Tag: University of Louisville Foundation

Aetna CEO slams U.S. senators for ‘unfounded’ accusations; UofL Foundation paying $12K a month for PR advice

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 8:46 a.m.

Mark Bertolini

HUMANA: Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini says that “marketplace reality” is pushing the company to exit nearly 70% of the counties with public health exchanges next year, and dismissed criticism of the insurer by a group of U.S. senators as “unfounded accusations.” Bertolini was responding to a letter from Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bill Nelson of Florida and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent. The lawmakers said Aetna’s decision to quit numerous health exchanges “appears to be an effort to pressure the Justice Department into approving” its proposed $37 billion purchase of Humana (Hartford Courant).

Mears, dressing for success.

TACO BELL: Designer and artist Olivia Mears has used Taco Bell wrappers, painted card stock, tissue paper, and felt to make her own spin on Belle’s dress from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” She tells Thrillist: “I had already sewn the yellow ballgown without tacos several years earlier for children’s parties and it was during this time that someone snapped a photo of me while at Taco Bell and it ended up going viral. Fast-forward about three years and I landed a role in a Taco Bell commercial wearing another dress I made from wrappers, so I decided to bring the Belle dress out from storage and continue the legacy.” The dress, unfortunately for fans, isn’t available for sale. But Mears is selling signed photos of it on her AvantGeek Etsy page (Thrillist).

In other news: Facing growing scrutiny from donors and its own university, the University of Louisville Foundation is paying $11,500 a month in retainers for external public relations advice from two Louisville PR shops: RunSwitch Public Relations, led by political strategist Scott Jennings, and Tandem Public Relations, led by Sandra Frazier, according to WFPL; both contracts were extended as of Sept. 1. Frazier, a recently retired Brown-Forman director, was one of Gov. Matt Bevin‘s appointees to a newly reorganized UofL board of trustees (WFPL).

KFC puts $218M U.S. advertising media buying account up for grabs; Papa John’s loses Rupp Arena rights, and more drama engulfs UofL Foundation

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 3:23 p.m.

KFC is looking for more bang for its bucks in a just-launched review of its U.S. spending for advertising and marketing across all channels, including print, broadcast, digital and social media. The review, which in theory could end with the chicken-chain keeping its current agency for the work — ad and marketing giant WPP’s MEC unit — doesn’t include creative work now being done by Wieden & Kennedy since 2015; that agency is responsible for the current campaign of rotating actors and comedians portraying a resurrected Colonel Harland Sanders. KFC’s U.S. division said it’s looking for an agency “capable of deploying innovative media strategies while leveraging cost efficiencies and maximizing return on investment” (AdAge). KFC just launched its latest Sanders TV commercials, featuring a fictional Kentucky Buckets pro football team.

PAPA JOHN’S has given up concession rights at Rupp Arena in Lexington starting this fall, and will be replaced by Hunt Brothers Pizza (Herald-Leader).

jack-daniels-150th-anniversary-whiskeyBROWN-FORMAN‘s Jack Daniel’s has unveiled a new version to celebrate its major birthday this year: Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary Whiskey, which is priced around $100 per one-liter bottle (The Whiskey Wash). Jack Daniel’s is the top seller among Brown-Forman’s 19 brands of spirits and wine.

UPS: Utah is giving UPS $5 million in tax incentives for the shipper’s plan to build a $200 million regional package operations center at a yet-to-be-determined site in the state that will create nearly 200 jobs (Salt Lake Tribune). UPS is the single-biggest private employer in Louisville, with 22,000 workers at it Louisville International Airport hub.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE is opening a Bubba’s 33 in east of Dallas in Mesquite as the Louisville-based steakhouse chain expands its new sports bar division. First launched in Fayetteville, N.C., in 2013, there are now a dozen Bubba’s locations, including outlets in Houston and Waco (Culture Map Dallas).

