Don Kendall, Co-Founder and Board Chair of 4-CT, is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist. Don’s career as a for-profit founder spanned four start-ups, with one big success (largest restaurant company in Central Europe, with $3B market cap and 40,000+ employees), one massive failure ($88M worth of venture investment down the drain), and many lessons learned along the way. He founded his first company in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, his second in San Francisco in the early days of e-commerce, and his fourth took him to more than 70 countries around the world, including challenging places to visit like Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. In 2008, Don made the transition to philanthropy and social impact.
Since then, he has helped launch four nonprofits, made several dozen impact investments, and has been an active grantmaker, board member and executive coach. Today, his work centers on finding and supporting scalable solutions to close the glaring gap in educational and employment opportunities for low-income families in Connecticut. Don is the co-founder and board chair of Social Venture Partners Connecticut (SVP-CT). Currently SVP-CT has 180 Partners working on 15 engagements across the State, making it the largest venture philanthropy organization in Connecticut. Don serves on the boards of Advance CT (Vice Chair), Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, All Our Kin, Hopkins School, Smart Tech Foundation and Southwest Regional Communications Center. Don is a certified and practicing volunteer EMT in the town of Weston, where he lives with his wife and three children.