Kennedy connects with nonprofits by day, volunteers by night

Pay it Forward


Erik Kennedy

Community impact coordinator senior

Aurora Health Care Inc.

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Nonprofits served: St. Vincent de Paul Society, Miracle League of Milwaukee, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Echelon MKE, MACC Fund, One MKE, NEWaukee, Salvation Army Emergency Lodge, Adoptive Family Weekend at YMCA Camp Minikani

Service: Serving meals, board service, founder of Adoptive Family Weekend

Credit: Lila Aryan Photography

In his role as community impact coordinator at Aurora Health Care, Erik Kennedy serves as a liaison between the health care system and the nonprofit organizations it supports.

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But when Kennedy clocks out for the day, his connection to nonprofit work doesn’t end.

He’s just getting started.

Kennedy serves meals at St. Vincent de Paul Society. He helps youth with disabilities play baseball through Miracle League of Milwaukee. He founded a retreat for adoptees and their families at YMCA Camp Minikani. He serves on a half-dozen boards of nonprofit organizations.

Kennedy, who was adopted as an infant from South Korea and grew up in Akron, Ohio, credits his parents with fostering altruism in their home.

“As I got older, I realized that there were a lot of people who weren’t as fortunate as my family and I. I never had to worry about a meal. I never had to worry about clothes,” he said. “My parents always instilled values in us of giving back and being humble and continuing to pay it forward.”

Kennedy moved to Milwaukee in 2008 as an AmeriCorps member, serving for two years with YMCA Camp Minikani through YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. He stayed on with the YMCA in roles that had him overseeing internships and volunteers before moving into his current role with Aurora.

Kennedy’s time with AmeriCorps opened his eyes to the problems that hinder Milwaukee –including its longstanding reputation as one of America’s most segregated cities – while also sparking his love for service.

In 2009, Kennedy took on a cause that was near and dear to him, creating a retreat for domestic, international and foster adoptees and their families with the goal of connecting them with one another and inviting in older adoptees to serve as role models for younger ones.

Kennedy also began serving on various boards of causes that matter to him, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee’s Young Professional Committee, Echelon MKE through the Salvation Army of Milwaukee County and MACC Fund Emerging Leaders.

For the past three years, Kennedy has been serving meals once a month on Sunday evenings at St. Vincent de Paul in Walker’s Point.

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