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Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation


Last profile update: 11/02/2017
Last grant data update: 06/16/2018

At A Glance

Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation

1133 19th St NW Fl 11

Washington, DC United States 20036-3604

Telephone: (202) 393-1250


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor






Incorporated in 1946 in DC - Founded by the late Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, parents of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and United States Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Edward Kennedy, as a memorial to their eldest son, Joseph Jr., who was killed in action during World War II. In the 1960s, the foundation focused national attention on the problem of mental retardation through grants for research, treatment, and education programs. In response to their concern for the needs of children with mental retardation, the Kennedys initiated broad support for recreational activities, including seed money for day camps and the creation of the Special Olympics, Inc., a worldwide program designed to provide opportunities for sports training and athletic competition for individuals with mental retardation. In the 1970's, the foundation developed a major interest in the legal, social, and ethical issues posed by scientific discoveries in the life sciences (now known as bioethics). In the 1980's, the foundation's concerns extended to include the social, educational, moral, clinical, and health needs of pregnant adolescents, their infants, and their families. Current focus is on state of the art services and support for people with mental retardation and their families, including housing and education

Purpose and Activities

The foundation's main objectives are the prevention of mental retardation by identifying its causes and improving means by which society deals with its mentally retarded citizens. Emphasis on the use of funds in areas where a multiplier effect is possible. Fellowships limited to four one-year Washington, DC-based Kennedy Foundation Public Policy Leadership Fellows.