Chicago, IL, March 1, 2022
Easterseals, Inc. (Easterseals), one of the nation’s leading nonprofit providers of services and advocacy for people with disabilities and their families, announced today that Kendra E. Davenport has been selected President & CEO. Through its national network of Affiliates in communities nationwide, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people throughout the lifespan annually.
A Search Committee of current and former Easterseals National Board members, as well as Easterseals Affiliate CEOs, led a rigorous national search in partnership with Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search.
"Kendra's strong record of accomplishment as a leader and senior executive makes her the right person to lead Easterseals as we enter our second century of service in responding to the needs of children and adults with disabilities throughout America," said Dr. Alicia Georges, Chair, Easterseals National Board of Directors. "Her capacity to lead complex organizations will serve us well as we advance a strategic vision for our future in areas of priority including advocacy, network advancement, brand management, and resource development in partnership with our 70 Affiliates which collectively serve 1.5 million people annually.”
Davenport brings more than three decades of experience working exclusively in the nonprofit arena. She has managed several national development and communications portfolios, served as president of a nonprofit serving veterans’ families, and was a philanthropy and communications consultant to several national and international nonprofit organizations.
Most recently, Davenport managed multichannel global philanthropy efforts as Chief Development Officer of Operation Smile, an international nonprofit medical organization that provides free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery. Davenport’s role included corporate, mass market, direct response and digital fundraising, major gifts and planned giving, community engagement, special events and partnerships, private sector grants, and government relations.
Working closely with C-suite industry leaders, Davenport has designed and implemented a myriad of mutually beneficial initiatives including point-of-purchase sales programs, co-branded marketing and advertising campaigns, and a host of special events. As philanthropy has evolved, she has helped numerous nongovernmental organizations diversify their philanthropic portfolios to keep pace with change and growth by utilizing technology.
Davenport possesses extensive management experience, having overseen more than 1,000 international staff across eighteen sub-Saharan countries while working for Africare, one of the largest African American founded and led nonprofits at the time. Much of Davenport’s career has been dedicated to facilitating the provision of critical services and interventions with organizations that include the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Alliance, Goodwill Industries, and The Arc Montgomery County.
“I am thrilled to join Easterseals. In many ways, I believe I have spent my entire career preparing for this role. I am eager to work collaboratively with Easterseals Affiliates nationwide to achieve 100% equity, inclusion, and access for people with disabilities in their communities,” Davenport said. “I also look forward to championing Easterseals’ commitment to provide training, placement, and ultimately employment for people with disabilities, as well mature workers and veterans transitioning from the military to private sector employment. It is my great privilege and honor to lead Easterseals at the national level, and I look forward to building on its impressive legacy.”
Davenport earned a Master of Policy Leadership from Georgetown University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Communications from Chestnut Hill College.
Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services.
For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. And we won’t rest until every one of us is valued, respected, and accepted.
Through our national network of Affiliates, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people each year – from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, medical rehabilitation and employment programs, veterans’ services, and more. Our public education, policy, and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans living with disabilities today.
Together, we’re empowering people with disabilities, families, and communities to be full and equal participants in society.