Chris Kennedy


Chris Kennedy is a husband, father, businessman, and civic leader. Kennedy and his wife, Sheila, run Top Box Foods, a hunger-relief nonprofit they founded to deliver high-quality, healthy, affordable foods to underserved neighborhoods. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Board of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the nation’s leading nonprofit food distribution and training center, which provides food to more than 600,000 adults and children each year. He has been involved in dozens of Illinois service and civic organizations.

Kennedy managed the Merchandise Mart, one of the great economic engines of Illinois. Under his leadership, the Mart became one of the largest LEED-certified buildings in the world. From 2009 through 2015, he served as chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. At U of I, Kennedy oversaw a $5.5 billion budget, 78,000 students and more than 23,000 faculty and staff. During his tenure, he reformed the administration and admissions process and grew the endowment and increased financial aid. Now, Kennedy is leading the real estate development in downtown Chicago known as Wolf Point. Wolf Point is a massive construction project backed by more than $1 billion in private financing that is bringing 2,000 construction and permanent jobs to Illinois.

Kennedy is the son of Ethel Skakel Kennedy and the late Senator Robert Francis Kennedy. Chris and Sheila have four children and reside in suburban Chicago.