By Representative Dennis Keene—The Honorable Order of the Kentucky Colonel is one of the Commonwealth’s proudest traditions. Dating back to 1813, Kentucky Colonel is the highest titled of honor bestowed upon individuals by the Governor of Kentucky. Serving as goodwill ambassadors of the Commonwealth, individuals who have received the Kentucky Colonel certificate display it proudly in their homes and offices, often listing along their accomplishments on resumes and bios.
The Kentucky Colonel represents more than a certificate; what stands behind it is a voluntary philanthropic organization with a strong commitment to providing grants to Kentucky’s non-profit and charitable organizations. Through its Better Life Scholarship Program, the Kentucky Colonels have awarded over $950,000 in college funding for students attending the Kentucky Community and Technical College Program. $84,000 in grants have been awarded to the Brighton Center in Newport which benefits those in need in Campbell County and in Northern Kentucky. Also awards to Be Concerned, New Perceptions, Northern Kentucky Education Council and The Carnegie have provided assistance to Northern Kentuckians.
As described on its website, the Colonels continue to contribute dollars to the goal of benefiting Kentucky and Kentuckians. Since 1951, as an IRS recognized 501 (c) (3) charity, the Honorable Order has distributed nearly 5000 grants to charitable and educational agencies all across Kentucky. For the last dozen years, the Honorable Order’s Board of Trustees has distributed approximately 1.5 million dollars each year impacting the lives for more than 2.5 million people in and around Kentucky.
This year, someone in every county in the state will be touched by a program funded by the voluntary, tax deductible contributions of Kentucky Colonels living in every state in the nation as well as Colonels living in 36 nations abroad.
In 2015, the Kentucky Colonels served 2.8 million people, 147 organizations helped and provided grants totaling $1.4 million. Two major events to connect existing Colonels and raise money to support the charitable work will be held in November. For more information, visit http://www.kycolonels.org/.
The Kentucky Colonel program is part of our rich history and heritage; much like the Kentucky Derby and our beautiful horses. Let us keep the tradition strong and continue to welcome new Kentucky Colonels as ambassadors for our beloved Commonwealth of Kentucky.