About the Frances Hollis Brain Foundation

The Frances Hollis Brain Foundation was a charitable family foundation whose mission was to support non-profit organizations and projects that alleviate human suffering and improve the human condition.

Frances and David Brain established the Foundation in 1993 as a tangible expression of their values. They believed that those who are blessed with resources have a responsibility to share them with those who are less fortunate. Through the Foundation, they sought with their family to address their social concerns and to encourage future generations of the family to participate in the charitable work of the Foundation.

The Foundation focused its efforts in Kentucky, Georgia, and Maine.

Effective January 2017, the Frances Hollis Brain Foundation, Inc. transferred its assets to three community foundations where it will continue to support its mission through donor advised funds.

About the David and Frances Brain   


David was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 4, 1922, to David Lorenzo Brain, Sr. and Sophia Hilliger Brain. In high school, he met Frances Hollis who became his sweetheart and future wife.

 In 1952 David graduated magna cum laude from Baldwin Wallace University while studying days and working nights to support Frances and his daughters. The family moved to Boston where David attended Harvard Business School on the GI bill graduating in 1954 with a Masters in Business Administration. The family moved to Baltimore where they lived for seven years and then to Kentucky where they maintained their primary residence, first in Louisville and then in Lexington, until 2010.

 David’s professional career was in the insurance industry. Following his graduation from Harvard he joined Monumental Life Insurance Company. In 1962, he joined Kentucky Central Life Insurance Company and became President in 1973. After retiring from Kentucky Central he was the founding President of CompDent (later American Dental Plan) an insurance and management services firm that pioneered prepaid dental insurance coverage for businesses. In recognition of his professional achievement and leadership, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree by Baldwin Wallace University.

 In later years, David wanted his life to be a balance of family, community, church, and self. David gave abundantly of his time, talent and treasure in each area. His love, support and care for Frances was obvious to all who knew them. He placed a high priority on spending time with Frances, their children and grandchildren. He gave of his time and talent to many organizations including the United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and Junior Achievement. He was founder and President of the Frances Hollis Brain Foundation; and he established the David Brain Leadership Program (later the David and Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement) at Baldwin Wallace University to teach and mentor undergraduates in leadership skills and promote the understanding that it is the responsibility of all leaders to give of themselves to enhance their communities. He established scholarship funds at both Baldwin Wallace University and Asbury Theological Seminary. He attended First Methodist Church where he taught Sunday school, and encouraged his children to be active members of the church.

David passed away on February 2, 2016.


Frances Hollis Brain was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 27, 1922, to Frank Joseph Hollis and Theresa Wagner Hollis. Separately, at the age of 12 and unaccompanied by their families, Frank and Theresa had emigrated to the United States from small villages in the former Yugoslavia. They each eventually settled in Cleveland, where they met and married in 1918, and had two daughters, Frances and Evelyn. The two sisters grew up in a close-knit German-speaking community that provided love, support, and a strong sense of identity.

Frances met her future husband, David, while in high school.  She graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and then attended Baldwin Wallace College. Frances and David married in 1944, while David was serving in the U.S. Army, and had two daughters, Nancy and Diane. In 1952, Frances and David and their young family left Cleveland for David complete his education and build his career. Over the course of their lifetime they lived in Boston, Baltimore, and Kentucky.

 Wherever Frances lived, she developed close friendships that remained strong and were important to her throughout her life. She wholeheartedly embraced her role as wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, and community leader. She was a devoted member of First United Methodist Church in Lexington for 47 years. She also held leadership positions at a number of organizations including the Arnett Pritchett committee of the Lexington YWCA, the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, the Central Kentucky Women’s Club, the Lexington Women’s Club, RSVP, and the Voluntary Action Board. She was a life-time member of the Girl Scouts, leading troops in which her daughters, and later her granddaughter were members.

Frances passed away in December, 2012.


Frances and David had a strong and loving partnership throughout their 68-year marriage. David always credited his personal and professional successes to Frances’ love, guidance, and support. In 1993, David set up a private charitable foundation and named it the Frances Hollis Brain Foundation in honor of Frances and her parents.