THE GHEENS FOUNDATION
Copyright © The Gheens Foundation. All Rights Reserved
The Gheens Foundation was established in 1957 by C. Edwin and Mary Jo Gheens to continue their lifelong interests in education and human services. Mr. Gheens, a Louisville native whose father and uncle were successful wholesale grocerers, was the owner of a large candy manufacturing company in Louisville. The family also owned a working ranch in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, which was rich in mineral resources.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Gheens were leaders in their church and active in other philanthropic, educational and cultural endeavors in Louisville. After Mr. Gheens’ death in 1961, Mrs. Gheens selected several friends to serve as trustees who continued to direct the work of the Foundation after her death in 1982. At that time, foundation assets were valued at approximately $23,000,000.
Today, the trustees oversee approximately $8 million in grants annually. Grants support primarily public urban education, human and social services, quality of place, and the arts. The Foundation has distributed over $150,000,000 in charitable grants since its inception.
1893 - 1982
1878 - 1961
The mission of the Gheens Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the residents of metropolitan Louisville and Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes in Louisiana -- and to meet present and emerging needs of those communities through grant-making and philanthropic leadership.
The vision of the Gheens Foundation is to represent Edwin and Mary Jo Gheens in a manner that brings credit to their legacy. We will be mindful of the responsibilities to our communities as one of the area’s largest independent foundations. We will be distinguished by addressing the ongoing needs while seeking ways to have profound, long-term impact. This will be done while managing the foundation’s assets in a manner to assure long term viability.
Grant-making will be made through understanding the present and future needs of our communities. Generally accepted sound investment management principles will be followed in the investment of Foundation assets to meet grant-making objectives while preserving and building assets for the long term. The Foundation will exercise a leadership role by encouraging and engaging in collaboration with other foundations and charitable organizations.