The Kentucky Coalition is the educational and research arm of the left-of-center organizing group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC). The Coalition was founded in 1984, three years after KFTC. It “provides financial support” for KFTC’s “charitable and educational activities.” In the past, KFTC’s activities have included lobbying Obama administration Federal agency officials, conducting “environmental justice tours” of Kentucky for Democratic legislators, and participating in environmentalist protests in Kentucky and Washington, D.C.
History and Background
In 1981 following the publication of the Appalachian Land Ownership Study, environmentalists in eastern Kentucky launched an advocacy organization named the Kentucky Fair Tax Coalition, which would later rename itself Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. The organization’s first activities included running a “Tax Workshop,” focusing on developing a strategy to advocate for environmentalist tax policies in Kentucky.
In 1983, the organization shifted its focus to include education and water policy. In 1984, the Kentucky Coalition was established as the educational and research arm of the organization.  Its activities include organizing campaigns and public policy advocacy in Kentucky, the southern United States, and Appalachia. It is the fiscal agent for KFTC, and “provides financial support” for KFTC’s “charitable and educational activities.” 
According to its 2017 990 filing with the Internal Revenue Service, the Coalition spent a total of $8,417 lobbying from 2014 to 2017.  In the four years prior to that period, according to its 2013 filing, the coalition spent $68,885 from 2009 to 2013. 
The following individuals are either board members or directors of the Kentucky Coalition: 
- Meta Mendel Reyes, Chair
- Randy Wilson, Vice Chair
- Leslie McBride, Director
- Megan Naseman, Director
- Alan Smith, Director
- Burt Lauderdale, Executive Director
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
The Coalition’s parent organization is Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a left-of-center organizing and advocacy group focusing on environmental issues, originally founded by environmentalists in 1981 as the Kentucky Fair Tax Coalition. In the decades after its founding, the Coalition adopted its present name and expanded its area of focus to include advocacy efforts related to education, labor union-backed employment policy, and regulations restricting political advocacy.  In 1984, KFTC founded the Coalition as its education and research arm. Like, the Coalition, its executive Director is Burt Lauderdale. 
Some of KFTC’s notable advocacy activities include meeting, in 2010, nearly 20 times with the Obama administration’s federal agencies to lobby for increased enforcement of mining and water protection laws. In that vein, in 2011, over a dozen members of KFTC held a sleep-in at the state capitol building during the weekend preceding KFTC’s I Love Mountains Day to protest the governor’s alleged friendliness to the coal industry. Following the protest, Governor Steve Beshear (D) visited with KFTC members in several eastern Kentucky communities.  Similarly, during that year, KFTC hosted nine Environmental Protection Agency officials for an “environmental justice tour of eastern Kentucky.” 
In 2014, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, a left-of-center philanthropic organization started by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco heiress Mary Reynolds Babcock, provided a $300,000 grant to the Kentucky Coalition in order to support “general operations.”  A number of other liberal foundations, among them the Ford Foundation, The Chorus Inc., the New World Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund, and the Marguerite Casey Foundation have also made six-figure contributions to the Kentucky Coalition.