Building a Better Nonprofit

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May Issue View more


Ron Kenny and his wife, Nancy, mark the dedication of UCP Seguin’s Kenny House, a Naperville residence for adults with disabilites.

Behind every successful nonprofit is a board of directors—unpaid volunteers who lend their expertise and wisdom to better the organization and the community in the process. 

Lisle resident Ron Kenny exemplifies this. He served on the board of United Cerebral Palsy Seguin of Greater Chicago for more than 20 years, joining the Cicero-based agency’s mission to create life without limits for people with disabilities. Seguin Services CEO John Voit tapped Kenny for the board, where he proved to be a great fit. As managing director at Huizenga Capital Management in Oak Brook, Kenny’s financial expertise helped Seguin expand and eventually, in 2013, combine with United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Chicago. “Ron helped ensure that the merger happened without a hitch,” Voit says. “It’s been a marriage made in heaven, enabling us to grow and create more programs and opportunities for people with disabilities.” 

Case in point: Ron’s guidance proved critical when the organization opened a commercial garden center and car wash detailing center, both of which provide jobs for people with disabilities. “The board and I relied heavily on his advice when we launched our two social enterprise businesses,” Voit says. “His impact has been huge—and that’s not even counting all people he has brought in from the business world to help us both voluntarily and financially.” 

Kenny also ensured the nonprofit thrived financially. “When I started, revenue was somewhere between $6 million and $7 million,” he says. “When I left, it was $40 million.”  

To Kenny, who says he’s grateful to have had the chance make a positive impact, the most important aspect of UCP Seguin is that it provides ample opportunities for people with disabilities to have the most independent, fulfilling lives they can. “People who are clients of Seguin really have challenges,” he says. “They can only flourish to the extent that they get assistance from people who really take an interest in helping them. Seguin does a terrific job at that.”

When Kenny retired from the board, the nonprofit named one if its Naperville residential homes after him. Four women call the Kenny House their home, including Voit’s daughter. “It was very generous of them to honor me in that fashion,” Kenny says. “I am extraordinarily humbled to help people who can’t help themselves as much as they would like and to provide some level of assistance in their lives.”

He remains a fan of UCP Seguin.“It’s such a terrific organization, and I’m glad to have played a small part in making it a little bit better.”

To learn more about UCP Seguin’s ongoing work, visit ucpseguin.org

Photo courtesy of UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago