James Graham Brown Foundation awards $1 million to UK LEADS initiative

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2017) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today accepted a gift of $1 million from the James Graham Brown Foundation of Louisville in support of the University of Kentucky’s Leveraging Economic Affordability for Developing Success (UK LEADS) initiative.

Announced last fall, UK LEADS is designed to increase the availability of need-based financial aid with the goal of improving student retention and graduation rates. Over the next several years, the university will move from awarding about 90 percent of its aid based on academic merit to a majority of aid being awarded based on financial need.

This shift in focus begins with the Fall 2017 entering class, but will not impact aid already awarded to returning students. UK LEADS directly aligns with the university’s Strategic Plan, which calls for increasing graduation rates to 70 percent and retention rates to 90 percent by 2020.

Mason Rummel, president and CEO of the James Graham Brown Foundation notes that “UK’s strategic plan has made student success a priority and set ambitious goals. This grant is intended to help the university accelerate efforts to increase retention and graduation rates, and to reduce achievement gaps. The foundation believes that the well-being of individuals and communities is closely linked to educational attainment and is pleased to support efforts that help more Kentucky students earn postsecondary credentials.”

The mission of the James Graham Brown Foundation is to cultivate progress and civic pride through philanthropic investments that promote the image of Kentucky and Louisville and the well-being of its citizens. The foundation has awarded more than $520 million since 1954. The foundation’s education grantmaking is focused on strengthening and enriching educational opportunities and outcomes that will help prepare Kentucky students to succeed in a global society.

A Louisville resident, James Graham Brown was a lumberman, horseman, and entrepreneur who died in 1969 and left the bulk of his estate to the foundation.

The UK Board of Trustees held its board and committee meetings this month at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights and at the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center in Erlanger, Kentucky.

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