KCDF was formed in 1997 by a group of professionals from different professional orientations who were concerned by the prevailing trends at the time in community development in Kenya.
These trends, for the most part, did not build on the indigenous knowledge, energy and learnings that came out of poverty eradication strategies that would systematically and progressively lift people out of poverty.
Inspired by Kenya’s harambee spirit and its strength in communities, the founders set the vision of KCDF, and chose to adapt the community foundation model. The basis of this model was to engage communities in working together towards improving their own communities, so that they are able to take charge and lead their own development agenda, mobilize existing local resources and invest the resources to meet both present and future development needs. The model continues to inform all KCDF initiatives to date.
With support from Kenyans and organizations such as Aga Khan Foundation and Ford Foundation, KCDF was born. Since 1997, KCDF has supported communities to define, implement and sustain projects using their own resources.
The year 2000 was identified by the organization as a year of affirmative action for asset development, and since that time, KCDF has attempted to balance its major functions of grant making and asset development.