University of Kentucky

Davis Marksbury Building

In 2009, the Marksbury Family Foundation made its inaugural grant, funding the UK College of Engineering’s Davis Marksbury Building. The building houses UK’s Department of Computer Science. It is also part of UK’s Digital Village concept. Along with other buildings in the Digital Village, it is a place of innovation, creativity, and collaboration where researchers from across the campus come to explore a wide range of issues. The building provides opportunities for future innovators and technological advancements. Additionally, it was a milestone for UK, being the campus’ first LEED certified building. For the Marksbury Family Foundation, the grant served to give back to the university where Davis Marksbury received his education in engineering.

Marksbury Family Foundation Lexington Public Library Branch - grand opening

Lexington Public Library Foundation

Marksbury Family Branch

The Marksbury Family Branch Library will be the new library branch for the Cardinal Valley Neighborhood. Since 2005, the branch had been a small, leased storefront branch. In 2020 the Library Foundation purchased the space and those around it and will renovate the space into a large, two-story facility. The new building will triple the space of the former site and will include space for reading materials, programming, and community access. The renovation will transform the branch into a cornerstone of the Cardinal Valley community and serve just as much as a community center as a library. The space will include community and study rooms, a dedicated classroom, makerspace, outdoor reading area, expanded adult and children’s areas, and a drive thru window for picking up and dropping off books. The branch is expected to open in the fall of 2023.

United Way of the Bluegrass

The Marksbury Family WayPoint Center at the Historic Palmer Pharmacy Building

On July 1, 2021, United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG) opened their first WayPoint Center in Central Kentucky.  Waypoint Centers serve as a physical neighborhood resource anchored in family financial success and stability, coupled with bundled social services, and supported by a robust coalition of agencies working toward a common goal to empower families and individuals.

The Marksbury Family Foundation and UWBG collaborated to revitalize the former Palmer Pharmacy to create the “Marksbury Family WayPoint Center at the Historic Palmer Pharmacy” in Lexington’s East End.

This will allow the East End WayPoint Center to move from one room in the Charles Young Center to an entire building. In addition to providing vital services to members of the East End community and organizing and consolidating emergency and long-term services needed for them to thrive, revitalizing the former Palmer Pharmacy will bring back to life an important part of the East End’s history.  Dr. Zirl Palmer was a trailblazer in Lexington; being the third African-American pharmacist to practice in the city, as well as the first African-American to sit on the University of Kentucky’s board of trustees are just the most well-known of his many accomplishments. Together, UWBG and the Marksbury Family Foundation have worked hard to ensure that we treat this building with the utmost respect and carry on the strong legacy of Dr. Zirl Palmer as good neighbors to the East End.

Nurse-Family Partnership

Kentucky Branch

Nurse-Family Partnership empowers first-time moms to transform their lives and create better futures for themselves and their babies. The organization pairs specially educated nurses with young, first-time moms-to-be and arranges visits from pregnancy to the child’s second birthday. Over that time the nurse and new mom create a close, trusting relationship in which the nurse gives a new-mom advice on everything from caring for their child to taking steps to provide a stable, secure future for them both. The nurses give new moms the confidence and tools they need to ensure a healthy foundation for their child and future childrens’ lives. Our project is funding Nurse Family Partnership’s steps to bring a branch of their organization to Kentucky.

Living Arts and Science Center

Imagine This! Campaign

The Marksbury Family Foundation’s grant to the Living Arts and Science Center funded the Marksbury Discovery Gallery, as part of LASC’s Imagine This! Campaign. The Discovery Gallery is a field trip destination for Kentucky students across the state. Each year it features a new, hands-on exhibit. The exhibit highlights a topic related to arts or science that is included in Kentucky’s Core Content.

The Hearing and Speech Center

Give Kentuckians a Voice Campaign

The Marksbury Family Foundation’s grant to The Hearing and Speech Center funded their Give Kentuckians a Voice Campaign. The funding covered two areas, technological updates and the Early Learning Center’s financial assistance program. LHSC teaches children with hearing, speech, and language impairments to listen and talk. They provide high quality educational, clinical, and family support services. Additionally, they are important to Kentucky because they are the only organization in the state that provides education, audiology, and speech/language pathology programs all in one location.

Junior Achievement

JA Biztown/JA Finance Park

The Marksbury Family Foundation’s grant to Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass helped fund the transformation of Linlee Elementary School into an exciting, state of the art facility where students come to experience a living lesson through JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. JA BizTown is a unique program for upper elementary school students. It covers roles of workers and consumers through a series of classroom lessons. The lessons culminate in a visit to JA’s fully-interactive simulated town. Through the program students discover real-life opportunities available in the free enterprise system by acting as business operators, taxpayers, and consumers. Additionally, JA Finance Park is a program for middle school students. It provides a practical, hands-on simulation of making a personal budget. The in-classroom program is complemented by a visit to JA Finance Park. During the visit, students immerse themselves in a reality-based decision-making process that addresses individual and family budget concerns. The Community Room is named in honor of the Marksbury Foundation.

Awesome Inc

Awesome Fellowship Program

The Awesome Fellowship Program provides pro bono support for early stage Kentucky startups. Support services include access to mentors, legal services, web developers, and more. Through the program, entrepreneurs gain a vital support system that helps them stay on track and grow their businesses. The program keeps entrepreneurs and their businesses in Kentucky; creating local jobs and stimulating the economy. Our support for the Awesome Fellowship funds services for start-ups participating in the program.


Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE)

GSE is a 3-week residential summer program. It hosts Kentucky teens that are interested in entrepreneurship. The program exposes students to entrepreneurial thinking and inspires them to be creative. The program is the only fully immersive, accelerator-style program offered to Kentucky high school students. Alumni of GSE boast impressive statistics; both in their school performance and the entrepreneurial work they have done after completing the program. Overall GSE stimulates Kentucky’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by ensuring that future entrepreneurs learn the skills they will need to be successful. Our grant for GSE funded general operating support of the program.

