of the Community Foundation of West Kentucky?

The Community Foundation exists to enable any individual, family, business, or organization to have a lasting impact in their community. The Foundation accepts and receives gifts for the community’s endowments. The income from the endowments is returned to the community each year in the form of grants to address community needs and issues. For instance, the investment earnings from a family endowment were used to purchase emergency radios for the Paducah Red Cross as well as purchase new computer software for the Paducah Symphony. While the children of another family created an endowment as a memorial for a parent, last year the account earnings assisted Paducah Cooperative Ministry as well as Paducah Junior College Foundation.

The Community Foundation hosts the annual Fred Paxton Fund Run for Charities each summer.  Due to Mr. Paxton’s generosity, the Foundation will match donations raised by each nonprofit organization up to $10,000, until $100,000 is given away. All matching funds are designated to set up or add to endowments for the nonprofits. The purpose of the event is to assist area nonprofits in building endowment funds. The Fund Run has become the premier fundraising event in the region topping $2.5 million in total donations over its nine-year history. Thousands of people are helped, services are provided, and the cultural aspect of the region is promoted through these generated funds.

The Community Foundation of West Kentucky has established endowment funds for such organizations as Western Baptist Hospital, Lourdes Hospital, Easter Seals, The Paducah Bank Community Fund, Paducah Cooperative Ministry, The Museum of National Quilters, The Paxton Media Group, and The United Way of Paducah/McCracken County. The Foundation also administers church endowments and several endowed scholarship funds including the John E. Robinson Memorial Scholarship, the USEC Scholarship Fund, and the Pennies for the Future Scholarship.

What are the total assets of the Community Foundation of West Kentucky?

After many years, with generous community support, the Foundation’s assets have grown to $15 million.  The Foundation currently manages 91 funds established by charitable individuals and organizations. Last year, the Foundation disbursed $921,466 in grants and scholarships back into the communities of Western Kentucky. For instance, a disbursement from the Seaton Endowed Scholarship was granted to a deserving student at Paducah Tilghman High School. Last year the first scholarships from the Ed and Marilyn Tilford Scholarship were distributed to four students at Heath High School. The Foundation also manages the USEC scholarship fund

Where and how is the money invested?

An Investment Committee, appointed by the FoundationÕs Board of Directors, directs the investments of the funds. The committee is comprised of local bankers, investment advisors, Certified Public Accountants, and attorneys. The Paducah Bank and Trust Company and US Bank house the assets.

What kind of funds may be established through the Community Foundation?

  • Designated and Undesignated Funds
  • Donor Advised Funds (Endowed and Unendowed)
  • Agency Funds
  • Corporate Donor Advised Funds
  • Field of Interest Funds
  • Scholarship Funds
  • Fiscal Sponsorship

How can the Community Foundation help meet my charitable goals while leaving a lasting legacy in my community?

  • When you partner with the Community Foundation of West Kentucky, we . . .
  • Build endowment funds that benefit the community forever (by investing principal, then using investment income to make charitable grants).
  • Help donors establish a personal legacy by creating permanent funds in their names.
  • Offer ways for donors to stay involved in identifying uses for their charitable gifts.
  • Contribute to local organizations that meet a broad range of ever-changing local needs.
  • Offer a simple way to fulfill multiple charitable interests; donors can give through us to a number of non-profit organizations.
  • Provide personalized donor service to support each donorÕs unique charitable interests and financial circumstances.
  • Accept a wide variety of assets; donors can make gifts of cash, appreciated stock, bonds, real estate, or personal property.
  • Offer maximum tax advantages under State and Federal law.
  • Help preserve donor intent, even if an organization receiving grants ceases to exist in the future.
  • Practice prudent stewardship and carefully manage each fund.

If you are interested in learning more about how the Community Foundation of West Kentucky can assist you in impacting our community, contact Tony Watkins at 270.442.8622 or via email at

The Community Foundation makes it easy to make a difference – today and for future generations. Through sound investing, effective grant making, and building the capacity of nonprofits in West Kentucky, the Community Foundation seeks to strengthen our community far into the future.