Welcome to the Kenney Brothers Foundation. Created by a merger in 2008 of the Jay Kenney Foundation and the William C. Kenney Watershed Foundation, the new organization reflects and honors four generations of Kenney Brothers over three centuries. The first set of brothers manufactured window screens and school desksdesks in Winchendon and Weston, MA between 1844 and 1955. The third generation, Jay and Wick, founded the predecessors to the Kenney Brothers Foundation. The fourth generation includes Clayton and Duncan, both now active board members.*

Two funds currently make up the foundation: the Wick Kenney Fund and the Jay Kenney Fund.

*The furniture clan included: Horace, Sr., William, Frederick, Winthrop, and Elizabeth, shown in a 1918 picture with their parents Charles and Clara. Horace, Sr. had a son, and a daughter. The son, Horace, Jr., is a long-term board member and past president of the Sippican Lands Trust, Marion, MA, www.sippicanlandstrust.org.

End of an Era

The Kenney Brothers Foundation came into existence in 1994 upon the death of Wick Kenney, a passionate kayaker and an outspoken environmentalist. Over the course of 20 years the foundation, first as the William Kenney Foundation and then as the Kenney Brothers Foundation, distributed more than $7,000,000 to groups across the west fighting to protect rivers from development, diversion, pollution, over-allocation, and dams.  As of 2014, those original funds have been exhausted. The resources Wick left were never meant to be self-perpetuating.He expected the foundation to fund itself out of existence and it has. Zoom Flume, circa 1992.

The Kenney Brothers Foundation will continue to make small grants in a variety of areas. Its priorities and interests will continue to include western water issues but will not be limited to that area. As a result, we will no longer be accepting unsolicited letters of inquiry or funding proposals. We expect to continue to fund groups through the Save the Colorado Foundation (the coalition of New Belgium, Patagonia, and Keene). We will also ask groups we’ve funded in the past and that are doing important work to stay in touch. We will fund those groups as we can, although at a much smaller level than before. In the past, KBF was able to dedicate between $250,000 to $500,000 exclusively to western water issues. Sadly, those days are done even at a time when the pressures on our rivers are as great as ever. On behalf of the past board members and staff of the Wick Kenney Foundation and on behalf of the current KBF board, thank you to the many great organizations we’ve funded or wanted to fund, and more importantly to the incredibly dedicated and hard working individuals who have devoted hours, careers, and lives to protecting rivers in the west. We are grateful for all that you’ve done and have been privileged to support your work.

2013 Grants

Grants were made in 2013 to the following organizations.

Group Location Area
Living Rivers Utah J. Waterman Support
Community Foundation of Northern Colorado Colorado Colorado River
Western Resource Advocates Colorado General Support
Sonoran Institute Arizona General Support
San Juan Citizens Alliance Colorado Dolores River
American Whitewater Montana General Support
Colorado Mountain Club Colorado Backcountry Quiet
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council Colorado Wolf Creek
Northern Plains Resource Council Montana General Support
American Whitewater Colorado General Support
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Alaska General Support
Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center California Northern Yosemite
Idaho Conservation League Idaho Statewide
Western Rivers Conservancy Colorado Yampa + Little Cimarron
High Country News Colorado Media

Notice–New Grant Process

Effective July 1, 2013 (the conclusion of the first 2013 grant cycle), the Kenney Brothers Foundation will no longer accept unsolicited letters of inquiry or grant proposals. We’ve come to this decisions reluctantly as the foundation has always had an open policy with respect to LOIs and proposals. Over the last 4 years, the number of LOIs we receive has increased dramatically. We speculate that this is the result of both the recession and the small number of foundations that make grants specifically for western water work. We regret we do not have the resources to be able to review and respond to this influx of proposals and LOIs. All existing multi-year commitments will be honored.

In the future, we will consider only those proposals we have invited; we will not consider unsolicited proposals. We will make contact with those groups we think will fit our mission and values. We will note these changes here and in our grant guidelines.

Grants Announced

The Kenney Brothers Foundation is pleased to announce its grants for the second half of 2012. As always, we appreciate the interest and enthusiasm of the many groups that applied for a grant this year. We also appreciate your patience with our streamlined and relatively simple process. Our process requires very little in terms of time and expense on the grantee side. By the same token, we try to keep administrative expenses to a minimum by operating with a ghost staff, no office, and no official phone so that 99.5% of our available funds can be distributed to groups such as yours.

