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frequently asked questions

What is Derby Diversity Week (DDW)? 

Derby Diversity Week is a business conference by day and a festival by night hosted in Louisville, KY. This event is designed to link global business leaders, employees, and entrepreneurs with the intended outcome of expanding networks, learning best practices, sharing real stories, and having fun together during the week of the Kentucky Derby. With a goal to attract 600 attendees by day and over 1,000 at night, DDW is a unique experience that offers individuals and companies the opportunity to showcase and connect to grow awareness around diversity and establish equity for all. 

The week preceding the first Saturday in May, known to those in the know as "Derby Week," attracts more than 1.5 million visitors to Louisville, KY - making it a premier spot to meet business and community leaders, celebrities, politicians, and just about everyone who is anyone. People come together to enjoy numerous related galas, parties, and concerts.  

But for too long, minorities have not had easy access to all the Derby season has to offer, despite having had a long historical contribution. Of the first fifteen Derby races, thirteen were won by Black sportsmen. They were then banished from the sport, destroying income streams for many Black families committed to the horse racing industry. Across decades, the Latinx community has made outstanding but unheralded contributions to the sport, including roles in backside maintenance and as prominent jockeys. 

We believe that Derby Week is more than just a place and time. It's an opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally. A chance to not only make beautiful memories to cherish and have a fantastic amount of fun but to connect with people that can truly enrich your life in so many ways.   

DDW is the vehicle that allows us to participate and make an impact our way. With business by day and festival by night.  

Our foundation is 100% Black-founded and predominantly Black-led. 


Who does DDW benefit? 


Global Economic Diversity Development Initiative (GEDDI) 

The Global Economic Diversity Development Initiative (GEDDI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation seeking donations to afford its fund development arm the ability to make grants to nonprofit and for-profit recipients focused on building economic wealth for the Black community. GEDDI began operations in August 2020 and is continuing to build its capacity to become the leader in funding Black business development. 


How can I get involved? 

Volunteer A great way to see all of the action from behind the scenes, while helping to promote + craft a welcoming environment with Diversity at its core! 

Become a Sponsor! There is a plethora of events to tap into as a sponsor and attendee.  

DDW Events and Activities – Click link to view the Derby Diversity Week 2023 schedule at a glance.  

Buy tickets Designed for attendees to network, receive professional development, and scale entrepreneurial endeavors, Derby Diversity Week has fast become an essential weeklong series of events for people of every background to attend and participate.  

We have three main ticket types and several a la carte options: 

  • Summit Tickets – Daytime Programming

  • Summit Fest Tickets - Day Time Programming + Nighttime Programming

  • ** Summit Fest Elite – Day Time Programming + Nighttime Programming + Official Oaks and Derby Elite Experiences


A la carte experiences:  

  • DDW Marketplace: The Marketplace is typically open Tuesday – Thursday, and is FREE and open to the public.  

  • Ideathon: A two-day pitch contest for entrepreneurs. This event is FREE and open to the public, 2024 dates TBA. 

  • Fashion Show: This fashion extravaganza usually takes place on Tuesday of Derby Diversity Week.  This is a ticketed event, and is also included with a Summit + Fest or Summit + Fest Elite pass. 

  • Block Party: The Brims Bowties and Bourbon Block Party takes place on Wednesday of Derby Diversity Week.  This event is FREE and open to the public! 

  • DDW Awards: Celebrate leaders in diversity on Thursday of Derby Diversity Week.  This is a ticketed event, and also included with a Summit + Fest or Summit + Fest Elite pass. 

  • Wig + Kicks: Celebrate your LGBTQIA+ Pride on Thursday of Derby Diversity Week.  This is a ticketed event, and also included with a Summit + Fest or Summit + Fest Elite pass.

  • Sneaker Ball: Dress your best, and pair it with your best kicks on Thursday of Derby Diversity Week.  This is a ticketed event, and also included with a Summit + Fest or Summit + Fest Elite pass. 

  • Primp + Play: Get primped and ready for your Oaks and Derby activities on Friday and Saturday of Derby Week.  Free to any DDW pass holders. 


Host hotels and other lodging options


Marriott Downtown - 280 W. Jefferson Louisville, Ky 40202 +1 502-627-5045 (The Official DDW Host Hotel)  

  • Connected to the Kentucky International Convention Center, Louisville Marriott Downtown is located in the heart of the action. 

Towneplace Suites - 801 W. Jefferson Street Louisville, Ky 40202 +1 502-754-6100 

  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott® is an upscale, extended-stay brand where you can balance work and life as you like, with the comfort, flexibility and affordability you require. We are conveniently located downtown near the major local attractions and also adjacent to the on and off ramp of the main interstate, I-64. The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of the popular local attractions in the downtown area and only 4 miles from Churchill Downs and The Kentucky Derby Museum. 

Fairfield Inn + Suites - 100 E. Jefferson Louisville, Ky 40202 +1 502-569-3553 

  • Within walking distance of countless Downtown Louisville hot spots, Fairfield Inn & Suites Louisville Downtown offers unparalleled access to the Kentucky International Convention Center, 4th Street Live! and the Muhammad Ali Center. Additionally, just a short drive away, you'll find such beloved attractions as the Louisville Zoo and Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.  

Courtyard Louisville Downtown - 100 South Second Street Louisville, Ky 40202 +1 502-562-0200 

  • The Courtyard Downtown Louisville boasts the friendly service and amenities such as the complimentary shuttle service to and from Louisville International Airport. Located on Whiskey Row, at the corner of 2nd and Main Street, the hotel is just steps from KFC Yum! Center and Kentucky International Convention Center. Just a short drive further and you'll find Churchill Downs, home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby.  


Where can I eat? 

Places downtown and not far from the Kentucky International Convention Center 







Airport Information with Directions to the Marriott 


Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) - Hotel direction: 12.9 km N (P)  

(502) 368-6524 This hotel does not provide a shuttle service.  

  • Alternative transport: R&R Limousine (800-582-5576) or Xtreme Transportation (812-246-2235); fee: 75.25 USD (one way) reservation required  


Driving directions  

  • From Louisville International: Take 264 East one mile to I-65 North. Travel about 6 miles to Brook Street exit. Turn left onto Jefferson. The hotel entrance is immediately to the left on Jefferson Street. 


Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) - Hotel direction: 154.5 km SW 

This hotel does not provide a shuttle service.  


Driving directions  

  • Take Interstate 71 South to Louisville. Exit onto Interstate 65 South towards Nashville. Take first exit on right, Jefferson Street. Hotel 3 blocks ahead on left.  

Blue Grass Airport - Lexington (LEX) - Hotel direction: 128.8 km W (P) +1 859-425-3100 

This hotel does not provide a shuttle service.  


Driving directions  

  • From 4000 Terminal Dri, Lexington Ky 40510, take Interstate I-64 W heading to Louisville. Follow I-64 W to E Jefferson, take exit 5A from I-64 W, merge onto E Jefferson St – hotel is 3 blocks ahead on left.  


Contact Us!  

  • Have a question you did not see answered? Reach out HERE + let’s see how we can vibe together! 

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