KEEN is modeled on an innovative program established in Oxford, England by Elliott Portnoy, who brought KEEN to the Washington, DC area in 1992. With help from a handful of parents and volunteers, KEEN started as a single program in the Greater DC area.

In 2005 KEEN began its expansion into select cities across the United States, opening its doors to new athletes and volunteers in Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Francisco, New York and Phoenix. As KEEN grows, it is committed to maintaining its basic ideals: providing free recreational opportunities to children and young adults with disabilities by pairing them with trained volunteers for fun, noncompetitive activities. KEEN seeks to develop each athlete's self-esteem and confidence, as well as recreational skills and talents, and to increase each athlete's ability to participate in a broader range of recreational activities and environments.

Original KEEN logo "Ken" from 1988

The KEEN logo was designed in 1988 by Richard Hunt, one of KEEN's original athletes in Oxford.  Richard loved to draw pictures for KEEN volunteers, which he would bring to sessions and give to his coaches.  When we launched KEEN in Oxford, I asked Richard to design the logo of a KEEN Athlete playing tennis, as KEEN grew out of a tennis coaching program for young people with disabilities.  Richard jumped at the chance, and came to my flat one afternoon with his mother and quickly came up with what we now know as "Ken".  - Elliott Portnoy, KEEN founder