In other news: the University of Louisville board of trustees, escalating its battle with the independent UofL Foundation, today approved a threat to sue the foundation unless it accedes to demands to clean up its act. Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Benz said as many as 70 donors have called the university over the past few days to say they won’t give any more money unless the foundation shows that it is “clean” (Courier-Journal). Those donors’ threats followed similar ones last week by the James Graham Brown Foundation and the C.E. & S. Foundation led by Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr.

David Jones Sr., his alma mater UofL, and the politics of money and power in Louisville

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

David Jones Sr

If there’s anything surprising about David A. Jones Sr. formally entering the high-stakes fray over the University of Louisville yesterday, it’s the fact it took this long to become public.

Nearly three months ago, when Gov. Matt Bevin shocked the community by seizing control of the school and dismissing the 20-member governing board he declared “dysfunctional,” the first person I thought of was Jones, the Louisville native, co-founder of Humana, and one of the state’s leading philanthropists.

That June 17, Bevin said his decision was the “culmination of all the conversations I’ve had with everybody on all fronts.” He didn’t reveal the names of those he’d spoken with, but it certainly would have included alumni whose opinion mattered. And few among that select group matters more than Jones.

“One of the university’s most influential and wealthiest graduates,” I wrote the day Bevin moved against the 22,000-student school, “is Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr., who received a bachelor’s degree in business there in 1954.”

Jones and his wife, Betty Ashbury Jones, have long and extensive ties to UofL. She received a bachelor’s degree from the school in 1955, and the two went on to graduate school: David to Yale Law; and Betty, much later, to the French School at Vermont’s Middlebury College. (More on those two schools in a moment). Back in Louisville, Jones and a law partner, Wendell Cherry, launched the health-care company in 1961 that would become the Humana empire, starting with a single nursing home; they became millionaires after it went public in 1968.

Betty and David Jones.
A Depression-poor childhood

David served on the board of trustees for a time, and Betty taught French Conversation in the Continuing Education Department from 1993 to 2003. For their service to the school, the couple were among the first to be made members of the Arts and Sciences Hall of Honors, in 2007.

David didn’t come from money, and UofL — which he attended on a ROTC scholarship Continue reading “David Jones Sr., his alma mater UofL, and the politics of money and power in Louisville”

In a sharp rebuke, JG Brown foundation asks whether UofL foundation funds were improperly diverted, threatens to cut off future gifts

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

The white-shoe world of philanthropy is usually collegial and rarely combative, which makes the $355 million James Graham Brown Foundation‘s public accusations yesterday against the University of Louisville Foundation so extraordinary.

The Brown foundation, which has given $72 million to the school over the past six decades, sent the broadside in a letter from Chairman and CEO R. Alex Rankin and President Mason Rummel, according to The Courier-Journal.

They expressed concern that “expenditures may have been made that were not exclusively for the charitable and educational purposes of the university,” or were not consistent with UofL rules barring donors, members or trustees from personally profiting from the UofL foundation, according to the CJ’s Andrew Wolfson.

Alex Rankin

Established in 1943, the Brown is second only to UofL’s among the city’s biggest philanthropic foundations based on asset size; UofL’s has about $820 million. That gives the Brown and Rankin extra clout, and could spur other big donors to also threaten funding cutoffs. Rankin is well-connected in the city’s power structure, sitting on the boards of Churchill Downs and Glenview Trust Co., where fellow directors have very strong UofL connections.

In their letter, Rankin and Rummel also said the Brown foundation is troubled the university hasn’t honored open- records requests from the chairman of the university’s board of trustees, Larry Benz, concerning UofL foundation accounting records, the CJ says.

Underscoring the gravity of their concerns, Rankin and Rummel threatened to cut off funding unless UofL hires a nationally recognized forensic accounting firm to review its finances. The specific request for a forensic accounting is striking because Continue reading “In a sharp rebuke, JG Brown foundation asks whether UofL foundation funds were improperly diverted, threatens to cut off future gifts”

PR exec Jennings says ‘bloodthirsty thought police’ chased Cobb off UofL board of trustees

A Louisville public relations executive and former advisor to Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell has attacked the news media for whipping up a “feeding frenzy” over controversial tweets by businessman Douglas Cobb that led to his withdrawing as one of Gov. Matt Bevin’s appointees to the new University of Louisville board of trustees.

