Craig Kennedy has been president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) since 1995. GMF, a public charity based in Washington, is an independent American organization created in 1972 as a permanent memorial to the Marshall Plan. The Fund's annual budget is almost $38 million, and its endowment is over $190 million. It sponsors a wide range of programs related to transatlantic relations in the economic, environmental and political arenas.
Mr. Kennedy began his career in 1980 as a program officer at the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. From 1983 to 1986, he was vice president of programs for Joyce, with oversight responsibility for its grant review process and program development activities. As president of the Joyce Foundation from 1986 to 1992, Mr. Kennedy built the Foundation's environmental program and launched a new program on U.S. immigration policy.
Mr. Kennedy left the Joyce Foundation to work for Richard J. Dennis, a Chicago investor and philanthropist. In a addition to advising Mr. Dennis on his charitable and political activities, he was also involved in the Dennis Trading Group and helped implement a major restructuring of Mr. Dennis' business interests.
During this same period, Mr. Kennedy created a consulting firm working with nonprofit and public sector clients. One major client was the City of Chicago, for which he served as an advisor to the Mayor on school reform, housing and economic development. A second significant client was the Environmental Defense Fund, based in New York City. He helped EDF create several subsidiary organizations focused on the use of market-oriented environmental policies. Other clients included the Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia, Prince Charitable Trusts in Chicago, the Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest in Chicago, the National Audubon Society and the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Mr. Kennedy serves as an independent trustee and chair of the audit committee for the open-end mutual funds of Van Kampen Investments, a $20 billion investment firm based outside of Chicago. He also serves on the board of First Solar, a public company, and True North Ventures.
Mr. Kennedy was born in Beresford, South Dakota in 1952. He grew up near that town and graduated from Beresford High School. In 1974, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Civilization Studies from the University of Chicago, and in 1980 he completed a joint degree program, acquiring a Master of Arts in Social Work and a Master of Business Administration.