Lexington Leadership Foundation

Woodhill Community Center

The Lexington Leadership foundation (LLF), through the Woodhill Community Center, is addressing needs in Lexington’s Woodhill neighborhood. Woodhill is home to Lexington’s most diverse and economically disadvantaged population. Criminal activity and drug abuse are alluring traps for youth in this community. LLF’s 20,000 square foot community center strives to provide a safe and empowering alternative. The community center focuses on academics, arts, and athletics for the community’s urban children, youth, and families. The goal of the center is to give the kids of Woodhill a place where they can find hope, feel welcome and safe, and realize their potential through learning how to grow, thrive, and lead effectively.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass

School Plus Community Mentoring

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass makes meaningful, professionally monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”) ages 6 to 13. BBBS of the Bluegrass believes that strong, enduring, and professionally supported one-to-one relationships change lives for the better, forever. Their School Plus Community Mentoring program offers consistent, individualized time and attention for children and youth who would otherwise be lacking positive role models. Bigs and Littles meet regularly during the academic year and utilize resources available within the school, such as computer labs, the library, the gym, classrooms, and play areas. The program has consistently shown to improve the Littles’ confidence, positive attitude, and academic success. Our grant is helping to fund over 100+ new matches across the bluegrass.

Centre College

Indoor Athletic Facilities Updates

Centre College is currently underway with a three-phase update of their indoor athletic facilities. The first phase was a complete renovation of the locker rooms. The second phase is an update of Bowman Gymnasium, a gym that is used as a practice facility for basketball and volleyball. The third phase is a renovation of Alumni Gymnasium, Centre’s competition gym that is used for basketball and volleyball games. Centre’s goal for the update is to recruit more student-athletes and to improve the student-athlete experience. After the renovations are complete, Centre’s athletic facilities will rival peer colleges. The facilities will allow Centre to attract high-caliber athletes that are looking for a top-level education.


Food Sector Job Training Program

FoodChain’s Food Sector Job Training program works to solve three problems in the Lexington community. First is to break down barriers for Fayette County’s disadvantaged population that keep them from having a career rather than minimum wage jobs. Second, the program works to fill Lexington’s need for skilled and reliable workers in the local food industry. Third, the program takes food that would otherwise go to waste and provides it to food-insecure families. The program is an eight week class that ultimately provides participants with their food handler’s permit, hard materials such as knifes and a uniform, and job placement assistance.

North Limestone Community Development Corporation

Julietta Market

The Julietta Market is the North Limestone Community Development Corporation’s latest project for economic development. It is a 23,000 square foot, year-round multi-vendor public market located in downtown Lexington’s North End. The Market includes 72 vendor booths, 7 food stalls, pop-ups, a Farmers Market, space for cultural and community events and performances, and a shared kitchen space. Julietta Market gives local entrepreneurs and small businesses not only an affordable and vibrant space to grow their idea, but the personal and educational support and tools needed to succeed. It is a social and cultural hub that is for, by, and about its community. (photo credit: Samantha Johnson)

The Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky

Automated Exhibit Interface System for Moon, Mars, and Beyond STEM Exhibit

The Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky, established in 1999, is a field trip and camp destination located in Hazard, Kentucky.  The center’s programs and exhibits teach STEM and STEAM concepts in a hands-on, interactive manner, and allow students to apply technical concepts in a real-world environment.  Programs are catered to students from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade.  Our grant helped to fund CLCKY’s brand-new interactive program; Moon, Mars, and Beyond.  The exhibit is part of the center’s 2019 capital campaign to modernize exhibits and renovate facilities.  The Moon, Mars, and Beyond is an interactive exhibit for the 21st century that is expected to host more than 10,000 students over its lifetime.

Lexington Children's Museum

The Marksbury Engineering Gallery

The Lexington Children’s Museum is the city’s only children’s museum.  Since its opening in 1990, the museum has hosted more than a million visitors from all over the country. Its mission is to create a fun, dynamic, and hands-on learning environment that inspires imagination and curiosity.  A modernization is in store for the museum, led by new Executive Director Colby Ernest, who took over leadership in 2021.  The museum will be updating its exhibits, as well as the overall visitors’ experience.  The Marksbury Family Foundation is proud to sponsor one of the first new exhibits – The Marksbury Engineering Gallery!  The exhibit features a Paper Airplane Launcher and a set of Big Blue Blocks.  The Paper Airplane Launcher will allow visitors to explore how different shapes and sizes of planes, as well as the angle and direction of launch, effect the ability of the planes to complete a course of hanging loops.  The Big Blue Blocks allow children to practice the three Cs of STEM – creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking; up to 20 children can work to on limitless creations with the set of 300 blocks.

Blue Grass Community Foundation

GoodGiving Challenge

The GoodGiving Challenge is a week-long online giving challenge for local nonprofits hosted by Blue Grass Community Foundation and Smiley Pete Publishing. Since 2011 the GoodGiving Challenge has brought the Central Kentucky community together to raise over $14 million total towards over 100 local non-profits. Since 2018 the Marksbury Family Foundation has participated in the GoodGiving Challenge by giving a grant each year to match funds. Donations made to any non-profit are matched by our grant on one day of the week long challenge.

Covid Relief Grants

Emergency Funding – Various Organizations

In the spring of 2020, considering the effects from the global COVID pandemic, the Marksbury Family Foundation strayed from its normal mission and gave emergency funding. Funding focused on the areas of PPE for medical care workers and emergency food relief. Geographical areas of funding were focused on Lexington, Kentucky and Charleston, SC.