Guided by a belief that well-told stories can inspire new ways of seeing the world, Kendeda invested in communications and media. This grantmaking played a central role in Kendeda's narrative change strategies. 

We invested in a range of media including radio, podcasting, television, print and digital news, documentary films, telenovelas, theater, and more.

Filmmaker, storyteller and Kendeda partner Jeff Orlowski-Yang

“The Kendeda Fund has had a major influence in the field of documentary films, having supported...films that shed light on the current situation in communities affected and uprooted by development. These films not only inform the global community, they also offer affected communities an opportunity to see themselves and their situation more clearly.”

—Key Findings and Recommendations from The Kendeda Fund’s 2023 Grantee Perception Report

Gun Violence Prevention

Addressing the Totality of America's Gun Violence Epidemic

Kendeda’s gun violence prevention funding looked beyond headlines — which too often focus on mass shootings and overlook deeper systemic causes and failures — to illuminate broader truths and solutions to this uniquely American public health crisis. 

Nearly one-third of our gun violence prevention funding supported new ways of framing and telling stories about America's relationship to firearms, all with an eye toward depolarizing the issue and finding shared solutions.

With deep, relentless reporting, The Trace provides new frames for understanding firearm violence and its root causes, while large storytelling initiatives like Guns and America, podcasts like Last Day or Extremely American, and documentary films like When Claude Got Shot challenged the public to understand our gun violence in a new way.

Serenity Capers and her son Rashard Jr. sit outside their home waiting for the school bus. Photo courtesy of The Trace.

Serenity Capers and her son Rashard Jr. sit outside their home waiting for the school bus. (Courtesy of The Trace)

N'Kosi Barber manages Project Fire, a trauma recovery program for young victims of gun violence at Chicago's Firebird Community Arts. Akilah Townsend for The Trace

Reframing Child Marriage

From "Age to Agency"

Kendeda’s Girls' Rights grantee partners used multiple strategies to reframe opportunities for girls around gaining agency versus using age to determine capabilities and rights. 

The American Jewish World Service, CARE International, the Global Fund for WomenGirls First Fund and FRIDA Young Feminists Fund all developed programs that led with girls’ agency. The Short film, After My Garden Grows, and radio serial dramas produced by Population Media Center brought this narrative to light.

Control and regulation of sexuality – in particular adolescent girls’ sexuality – is a critical and often unaddressed manifestation of gender inequality that exists in different cultural contexts and communities around the world. For adolescent girls, restrictions on sexuality are exacerbated by age and gender, which are key dimensions of inequality. Adolescent girls usually lack power and agency over their own lives and are often highly constrained in their ability to make decisions for themselves. In order to ensure narrative shifting efforts around ending child, early and forced marriage and unions (CEFMU) were rooted in shared points of view and sound strategy, Kendeda supported deep research, including "Tackling the Taboo: Sexuality and gender-transformative programs to end child, early, and forced marriage and unions."

Read "Tackling the Taboo"

FRIDA | Young Feminist Fund

PMC Celebrates International Day of the Girl: Santa's Story

Advocating for an Equitable Atlanta

Equity as a Path for Leadership

Kendeda’s Atlanta Equity portfolio has been a pivotal part of reinvorgating the conversation around racial equity in Atlanta, especially in the philanthropic sector.

Working with the “Justice League” of core grantee partners, Kendeda’s Atlanta Equity lead explicitly addressed the Black wealth gap, racial disparities, and chronic disinvestment in Black community leadership. Support for Canopy brought local storytelling to the city’s equity work, while funding documentaries like Maynard reminded us of the powerful legacy of Atlanta’s first Black Mayor.

The Canopy Atlanta: The Cost of Living - a Housing Project

Canopy Atlanta’s Journalism Fellowship and Reporting Residency

Environmental Media

Redefining "Prosperity" as Shared Well-Being

Kendeda’s environmental funding explores how communities who have agency over their assets and the capacity to create shared wealth bring a new kind of prosperity and well-being.

Grantee partners like PUSH Buffalo, The Industrial Commons, Climate Justice Alliance, and Emerald Cities Collaborative demonstrate that redefining prosperity leads to more vibrant places to live, greater resourcefulness in hard times, and the capacity to generate wealth that stays in communities. 

Rise Home Stories Project, Working Films, and Grist lead as some of the keystone storytellers that help amplify this and others’ work and ultimately shift the narrative.

Impact Campaigns & Documentary Film

From 2016 to 2023, Kendeda partnered with the Sundance Institute to provide guidance around its documentary film and impact grants. Working with the Sundance team, Kendeda had an opportunity to witness the increasingly sophisticated ways that filmmakers are developing and implementing impact campaigns, and changing attitudes and behaviors in the process.  

Maria Lopez (center) from the short film, The Sacrifice Zone, Directed by Julie Winokur, part of the Working Films Redesigning Recovery film short series