• Video
  • Dec 20 2023

Just the beginning: See how 'Kentucky Can' helps UK drive innovation, impact in research and health care

In October, the University of Kentucky celebrated the achievement of the $2.1 billion goal for Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign — the largest fundraising campaign in the Commonwealth’s history. The comprehensive campaign focused on raising support to fuel all parts of the institution’s mission: education, research, service and care.

Since then, UKNow has highlighted two of the campaign’s key impact areas — student success and access and stability and prestige. Today, we are reflecting on the campaign’s impact in the area of impact and innovation, through world-class research and care addressing the state’s most challenging issues.

"Research has been growing really exponentially here at UK over the last several years — we have a lot of momentum and our research is very applicable to Kentucky," UK Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis said in the video above. "Philanthropy is very important in supporting our mission for research that focuses on diseases of burden to people of Kentucky."

In fiscal year 2023, grant and contract awards totaled $479.3 million — a record high. By fostering innovation and advancing interdisciplinary research, UK faculty, staff, providers and even students are rendering world-class care and developing solutions to improve the lives of all Kentuckians.

Kentucky Can has played a critical role in supporting UK’s research mission, from health care to industry and workforce development.

Watch what this support means to UK HealthCare providers, patients and families in the video above.

A new chapter

While the October celebration marked the conclusion of the Kentucky Can campaign, it marked the beginning of a new chapter.

“When we embarked on this campaign, we recognized with both humility and fortitude that these efforts would help write the next chapter for this university and the communities it uplifts,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “That is our north star — to advance Kentucky. This campaign fuels those efforts; it always has been about empowering the incredible talent and impassioned hearts on our campus, so determined and equipped to build a better future for the Commonwealth.”

“Kentucky is welcoming incredible economic opportunity and billions in investments,” said Jake Lemon, vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement. “But to continue that pipeline of opportunity, our state must significantly increase its skilled and educated workforce. We will continue to focus our efforts on providing scholarships that open doors of opportunity and that change trajectories of success for even more students, their families and their communities.”

Learn more about the impact of the campaign and UK Philanthropy at https://kentuckycan.uky.edu/.