As we prepare to wind down the Kendeda Fund’s work at the end of 2023, we are thrilled to share this original podcast with our grantee partners and philanthropy colleagues. Each of the nine episodes in Stories from the Kendeda Fund chronicles a different aspect of the Fund’s 30-year philanthropic journey, one in which our founder, Diana Blank, invested in transformative leaders and ideas in pursuit of a more just and equitable world.

Cover art for ‘Stories from the Kendeda Fund’

As reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy: “Long before MacKenzie Scott’s billion-dollar giving spree made ‘trust based philanthropy’ a buzzword, Diana Blank followed her instincts and put a lot of faith in her grantees… She bankrolled some for decades, eschewing grant cycles, elaborate theories of change, onerous grant applications and data-insistent impact measures. Indeed, Blank’s story may be as important for how she went about her philanthropy as for what it accomplished.”

These informative and entertaining stories give life to those words. They are designed to lift up some of the causes we pursued and honor the organizations and individuals leading the work. They also provide some insight into how we worked and the motivations and values of our founder. We invite you to listen to the entire season on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can also link directly to individual episodes using the links below.

Episode 1 – Family: Dena & Diana

Blessed with wealth she never envisioned having, Diana Blank began a remarkable and unconventional philanthropic journey in the early 1990s. Ten years ago her daughter, Dena Kimball, joined Diana on that journey. In this opening episode, mother and daughter sit down for an intimate, at times hilarious, discussion about The Kendeda Fund’s origins, what it means to give away more than $1 billion, and the impact that Diana’s philanthropy has made over the past 30 years. Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Episode 2 – Towards Equity: A Grove Park Story

Atlanta, Georgia is home to tremendous promise and opportunity. It is also the number one city for income inequality in America. The Grove Park neighborhood embodies many of the challenges of this pernicious racial wealth gap and many of the solutions needed to reverse it. What does it take to build healthy, equitable and vibrant communities where all families can thrive and succeed? And how can philanthropy play a role in helping achieve that vision? Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Episode 3 – Regenerative Design: Atlanta’s Greenest Building

Sitting prominently on the campus of Georgia Tech, The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design stands as the greenest commercial building in the Southeast. Opened in 2019, it is the first building in Georgia to earn Living Building Challenge certification, the world’s most ambitious and holistic green building achievement. Welcome to the future of the built environment, a place of learning, wonder and inspiration! Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Episode 4 – Narrative Change: The Power and Impact of Documentary Film

Film holds a unique power to change the way we understand the world. This lively conversation between two long-time Kendeda Fund grantees (former Sundance Film Festival director Tabitha Jackson award-winning documentary filmmaker Jeff Orlowski-Yang) examines the confluence of art, ideas and social change – with useful lessons for experienced media funders, emerging philanthropists, and film buffs everywhere. Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Episode 5 – Community Wealth Building: The Industrial Commons

Morganton, North Carolina has a rich manufacturing history dating back multiple generations. But that history has been challenged in recent years by cycles of outsourcing and job loss, leaving many workers stranded. Turning challenge into opportunity, Kendeda Grantee The Industrial Commons is building on Morganton’s existing infrastructure while creating a new economic model that keeps resources and knowledge in the local community. Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Episode 6 – Healing in Nature: Warriors & Quiet Waters

Colonel Eric Hastings is a veteran who spent much of his life turning to the outdoors for healing, during and after many years in active military service. On the Quiet Waters Ranch in Bozeman, Montana, Hastings and his team help post-9/11 combat veterans find peace and reintegrate into daily life. It was on this ranch where Colonel Hastingsand the Kendeda Fund’s founder, Diana Blank, spent time together sharing stories about their pasts and talking about their own relationships with nature and healing. Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Episode 7 – Voices of Resilience: Pursuing Truth, Justice, and Healing in Indian Country

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States government ran or supported more than 400 boarding schools designed to erase Nativeculture. Students endured rampant abuse. Hundreds of deaths went unreported and unprosecuted. It is a horrific chapter in our shared history. The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is committed to understanding and addressing the ongoing trauma created by the policies that separated Indigenous children from their families. This is a story of people and culture persevering in the face of institutional eradication efforts. Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Episode 8 – Spending Out: Giving While Living

At the end of 2023, the Kendeda Fund will complete a philanthropic journey spanning thirty years and more than $1 billion of charitable giving. With its departure, Kendeda joins a small but growing list of foundations opting to sunset rather than continue in perpetuity. This episode pulls back the curtain to reveal why Kendeda chose to wind down its work, what it took to pull it off, and what that choice means in a world riven by complex, existential threats like climate change, gun violence, racial and economic inequality. Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Episode 9 – Diana Memories: I Wonder What This Will Be Like?

In this final bonus episode, members of the Kendeda Fund’s small team reflect on the values, spirit, humor, and wisdom that motivated philanthropist Diana Blank and guided her unconventional approach to giving. Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Stories from the Kendeda Fund was produced by Wonder Media Network. Executive Producers are Dena Kimball and David Brotherton. Copyright 2023, The Kendeda Fund.