Tying Vines is excited to begin this new year with a new president! Mary Kenney will now serve in this position, taking over from husband Jeff, who has been president since 2016. Both Mary and Jeff have served faithfully at Tying Vines through all the ups and downs of starting a nonprofit while raising their family and working in the Middle East.
Mary was born in Texas but grew up in Pennsylvania. At 15 she became a Christian during a summer camp in Colorado. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications, including one semester in Switzerland, she attended law school at Villanova School of Law and received her law degree.
During her semester in Switzerland Mary traveled extensively and became “passionate about traveling and meeting people from other cultures.” She knew then that she wanted to live and work internationally. Jeff, whom she met her senior year at Penn State, also shared this dream. It took 14 years but when their children were 8 and 10, in 2005, they made their way to the Middle East.
In Abu Dhabi Jeff and Mary met people from different cultures, not part of any formal organized effort, “who were having an amazing impact on their communities.” In order to help these friends with collecting and disbursing donations to support their efforts the Kenneys started Tying Vines (see previous blog “New Look, Renewed Purpose). Mary shared recently that they never dreamed how fast the nonprofit would grow. She wrote, “I’m really proud and excited by the impact we (TV) are having on powerless, vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in crisis… bringing them hope and letting them know they are loved.”
Recently Mary traveled to the Middle East and visited several Tying Vines projects. As she visited with the people there, she saw joy and hope, regardless of the hard and challenging circumstances they face. In 2020 Mary hopes that Tying Vines will be able to identify and develop new ways to share the burden of the work being done. She hopes that this will allow those in the field more time to focus on the work God is laying on their hearts to do.
She summed up her heart and vision for TV like this:
"This journey has led me to truly believe that if you are willing to take small steps of faith, God will use you to impact the world. Every effort to make a difference, no matter how small, matters in the kingdom of God and in the lives of the people He loves."