Brown-Forman Grant Guidelines and Criteria

Grant Guidelines

A vibrant and thriving community is core to our company’s purpose of enriching the experience of life. We believe it is vital that we invest in Louisville, Kentucky and locations where we operate around the world by thoughtfully deploying our time, talent, and resources. We collaborate with a variety of mission driven organizations focused on enhancing intellectual and cultural living, ensuring essential living standards, and empowering responsible and sustainable living. Community engagement provides professional development for our employees and is a means to attract, retain, and engage exceptional talent. It also builds goodwill and engages consumers with our brands through nonprofit event sponsorships. This approach to community relations reinforces Brown-Forman’s culture of caring in ways that reflect the values of our stakeholders and company.

Brown-Forman partners with nonprofit organizations that are aligned with our strategic focus areas:

  1. Enhance Intellectual and Cultural Living
    • Increase access to vibrant, diverse, and educational arts & cultural experiences.
    • Fund education initiatives that provide opportunities for lifelong success.
  2. Ensure Essential Living Standards
    • Support social services that improve well-being and strengthen communities.
    • Improve the quality of life in our headquarters’ home of West Louisville.
  3. Empower Responsible and Sustainable Living
    • Invest in initiatives that encourage moderation and reduce alcohol-related harm.
    • Protect the environment and conserve natural resources vital to our communities and business.

To be considered for funding, organizations located in Louisville, Kentucky, and its surrounding areas must complete the online application at Organizations may apply once each fiscal year, using the same quarterly submission deadline each year. Multiple requests may be included in the application. An application should be submitted a minimum of three months before the start date of your project or event. Questions about the process or issues with the online portal should be directed to Carly Launius at [email protected].

The Annual and Major Gifts Committees meet quarterly to review applications and make funding decisions. Notification on the Committee’s funding decision will be communicated by mail or email following the review meeting. Review meetings typically occur 30-90 days following the submission deadlines:

Online Grant Application Submission Deadlines – May 1, July 1, October 1, February 1

Prior to each review meeting, all applications will be screened for completeness by a representative of the Committee. If a proposal requires further clarification, Brown-Forman may request a one-time re-submittal of the proposal from the organization.

In addition to the grant narrative, the following documents are required for each submitted application:

  1. List of the organization’s leadership team and Board of Directors
  2. Copy of IRS certification granting 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status
  3. W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (November 2017 version)
  4. Audited financial statement from most recently completed year, showing actual expenses
  5. Most recent IRS Form 990 tax return
  6. Organization budget for current year, including income and expenses
  7. Detailed project/event budget, including income and expenses
  8. List of corporations/foundations from which you are requesting funds
  9. If request includes event sponsorship, a list of sponsorship levels

Grant Criteria

To be considered for funding, organizations and their programs should meet the following conditions:

  • The organization (or fiscal sponsor) must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and operated exclusively for charitable, scientific, or educational purposes.
  • Priority is given to organizations located in Louisville, Kentucky and its surrounding areas.
  • The organization’s mission and project outcomes must align with one or more of Brown-Forman’s strategic focus areas.
  • Proposals must be received by the submission deadline to be considered for that grant cycle.
  • Proposals must provide a sound basis of measurement toward project goals and outcomes.
  • Preferential consideration will be given to requests of $2,500 or more.
  • Requests for salary support, travel expenses, and consultant fees will not be considered.

Types of grant requests that the committee will consider include:

  • Operating support (Unrestricted)
  • Program/project support (Restricted)
  • Event or performance sponsorship
  • Scholarship programs
  • Multi-year requests of over $25,000
  • Capital support – requests for capital support that meet the following criteria will be considered on a case-by-case basis:
    • Project alignment with Brown-Forman’s strategic focus areas and grant guidelines
    • History of Brown-Forman support
    • Significant community financial support
    • Clear evidence that the project goals are achievable

The following organizations are specifically excluded from receiving grants:

  • Religious organizations such as churches and synagogues
  • Political or lobbying organizations or those supporting the candidacy of a particular individual
  • Third parties seeking donations on behalf of nonprofit organizations – donations must be made directly to a nonprofit rather than, for example, to a business partner making a request on behalf of an organization
  • Individuals, public schools (K-12), group tours, athletic teams or leagues
  • Organizations that lack non-discrimination policies or have a history of discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, veteran status, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, physical or mental disability or any other legally protected status
  • Past grantees that have failed to provide a completed grant agreement, grant report, or other required documentation