September 18, 2012

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network 2012 award recipients are Blue Grass Community Foundation of Lexington; Mike Mullins, long-time executive director of the Hindman Settlement School; and Steve Jennings, board member with God’s Pantry Food Bank. KNN will present the awards during the 10th annual Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Forum luncheon Oct. 25 at the Lexington Convention Center.

Blue Grass Community Foundation was selected as the winner of the 2012 Fifth Third Bank and Dean Dorton Allen Ford Innovative Nonprofit Award. The foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in their region through philanthropy and civic engagement. The organization received the award for their GoodGiving Guide Challenge, a community-wide, online giving challenge whose design is the first of its kind in Central Kentucky. The challenge, aside from doubling the initial goal and raising more than $200,000 for 58 Lexington nonprofits, also raised awareness of the nonprofit sector and the importance of philanthropy, particularly among adults ages 18 to 35.

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network created the Innovative Nonprofit Award to recognize a Kentucky nonprofit organization that implements inventive, nontraditional programs or methods that effectively meet community needs. Award winners are required to demonstrate creativity and vision in finding unique solutions to their community’s issues. 

Mike Mullins is the posthumous recipient of the 2012 Energy Insurance Agency and Travelers Insurance Distinguished Nonprofit Leadership Award. Before his death in February, Mullins spent 34 years as the executive director of the Hindman Settlement School. Under his leadership, the school grew from a modest arts and music program to a significant provider of education, cultural heritage and community services in Eastern Kentucky.

Mullins received numerous awards for his personal and professional accomplishments, most recently his induction into the Knott County Hall of Fame in 2010. He was a founding board member of the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation and Leadership East Kentucky and served on the Kentucky Nonprofit Network Advisory Council. Mullins also helped organize and launch the Hindman/Knott County Community Development Initiative, which brought more than $20 million in community projects to the county. He was chosen for the 2012 Energy Insurance and Travelers Insurance Distinguished Nonprofit Leadership Award for his high level of engagement in building community and the revitalization of the Hindman Settlement School to meet the changing needs of the region, as well as for his commitment to the nonprofit sector.

The Energy Insurance Agency and Travelers Insurance Distinguished Nonprofit Leadership Award recognizes outstanding leadership among Kentucky nonprofit chief executives. The award recognizes achievement in the areas of strategic leadership, community building, ethical integrity, innovation and commitment to strengthening the nonprofit sector.

Steve Jennings, board president of God’s Pantry Food Bank, was selected as the recipient of the 2012 PNC Bank and Mountjoy Chilton Medley Outstanding Board Leadership Award. Jennings, a certified public accountant for Crowe Horwath, served as God’s Pantry Food Bank board president from 2010-2012. Under his leadership, God’s Pantry launched a successful capital campaign, raising $3.6 million and building a 46,000-square-foot warehouse in Winchester to increase capacity.

This inaugural award highlights the work of a strategic-thinking board leader who works cooperatively with other board members and the executive director to further the mission of the organization and is actively committed to best practices and succession planning.

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network is the commonwealth’s association of nonprofit organizations and is an outreach program of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. It serves and advances Kentucky’s nonprofit sector through educational opportunities, consulting services, and resources for organizations and their leaders. Early registration for the Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Forum is open until Sept. 21 and final registration is due by Oct. 12. Tickets to the award luncheon only are also available. Additional information is available at or by calling 859-257-2542.


Contact: Danielle Clore, 859-257-2542