Breakthrough respectfully honors the memory of Josephine Kennedy, a native San Franciscan who did so much for those around her, including serving the students of City College for over 25 years. We are deeply grateful for the recent contribution of $200,000 from her trust – an investment in living stipends for our Teaching Fellows over the next four summers.

Born in San Francisco, Jo attended UC Berkeley before working at American President Lines, a container shipping company; United Airlines; and the US Embassy in Dublin. She subsequently returned to San Francisco, where she earned a master’s from Stanford before embarking on the next phase of her career at City College. At City, she taught English, helped launch the English as a Second Language program, and created the City College Speech Clinic, where she served as a speech therapist until her retirement in 1992.

Jo really believed in the connection that can be formed between a teacher and students, and remained close to many of her students for the balance of her life. She was beloved as well by her colleagues, family, and friends, remembered for her investment in others, her love for learning, and her appreciation for the smallest aspects of life. She passed away, surrounded by friends, in August 2021.

Breakthrough is immensely grateful for this generous gift, which will help us invest in other aspiring educators, giving them the opportunity to positively impact the world around them, as Jo did. Breakthrough also extends our sincere appreciation to Sandy Dean, Jo’s long-time neighbor and the administrator of her estate.