An Inside Look at CURE
By day, Kevin Kennedy works as a vice president with Morgan Stanley in the Institutional Securities Group. But if you have the chance to speak to him, he likely won’t want to discuss market information, strategic thinking, or challenges with listed derivatives trading technology. No, Kevin will tell you about his family, share pictures from his latest motorcycle adventure, or bring you up to speed with his other passion – helping children with cancer.
Kevin and his wife, Margaret Ann, had a first-hand experience with cancer when their eighteen-year-old son, Joe, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare bone marrow failure disease. Joe enrolled in a clinical trial at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. While the trial was not successful for everyone, it worked to send Joe into remission. Once in remission, Joe was abruptly released from the hospital. Weak from the treatment, Joe was unable to fly commercially or drive back to Atlanta. Kevin shared their dilemma on Caringbridge, and within an hour he had five offers to transport his family by private jet.
“I had seen people in need while we were in treatment. But that day showed me just how much people want to help children and their families,” Kevin recalled. “I couldn’t believe that people – many of whom we didn’t know – were making such kind offers.”
Upon arriving home, Kevin and his daughter attended CURE’s A Tribute to our Quiet Heroes luncheon in September 2007. Touched by what he saw there and the people he met, the Kennedys began fundraising and regularly attending CURE events. From the outside, Kevin felt that the organization was sound and well-managed. The more his family’s involvement increased, the more respect he developed for CURE. So five years later when he received a call from a CURE board member to discuss Kevin’s interest in serving on the board of directors, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I was thrilled to grow my relationship with CURE,” said Kevin. “But I did have a nagging little fear that when the curtain was pulled back and I drilled into the details, it would taint my perception of the CURE I had come to love. Fortunately, what I found out impressed me as I witnessed the heart of CURE come out in everything the staff did. I grew to love the organization even more!”
Because he had first-hand knowledge of the needs of patients and their families, Kevin immediately dove into CURE’s patient and family services programs. He also became an active part of the organization’s fundraising efforts and took a leadership role with the board governance committee. Later he served as board president for two years.
“As president of the board, I was able to dig even deeper into the inner workings of CURE. I saw the good, bad, and the ugly. Fortunately, there was more good than anything,” Kevin explained. “The staff and board of any organization have to work hand in hand to ensure success. The effort demands a well-orchestrated partnership. In my years on the board I truly enjoyed working with Kristin and the team, and I thought we all worked together very well.”
As Kevin prepares to rotate off the board, he reflects on his service, “I have loved my time on the board. Besides the rewarding work, over the years I have had the opportunity to meet many interesting and influential individuals and have made great friendships,” Kevin shared. “I’ve never been star-struck in my life, not until I had the opportunity to meet the Aflac Duck at CHOA!”
As he looks to the future, Kevin sees elevating the CURE message above other well-deserving charities and donor retention as two of the biggest challenges. He also views millennials and other non-conventional givers as a huge opportunity.
“No one will question what we are doing,” Kevin insisted. “Our cause is just and our organization is sound. We just have to be persistent and keep telling the story. I will miss being involved with the day to day workings of CURE.”
We will miss you too, Kevin.