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Brown-Forman Grant Guidelines and Criteria


Investing in our best spirit
To Brown-Forman, being a responsible and caring corporate citizen is more than an investment; it embodies our company’s purpose of enriching life. After 150 years in the business of spirits, we understand that our best spirit is the community we call home. As a company and individually as employees, we believe in donating time, talents, and resources to the vitality of the communities that sustain us. Our long history and deep roots in Louisville, Kentucky make our hometown city the focus of our efforts.

How to apply for funding
Charitable contributions are divided between the Brown-Forman Foundation and the Corporation. Nonprofit organizations that meet the funding criteria below may apply one time per fiscal year (May 1- April 30). Separate grant applications are required for each entity (corporation/foundation).

The submission deadlines are May 1, August 1, November 1, and February 1. Funding decisions are typically made within 90 days following the submission deadline. Please keep this in mind for time-sensitive projects or events. The Corporate grant application can be found here. The Foundation application can be found here.

  1. Enhance Arts and Cultural Living
    • Increase access to vibrant, diverse, and educational arts & cultural experiences.
  2. Ensure Essential Living Standards
    • Support social services that improve well-being and strengthen communities.
    • Fund education initiatives that provide opportunities for lifelong success.
  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.

Types of requests

The Foundation will consider: The Corporation will consider:
  • Unrestricted operating support
  • Restricted program support
  • Typically, the Foundation will consider requests of $25,000 and above
  • Unrestricted operating support
  • Restricted program support
  • Event or performance sponsorship with any material return benefits such as tickets, product promotion, etc.
  • Typically, the Corporation will consider requests up to $25,000

Questions about the process or issues with the online portal should be directed to [email protected]

Global community investment
While our deep roots in Louisville, Kentucky make our hometown city the focus of our efforts, over 30 of our production and regional offices around the globe have Civic Engagement Committees that determine how to best allocate funding to meet community needs. Organizations in these areas that are outside of Louisville, Kentucky may submit a project overview of no more than 250 words to [email protected] for possible consideration.

Neither the Foundation nor the Corporation accept unsolicited in-kind requests. All funding requests should be for monetary contributions.

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

  • The organization (or fiscal sponsor) must be determined by the IRS to be a tax-exempt organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and a public charity described in Section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) of the Code, that is operated exclusively for charitable, scientific, or educational purposes.
  • Priority is given to organizations located in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • The organization’s mission and project outcomes must align with one or more of the 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.

The following are ineligible to apply for funding:

  • Individuals
  • Public schools (K-12)
  • Group tours
  • Athletic teams orleagues
  • Requests by foreign organizations
  • Religious organizations such as churches and synagogues
  • Any organization that is not a public charity described in either Section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • 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
  • Political organizations or for political campaign purposes
  • Requests to carry on a voter registration drive
  • Grant requests for projects that include lobbying, propaganda, or other attempts to influence legislation
  • 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
  • The following are ineligible to apply for funding from the Brown-Forman Foundation:
    • Past grantees that have failed to provide a completed grant agreement, grant report, or other required documentation
    • Requests to satisfy the personal pledge of a Foundation or Brown-Forman director, officer, key staff person, or family member thereof
    • Requests that, if granted, would provide a personal benefit to a Foundation or Brown-Forman director, officer, key staff person, or family member thereof, other than naming or similar publicity

The following documents are required for each submitted application:

  • List of the organization’s leadership team and Board of Directors
  • Copy of the IRS determination letter confirming your organization’s status as a 501(c)(3) organization that is also a public charity
  • W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification completed within the same year as the application
  • Audited financial statement from the most recently completed year
  • A complete copy of the most recently filed IRS Form 990 tax return
  • Organization budget for current year, including income and expenses
  • Detailed project/event budget, including income and expenses
  • List of other corporations/foundations from which you are requesting funds
  • If the request includes event sponsorship, a list of sponsorship levels