President & CEO, Shining Hope for Communities
Kennedy is one of Africa’s best-known community organizers and social entrepreneurs. He was raised in Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa, where he experienced the devastating realities of life in extreme poverty. Still, he dreamed about changing his community.
While working at a factory in 2004, Kennedy saved 20 cents, purchased a soccer ball, and started the Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) movement. Driven by the innovation and entrepreneurial spirits of the people of Kibera, SHOFCO became the largest grassroots organization in the slum.
Although he was entirely informally educated, Kennedy received a full-scholarship to Wesleyan University, becoming one of Kibera’s first to receive an education from an American liberal arts institution. He graduated in 2012 as the Commencement Speaker and with honors in Sociology. Kennedy was awarded the 2010 Echoing Green Fellowship, which is given to the world’s top emerging social entrepreneurs. He won the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition, wrote two Op-Eds that appeared in the New York Times, was named one of Forbes’ 2014 30 Under 30: Social Entrepreneurs, and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. His work has been featured in the PBS documentary Half the Sky, by Chelsea Clinton and Maria Menounos on NBC, by President Bill Clinton, and on multiple occasions by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. Kennedy speaks six languages, is a senior fellow with Humanity in Action, and an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow. He splits his time between Nairobi and New York City.