Kenney Brothers Foundation does not require any formal contracts, reporting or written acknowledgement of the grant. We specifically ask that you not send us hard copy grant reports. The same goes for fancy annual reports, newsletters, presents, pins, badges, t-shirts or bumper stickers. Seriously! Save your money for the work you’re doing. Sending that kind of material to me does not improve your chances of renewing a grant in the coming year, it just clutters up our mailbox and creates work for the local recycling team. Smart groups will stay in touch and send any necessary acknowledgement via e-mail, jay[at]kenneybrosfdn.org. We are happy to read anything you send my way when I have time.

Listed below are the grantees for the Wick Fund. If you submitted a letter of inquiry and your group is not on this list, we were unable to find enough funds to support your group and wish you the best of luck finding funding elsewhere.  There is never enough money to meet the needs of all the good groups that apply for support. Please send me an email if you have any questions. Thanks for doing the work that you do. We hope the people and groups around you appreciate that work as much as we do.

Name Location Area
American Whitewater Colorado Statewide
High Country News Western States Media
Greater Yellowstone Coalition Montana General Support
Wild Earth Guardians New Mexico General Support
Colorado Mountain Club Colorado Backcountry Quiet
Western Rivers Conservancy Colorado Yampa + Little Cimarron
Friends of the River California Merced
Center for Biological Diversity Utah Virgin
Wild Utah Utah Escalante
Idaho Conservation League Idaho Statewide
Freshwater Trust Oregon General Support
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Alaska General Support
Soda Mountain Wilderness Council Oregon General Support
Working Dogs for Conservation Montana Statewide
Arizona Wilderness Coalition Arizona Upper Verde
Advocates for the West Idaho Litigation
Tuolumne River Trust California Tuolumne
Klamath Siskiyou Wild Oregon Statewide
Lands Council Washington Beaver Project
Trust for Public Land Colorado General Support
PCL Foundation California SFO Bay Delta
Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners California Tulare Basin
Sierra Fund California Abandoned Mines
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council Colorado Wolf Creek
WaterWatch Oregon Oregon John Day River
Los Padres ForestWatch California Sisquoc River

Grants Announced–June 2012

I’m pleased to announce our grants for the first half of the year. The following groups were selected to receive grants from the Wick Fund and/or the Jay Fund of the Kenney Brothers Foundation. Checks will be issued immediately. If you submitted a letter of inquiry and your group is not on this list, we were unable to find enough funds to support your group and wish you the best of luck finding funding elsewhere.  Please send me an email if you have any questions.


AquaAlliance Chico, CA
Center for Justice Spokane Riverkeeper Spokane, WA
Clark Fork Coalition Missoula,  MT
Colorado Environmental Coalition Denver, CO
Colorado Water Trust Denver, CO
CSERC Twain Harte, CA
C-WIN Santa Barbara, CA
Earth Law Center Fremont, CA
Friends of the Teton River Driggs, ID
Orange County Coastkeeper Costa Mesa, CA
Rocky Mtn Wild Denver, CO
Russian Riverkeeper Healdsburg, CA
San Juan Citizens Alliance Durango, CA
Save The Colorado Fort Collins, CA
The City Project Los Angeles, CA
TU Western Water Project Boulder, CO
Western Colo Congress Grand Junction, CA
Western Environmental Law Center Eugene, OR
Western Resource Advocates Boulder, CO

Grants Announced

The Kenney Brothers Foundation is pleased to announce their grants for the second half of 2011. Checks have been cut and will be mailed by week’s end. Please see the past grantees page for a complete listing of grants made. The list represents grants from both the Wick Fund and the Jay Fund. As is our custom, we do not have nor require any formal reporting process, but are always pleased to learn by email of progress, success, and even failure. All grants made were discretionary grants and ranged in size from $500 to $10,000.

Charles “Chip” Kenney

The Kenney Brothers Foundation mourns the death of Chip Kenney, founding and long-time board member of the William C. Kenney Watershed Protection Foundation. Chip, 53, died December 7, 2011, at his home in Kenwood, CA. Chip was born March 4, 1958 in Rhode Island to Horace and Helen (Kendall) Kenney, the fourth of five children. He graduated from the University of Denver in 1980, and in 1985 followed his love of nature and sports to the California coast, where he lived until his passing. He was a lover of animals and his family and enjoyed woodworking and growing organic fruit. He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Judith Kenney, daughter Theresa Kenney, father Horace Kenney, and siblings Chad Kenney, Jay Kenney, and Susanna Russo. He was preceded in death by his mother, Helen Kenney, and his brother, William (Wick) Kenney. Memorial Contributions may be sent to NORCAL Golden Retriever Rescue, 405 El Camino Real #420, Menlo Park, CA 94025-5240.


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