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How my foundation operates and why we’re starting one in Kentucky

Last week I announced that Ellen and I are starting a new foundation in Kentucky to make it easier for us to be involved in the community. Now I’d like to further educate everyone on how our charitable work has been, is and will be conducted.

When I was in Memphis, I decided to put my charitable donations in the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. Our fund within CFGM is officially named The Calipari Family Foundation for Children Fund, and it is a donor-advised fund. A donor-advised fund works just like it sounds: Donors advise where their contributions go so long as the contributions go to another 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

I decided to work with CFGM for a couple of reasons. First, CFGM managed our funds. Additionally, a donor’s funds cannot be given to any recipient other than one vetted and approved by the community foundation’s approval process. I also liked that they took care of all additional operations.

Even though our fund in CFGM was donor advised, more than 90 percent of the money in the fund was generated by Ellen and me. We oversaw what money was made and what direction and project the funds were assisting. Not only did we take guidance in where the funds were going, but also Sandy Bell, our compliance director at UK, approved every grant we recommended to make sure we complied with NCAA rules.

Our work with the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis will continue in certain forms because we want to continue to support some of the good causes we supported when we lived in Memphis. If there are things we feel strongly about there, we want to continue to help.  For example, we’re still working with organizations like Streets Ministries to improve the community in Memphis. I am pleased to say that we are only $100,000 away from fulfilling a $1 million commitment we made to Streets Ministries two years ago.

Having said that, we’ve decided to establish a new, public foundation in Kentucky as we enter year four in Lexington. While we will continue to work in Memphis, our focus will switch to the foundation in our new home so that we can have a greater role and impact.

Our new foundation will be a public 501(c)(3) charity. This new foundation will allow the people in Kentucky to get more involved with what we’re trying to do — and join us in our work to support programs such as financial literacy for young people and the Catholic school initiative we want to start.

As I said before, Ellen and I are looking forward to updating you on our progress as this process moves forward. We are extremely excited about the possibilities of this new foundation, and I believe the Big Blue Nation will be as well. We look forward to working side by side with you to assist our communities once we unveil some of our new projects.