The Foundation’s largest percentage of allocations support a Customer Assistance Program that help struggling families pay their Louisville Water and MSD bills. The Foundation provides funding to organizations in the three counties (Bullitt, Jefferson and Oldham) where Louisville Water has retail water service and these entities work directly with families who request assistance. In Jefferson County, the Association of Community Ministries coordinates the assistance; in Bullitt County, Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency is the contact and in Oldham County, the American Red Cross coordinates our program.
FLINT LOVE CAMPAIGN
As the nation watched the crisis over high lead levels in tap water unfold in Flint, Michigan, the Foundation coordinated a community effort to raise funds for children whose health was impacted by lead. The “Flint Love” campaign generated $32,000 for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Thousands of pairs of shoes were turned into dollars for the “Flint Love” campaign.
LEAD SERVICE LINE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM
Lead is not a public health concern for Louisville’s drinking water but there are lead service lines remaining in the service area. As Louisville Water works to eliminate its remaining lead lines, the Foundation is helping with a pilot program for customers to replace a private water service line that is made of lead. A $39,000 grant to the Association of Community Ministries will help low-income residential homeowners replace their private lead service line when Louisville Water replaces the public portion of the lead service line.
WATER + SCIENCE
One of the most popular early childhood attractions at the Kentucky Science Center is the water table. A $50,000 grant allowed the Center to redesign and install a new water table that incorporates more hands-on learning and explores science and engineering concepts. The partnership with the Center also includes an early childhood education program delivered by Louisville Water educators and drinking water fountain branding throughout the facility. In its first year, more than 194,000 children have played and learned at the water table.
AN EDIBLE GARDEN
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest has one of the most unique gardens in the world. The Edible Garden is a four-acre outdoor learning site that connects visitors to gardening and ecology. In the garden, Bernheim works to offset its entire carbon footprint, meaning it must account for every amount of energy used to build and operate the garden. The never-ending water cycle is an important part of the garden. A $10,000 grant allowed Bernheim to create educational signage that explains how the water cycle works in the Edible Garden.
SCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM
There is a critical need to attract talented STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educators to the region. Teach Kentucky is focused on teacher recruitment and training. A $15,000 grant was earmarked for advancement of educator talent in the Louisville area with 13 new STEM teachers from across the nation coming to local schools. The grant also assisted in the formation of a collaborative partnership between Teach Kentucky science educators and Louisville Water Company staff. Louisville Water staff bring real-world examples into the classroom, and teachers have the opportunity to tour the water treatment facilities. A recruitment event for the 2017 Teach Kentucky program was held inside the WaterWorks Museum where veteran teachers toured the Louisville Water site and learned about curriculum opportunities.
A TOWERING ACHIEVEMENT
A $14,850 grant to Fund for the Arts is facilitating a unique project that combines art with science and engineering. A pilot program administered by Louisville Visual Art involves more than 500 students at six elementary schools. In “Form and Function,” students learn the history of Louisville’s drinking water and the Louisville Water Tower, the oldest-standing water tower of its kind in the United States. Then, over a course of three days, students learn the vision of the original water tower’s architect and create their own tower models. “It’s a creative and stimulating way for the students to learn about an important part of the community’s history,” says Annette Cable, Education Coordinator at Louisville Visual Art.
A CLEAN DRINK OF WATER
At the Hospital San Felipe in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, patients and staff can sometimes go several weeks without receiving water from the local municipal supply. Water With Blessings, based in Louisville, is installing simple water filtration systems to treat the local well water. The work is being done in phases since the hospital is a series of small standalone buildings. A $30,500 grant from the Foundation in two phases has helped Water With Blessings to implement their multi-phased approach. At Hospital San Felipe, the faucets connected to the new water filtration systems are painted bright blue to distinguish them from other taps that bring the undrinkable water staff and patients are used to receiving. “People in this kind of situation can be used to groups not looking at the broad picture. That is why it is invaluable to be able to partner with the Louisville Water Foundation,” says Sister Larraine Lauter, Founder of Water With Blessings.
PROVIDING WATER FOLLOWING A DISASTER
In April 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador crumbled buildings, destroyed homes and hospitals and compromised the availability of safe water. WaterStep, a Louisville-based organization with a proven track record for saving lives with safe water following disasters, quickly mobilized. WaterStep transported chlorinators and bleach makers to Ecuador and sent staff and volunteers for training. The chlorinators can produce up to 1 million gallons of safe water a day. The Louisville Water Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to assist with WaterStep’s effort.
“With the help of a grant from the Louisville Water Foundation, the Kentucky Science Center unveiled The Water Table, which is a key part of the Science Center’s progressive, next generation early-childhood learning experience Science in Play.
Water play is a popular sensory experience, and The Water Table is often one of the first activities families visit at the Science Center. Playing with water is far more than just fun; it is an early step toward a love of science. The Water Table presents countless opportunities for children to experiment; opportunities which parents can easily translate to everyday activities.
--Lisa Resnick, Director of External Affairs, Kentucky Science Center