About the Foundation

James Graham BrownThe James Graham Brown Foundation, Inc. was established under a trust agreement in 1943 and formally incorporated in 1954. James Graham Brown was a lumberman, horseman, and entrepreneur. The majority of his wealth was made in the timber industry in several southern states including Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. He died in 1969 with no heirs leaving the bulk of his estate to the Foundation. His estate at the time of his death was valued at an estimated $80 million. Since 1954, the Foundation has awarded nearly 4,000 grants totaling more than $550,000,000.

Mr. Brown believed that the national and local perception of the state of Kentucky should be improved, creating a desire in the citizens of Kentucky and the City of Louisville to enhance the image of Louisville and Kentucky. He instructed the trustees to “promote the well-being of the citizens of Louisville and Kentucky”.

Mr. Brown, besides his generosity to the community, is also remembered for the development of the Brown Hotel and his passion for the thoroughbred industry and Churchill Downs.

During his lifetime, he helped establish the Louisville Zoo, the acquisition of land for development of the University of Louisville, the area’s first blood bank for the American Red Cross and he supported countless other nonprofit beneficiaries.