John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation

OVERVIEW: The John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation is a Corpus Christi-based funder focuses most of its efforts on Catholic education in South Texas. However, at least 10 percent of annual grants go to secular groups as well.

FUNDING AREAS: Catholic education, poverty, self-sufficiency

IP TAKE: The most likely way for secular grantseekers to catch this funder’s attention is with an idea to break the cycle of poverty. But know that grantees without a Catholic affiliation are not typically awarded as much as religious groups.

PROFILE: Established in 1960, the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation is the foundation of Sarita Kenedy East, who founded it in memory of her parents to support Catholic education, charity, and religious activities in South Texas. Core foundation values are breaking the cycle of poverty, developing the Catholic faith, supporting Catholic institutions, and fostering respect and cooperation. It currently supports anti-poverty work, programs that enable self-sufficiency, and Catholic institutions for faith development. It also values learning, spirituality, respect, and collaborative partnerships.

This is a funder that looks to create "ripple effects" with grantmaking by spreading the benefits of its money beyond the grantee and into the greater community. It also provides seed money grants. Although Catholic charities receive most of Kenedy’s support, at least 10 percent of annual distributions go to non-sectarian groups with no church affiliation. Still, Catholic education has been the funder’s top priority in recent years. It has been providing tuition assistance grants to local schools since 2004 and since branched out to other Texas dioceses and even Catholic and public universities.

The foundation awards sectarian grants up to $50,000, and non-sectarian grants up to $25,000. It does not provide an online grants database, but it does share a breakdown of how it awards grants by category. The main geographic area of interest for this funder has been South Texas and the Corpus Christi area. All funds must be used within 12 months and all grants must be used exclusively within Texas.

The foundation considers new grant applications in May of each year, but to be considered for that deadline, nonprofits must get their applications submitted by October 15 of the previous year. To get started, take the eligibility quiz. The funder accepts online applications, but it accepts mailed applications as well. In addition to grants, nonprofits can also apply for fundraising support up to $5,000. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at 361-887-6565 or via online form.

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