The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation was incorporated under the Companies Act, Cap. 486, Laws of Kenya as a company limited by guarantee and having no share capital on 2nd March 1966. The initial working capital was sourced from various donors. By 1972, the Foundation had fully repaid the loans and has since remained a self-financing and self-reliant institution. The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation was established in the wake of Kenya's determination to take control of the country's educational publishing system and thus prevent huge capital flight.The mandate given to the JKF at that point in time was wide and even extended to the East African Community.
"However, the activities of JKF were limited to Kenya. In 1971, the Board passed a special resolution amending the objects' clause to read:"
The objects for which the Foundation is established are solely for the advancement of education and that part of the income be expended for the purposes which result to the benefit of the citizens of Kenya...
JKF was able to expend its profits for the purposes of advancement of education by awarding scholarships to bright but needy students in public secondary schools. This was the beginning of the scholarships programme, which is the hallmark of JKF's special and unique contribution to national goals and ideals. The number of scholarships offered varies from year to year subject to the financial ability of the Foundation.
The Foundation is a strategic parastatal, serving a key national development objective, namely, the provision of educational materials that complement national development goals of self-reliance and industrialization.