The Benevolent Ones: William H. Kennedy III
Some of the area’s most successful business professionals pay it forward with philanthropic pursuits that make a difference in countless lives
Founder/Managing Member, Kennedy Legal Team
Sergeant, Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary
Charitable involvements: Florida Highway Patrol Advisory Council and Education Advisory Board for the city of Parkland
Why it’s personal: “From the age of 11, I began working as a busboy at a seafood restaurant and was raised by my mother and three older sisters after my parents’ divorce. There were many times when we had no running water or electric, but my mother would always figure out a way to put food on the table and make certain we studied hard and stayed in school.
“But it was a trip to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic [on a trip for his wife’s job, which supports the orphanage] that opened a floodgate of emotions from my childhood. I witnessed children with no mother, no father, or no place to call home.
“My wife, Maria, and I decided that day we would try to give back to the less fortunate in any way we could. In fact, our 12-year-old daughter, Angelina, has been working for the orphanage with us since the age of 7 to provide clothing, toys, books and other necessities the children truly need.”
Did you know: “I am most proud of the Florida Highway Memorial Wall for the fallen troopers killed in the line of duty [located in Davie]. It was an honored opportunity to not only fund but put together the wall with my own hands, with the help of some really amazing troopers, including its originator, Major Robert Chandler. We now hold an annual memorial for the families of the fallen troopers so they know they’ll never be forgotten.”
Sources of pride: “What our community, including the teachers and students of Park Trails Elementary, have done to assist us with donations for the children in the orphanage is beyond belief. … There are parents who are always dropping off bags of clothes and toys. … [We’re constantly] doing everything we can to help them.
“I am also currently on the Florida Highway Patrol Advisory Council. … We’re working on trying to help the people that suffered through the hurricane up in the Panhandle. … For troopers who were severely injured in the line of duty, [we] help their families and help them while they’re in hospitals, [in an attempt to] offset some of their bills and expenses.”
Words to live by: “How [giving] has changed me is just watching my kids do it. That’s the most exciting part. Watching my daughter, how she got involved [with the orphanage] and how she’s making an impact on some of the younger kids. They don’t realize that by giving up a toy, they’re learning the ideology of what giving is all about.”
Photography by James Woodley
Creative direction by Melanie Geronemus Smit
Edited by Kevin Kaminski and Keren Moros
Shot on location at C&I Studios in Fort Lauderdale