Centre Associate of the Year 2012
JAMES GRAHAM BROWN FOUNDATION
Foundations are a distinctly American invention for the wise application of private wealth to public purposes. So vast is the array of worthy causes that benefit from foundation funding that it has often been observed that foundations exist to provide the venture capital for social progress. Since its incorporation in 1954, the James Graham Brown Foundation has invested nearly a half billion dollars seeding social progress in Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
James Graham Brown was a successful lumberman, horseman, and entrepreneur who amassed a large personal fortune. He, in turn, gave his fortune to his fellow Kentuckians through the foundation that bears his name. Concerned with the negative image in which Kentucky was often cast, Mr. Brown wanted his wealth to bring about positive change that would both enhance the quality of life in Kentucky and transform the reputation of the state. Such a lofty purpose could not be achieved easily or quickly, which is all the more reason why a perpetual foundation, guided by a board of leading citizens and administered by capable and devoted staff, was necessary to achieve Mr. Brown’s intentions.
From the outset, the Brown Foundation found a natural ally in Centre College for its efforts to effect positive change and to enhance the quality of life in Kentucky. As a result, Centre has benefitted greatly from the Foundation’s generosity. For many years, much of this support was directed to campus building projects, ranging from the renovation of Old Centre to the expansion and renovation of Sutcliffe Hall to the recent addition to Young Hall. In addition, over a period of years, the Foundation funded what has become the College’s largest endowed scholarship program, which provides aid to needy and worthy students from Kentucky. The Foundation also has funded endowed faculty positions at Centre.
More recently, the Foundation’s trustees have decided to be more strategic in initiating and funding programs and projects that will, over time, enhance the quality of life in Kentucky and transform the reputation of the state. As a result of a strategic visioning and planning process, the Foundation decided four years ago to launch the Brown Fellows Program on the campuses of Centre College and the University of Louisville. The Brown Fellows Program brings ten of the nation’s best and brightest high school graduates to Centre each year. In doing so, it has strengthened Centre’s ability to compete with other top liberal arts colleges for these gifted students, who enrich our classrooms and residence halls and who are sure to bring favorable recognition to Kentucky as they pursue their careers of work and service.
The James Graham Brown Foundation’s imprint on Centre is indelible, touching every aspect of the College – from students, to faculty, to the buildings in which we work and educate students. In grateful recognition for what this strategic partnership has meant and will mean in the future, we are pleased to recognize the James Graham Brown Foundation as Centre Associate of the Year for 2012.