Joe Kenney: Teaching Leadership Across Generations
Meet Joe Kenney.
He is a husband, father of three, and a Penacook resident with a long professional career in banking. Do not let his title as a Senior Vice President, Commercial Lending Officer at the Provident Bank fool you, Joe is no stranger to understanding what it takes to drive youth success and community well-being for residents in Merrimack County. With more than thirty years of giving back and volunteering with United Way, Joe has kept his thumb on the pulse of complex community needs and is committed to being a part of the solution by volunteering his time and talents. He has seen how United Way has grown and adapted over the years to continually improve the way it serves and supports residents of Merrimack County, much like his own personal journey as a volunteer.
Joe gave his first gift in 1996 and got outside of the office to volunteer at a local nonprofit during United Way’s “Day of Caring.” Joe volunteered at the Penacook Community Center where he developed a profoundly new and meaningful perspective of the service it provides and how many people it supports. The Penacook Community Center provides high-quality education and development programs for people in every age and stage of life. He was shown that there was a deep need for these programs in his home community and that the Center continued to serve more and more people, even when facing very limited resources. For Joe, one day of volunteering evolved into a longer-term commitment to the organization and a position on the Center’s board of directors.
Becoming inspired and invested in the mission of a nonprofit begins to reveal how significant volunteers, donations, and grants are to the sustainability of the organization. Joe could see how his contributions to United Way changed and improved the lives of families who relied on the community center. He then volunteered for two years as a United Way campaign chair, helping to educate, connect, and grow the number of people and businesses who support local nonprofits by contributing through Granite United Way. Joe then moved on to volunteer on United Way’s Community Impact Committee, where he joined a team of volunteers who oversee and determine exactly how the United Way will steward and strategically invest Merrimack County’s contributions so that it can make the most meaningful impacts in the community.
What began as simply contributing a gift and signing up for a day of volunteering blossomed into an entire lifestyle committed to understanding and addressing the complex issues for an entire community. Joe shared with us that he has seen how Granite United Way has shifted its working model to focus on building collaborative partnerships that drive impact and long-term solutions. He see’s his role on the Community Impact Committee as being a trusted investor of the community’s grant dollars and takes the responsibility of using those dollars to change people’s lives for the better, very seriously.
His commitment must be contagious, because Joe’s daughter, Logan, crafted her senior high school project to volunteer on Granite United Way’s grant review team. She spent many hours reading grant applications from local nonprofits and attended meetings discussing Merrimack County’s community needs and the merits of each application. Joe did not participate in that year’s grant review team and was proud that his daughter committed to the process. He shared that the experience gave her a new perspective on the needs in her community and gave her valuable insight when she later worked in a WIC dental clinic.
Here at Granite United Way, we are thrilled to support a culture of philanthropy in New Hampshire and Vermont’s families and to provide the opportunity for any citizen to give back and get involved. This year Joe Kenney takes his next step in partnering with Granite United Way by joining our board of directors. Thank you, Joe, for your significant contributions and commitment to the United Way family!