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We help philanthropy, nonprofits, and social enterprise grow their impact, operations, and funding.

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Who We Are:

Kevin Keenan is the owner and founder of executive consulting firm GROW Strategies LLC. Kevin is the former COO & General Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego, and Executive Vice President & Special Counsel of the Vera Institute of Justice. He represented children in Virginia’s juvenile prisons; assisted police reform efforts in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and monitored elections in Bosnia, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kazakhstan. He is author of the book Invasion of Privacy, and, with Sam Walker, “An Analysis of Law Enforcement Officers’ Bills of Rights”. He is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a graduate of Yale Law School and Swarthmore College.

In his leadership roles, Kevin has always combined programmatic focus and success with organizational growth and fundraising. To do so requires a high degree of organizational alignment and an eye for efficiencies. How do we do the most with what we have? How do we make sure our work is meeting the multiple needs of our organization and departments?

What Clients Are Saying:


Mikaela Levons, Director of Development, Equal Justice USA . . .

Mikaela Quote
“Working with Kevin & GROW Strategies kept me accountable to the strategic thinking essential to hitting bigger fundraising targets. The flux of hiring, coupled with organizational change, made it tempting to only attend to urgent tasks. I’m so grateful that Kevin kept me on track with creating a development plan. His insightful questions, curated resources, and wealth of experience helped me produce a tool that can help guide our team to achieving our ambitious goals.”
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Kennedy Reese, Project Manager, Public Rights Project . . .

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Kennedy Quote
“Kevin has been an extremely effective consultant to work with and I cannot recommend him enough! He is so knowledgeable about the strategic subtleties of fundraising. He knows how to get in touch with the most helpful contacts to move these conversations forward and how to find opportunities within newly announced initiatives and partnerships within the philanthropic space. He also has a unique ability to emphasize compelling messaging in donor facing pitch docs and proposals that inspire partnership. We have really enjoyed working with Kevin as he has a polite and gentle disposition that invites true collaboration and thought partnership.”
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Kevin grew the ACLU of San Diego from 7 staff to 24 and from a budget of $800,000 a year to $3 million with a reserve of $5.1 million that supported further growth. But more importantly—and inextricably intertwined with the funding growth and organizational transformation—was a growth in impact.

As one example, in the notoriously anti-immigrant city of Escondido, the ACLU partnered with community leaders to mobilize voters in the heavily Latino downtown, ultimately turning out 8% of the electorate and lifting up their power as a must-have voting bloc. After years of the ACLU litigating abuses by the city after they happened, the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies subsided in the face of a more powerful Latino community.

While Ferguson exploded and the Supreme Court reconsidered affirmative action, Kevin helped the NAACP Legal Defense Fund organize its back office to more effectively run its nationwide civil rights advocacy. As COO & General Counsel, Kevin developed new internal systems and policies, helped negotiate two labor union contracts, led an IT overhaul, modernized the scholarship program, and helped the Director Counsel achieve some longstanding organizational goals—including opening the organization’s archives at the Library of Congress and securing $5 million to open a new research and policy center The Thurgood Marshall Institute.

At the Vera Institute of Justice, Kevin supervised several nationwide flagship programs to improve the criminal justice system and helped guide the organization’s growth from 165 to 325 staff. He was a lead fundraiser in Vera’s $135 million fundraising Campaign for Justice and a key designer of the organization’s revamped innovation and scaling infrastructure The Impact Pipeline. By mobilizing diverse business leaders, he led the effort to successfully persuade conservative U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) to support Pell Grant funding for people in prison.

Through representing children in Virginia’s juvenile justice system, Kevin saw first-hand the way children were set up to fail. When leaving juvenile prisons, the state did almost nothing to reconnect children to schools and mental health services in their communities. Kevin led the adoption of two important legal reforms: a regulation to improve school reentry and a bipartisan bill, signed by then Governor Mark Warner, to improve mental health reentry.

Writings & Remarks

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(646) 939-2425