Kara Kennedy lived her life with dedication to public service and to her children. Kara was a loyal friend and thoughtful leader, who, for 51 years, possessed an insightful mind, a generous heart and a lively sense of humor!
The Kara Kennedy Fund is a donor fund housed at the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Its mission is to support programs that honor Kara Kennedy’s commitment to public service, literacy, children and her lifelong passion for swimming. We found a wonderful outlet for the expression of this mission in Horizons Greater Washington.
The Horizons program, which originated in Connecticut, provides academic, cultural and recreational programs designed to empower economically disadvantaged students to realize their full potential. They have had tremendous success in reversing the gap in educational outcomes by providing a six-week summer and Saturday school year program of intensive learning and support.
On the average, Horizons students have a high school graduation rate of nearly 100% and 85% go on to attend college. The retention rate for students in the Horizons program (from the summer after kindergarten through the summer after 8th grade) is approximately 84%. Students gain 2-3+ months of math and reading skills each summer and are also inspired to take on new challenges exploring music, theatre, art, and swimming — a cornerstone of their daily program, and a skill that is largely unavailable to low income children.
Currently, the Kara Kennedy Fund supports the learn-to-swim program at Horizons Greater Washington contributing $10K in 2014, $15K in 2015, and $20K annually since 2016. In 2018, the Fund expanded its reach to Horizons at Dedham Country Day in Massachusetts, now providing $7.5K annually to its learn-to-swim program. In 2019, Horizons Newark (NJ) gained the support of the Fund with a $9.5K donation for its swim program.
In 2019, we helped more than 680 students learn to swim.
We are committed to building the Fund into more than a $1 million endowment (covering the essential costs of Horizons Learn-to-Swim programs including pool rentals, swim instruction, life guards and transportation) and enhancing the Fund’s work through relationships with additional Horizons sites or similar initiatives that fit the Fund’s mission.