John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation

OVERVIEW: This Corpus Christi-based funder focuses most of its efforts on Catholic education in South Texas. But 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 aren’t awarded as much as religious groups.

PROFILE: The John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation was established in 1960 by Sarita Kenedy East, in memory of her parents, to support Catholic education, charity, and religious activities in Texas. The main geographic area of interest for this funder has been South Texas and the Corpus Christi area. It currently supports work to break the cycle of poverty, enable self-sufficiency, and in Catholic institutions and faith development. It also values learning, spirituality, respect, and collaborative partnerships.

The Kenedy Foundation Ranch is about an hour from Corpus Christi and owned by the foundation. It's a popular place for hunting, fishing, and cattle grazing. You can learn more about the sections of the ranch, including information about wildlife, average annual harvest quotas, and camp facilities, here. The foundation’s assets are derived from the operations on the ranch and from managing its investment portfolio. The Kenedy Ranch Museum of South Texas is located in the tiny town of Sarita and is a place to learn about the family’s ranching, railroad, land development and oil industry involvement.

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. Sectarian grants are awarded up to $50,000, and non-sectarian grants up to $25,000. All funds must be used within 12 months and all grants must be used exclusively within Texas.

Grant applications are considered by the board in May of each year, but to be considered for that deadline, you must get your application submitted by October 15 of the previous year. To get started, take their eligibility quiz. Online applications are encouraged, but mailed applications are accepted as well. In addition to grants, nonprofits can also apply for fundraising support up to $5,000.

General questions can be directed to the foundation staff at 361-887-6565 or via online form. Check the funder’s Announcements page for updates related to grant application deadlines.


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)