In an op-ed piece in today’s Courier-Journal, Scott Jennings of RunSwitch PR writes:

Scott Jennings

“I don’t necessarily agree with some of Cobb’s tweets, which were breathlessly reported by the bloodthirsty thought police who turned his opinions on Christianity, global warming and sports into a shooting gallery at their ridiculous carnival. But Cobb has a right to express an opinion, and we should be mortified that our town’s unelected information gatekeepers are personally deciding not only who is fit to serve but what opinions disqualify someone from serving.”

Douglas Cobb

Cobb, a venture capitalist and former CEO of Greater Louisville Inc.’s predecessor organization, turned down his university board appointment July 12 , two weeks after news reports said he’d tweeted climate change was a hoax; evolution was for patsies, and “gay Christian” was an oxymoron. Cobb initially defended his views, but then deleted his Twitter account entirely.

Run Switch has been a University of Louisville Foundation vendor, according to the CJ. Jennings co-founded the agency in 2012. In addition to advising McConnell, he was a special assistant and deputy White House political director for President George W. Bush.

Ind. Kindred exec accused of child molestation found dead; layoffs hit Deutsch ad agency that lost Pizza Hut account; GE Firstbuild’s cold-brew coffee maker set for 2017 release

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 7:42 p.m.

KINDRED: The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office says Kindred Greenwood hospital CFO William Brenner was found dead inside his home near Indianapolis yesterday, 10 days after authorities accused him of molesting a 6-year-old boy he was fostering in 2014 and 2015.

William Brenner

Police say there was no evidence of a struggle and no weapons were found near the body. Investigators believe he may have had a medical episode and had died several days earlier. His body was found in a hallway and was badly decomposed (WIBC).

Brenner, 49, faced four counts of felony child molesting and one count of felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors, according to the Indianapolis Star. The Greenwood facility is one of Louisville-based Kindred’s 95 transitional care and rehabilitation hospitals. Greenwood is 12 miles south of Indianapolis.

Also today, Kindred said it would release its second-quarter financial results on Aug. 4 after stock markets close. The following day, it will host a teleconference with Wall Street analysts to discuss the report (press release).

In downtown Louisville, construction is picking up at Kindred’s new headquarters expansion at Broadway and Fourth streets after a relatively slow start. The $36 million project financed with substantial public incentives will add 142,000 square feet and around 500 new jobs. Plans also include around 7,000 square feet of restaurant space (Broken Sidewalk).

PIZZA HUT: Advertising agency Deutsch went through a round of layoffs at its Los Angeles office last week directly related to the loss of the Pizza Hut account last spring. A Deutsch spokesperson would say only that less than 2% of the L.A.-based team had been affected. Deutsch won the struggling Yum unit’s account two years ago and went on to create the agency’s debut campaign (which essentially said, “We’re Italian”); video, top. Last December, the pizza chain started shopping the account, eventually choosing the independent Droga5 agency in May — its fifth agency of record in six years. Multiple sources have told Adweek that Pizza Hut is not the world’s most agreeable client. It’s not yet clear when Droga5’s first work for the chain will appear (Adweek).


GE: A cold-brew coffeemaker developed by GE Appliances’ Firstbuild laboratory in Louisville is scheduled to reach the market next summer, after first passing through a crowdfunding round on IndieGoGo. The lab is using unconventional funding for the coffee maker, called Prisma, not so much as a financial requirement as it is an awareness-raising launchpad. “We believe crowdfunding is a great way to validate products with the early adopter community,” Firstbuild Senior Design Engineer Justin Brown told Daily Coffee News. The Prisma can make anywhere from five to 25 ounces of ready-to-drink cold coffee (Daily Coffee News).

AMAZON has reportedly fired one of its delivery men Continue reading “Ind. Kindred exec accused of child molestation found dead; layoffs hit Deutsch ad agency that lost Pizza Hut account; GE Firstbuild’s cold-brew coffee maker set for 2017 release”