NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: KKR & Co.
FUNDING AREAS: Leadership Development & Education, Policy, LGBT Causes
OVERVIEW: Ken Mehlman launched Slingshot Project in 2017, in order to “empower, mobilize, and learn from people who have overcome the most difficult of circumstances.” Mehlman's board memberships include Mt. Sinai Hospital of New York, Franklin & Marshall College, and American Enterprise Institute’s National Council.
BACKGROUND: Ken B. Mehlman graduated with a B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College and holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was a partner at global law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Mehlman spent a dozen years in national politics and government service, including as 62nd Chairman of the RNC and campaign manager of President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. Mehlman joined KKR in 2008 and is KKR’s global head of public affairs.
SLINGSHOT PROJECT: Mehlman launched Slingshot Project in 2017 to "develop partnerships with organizations focused on teaching those who have overcome poverty, disease, disability, or other adversity how to address the challenges and also identify, utilize, and potentially leverage coping and adapting mechanisms they developed in facing these obstacles to academic, professional and other endeavors."
The Project's first initiative is at Mehlman's alma mater Franklin & Marshall. The Mehlman Talent Initiative at Franklin & Marshall College, "identifies teaching and mentoring techniques that help students who prevailed over challenging life circumstances to thrive beyond college." Mehlman Scholar Jim Shelton is president of education at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and also worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and in the Obama Administration.
The Slingshot Project will support first-generation students at F&M in the form of financial aid, supplemental teaching, mentorship, and a summer job/internship.
OTHER: Mehlman is chairman of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative policy advisory board. He is a trustee of Mt. Sinai Hospital of New York, Franklin & Marshall College, Teach for America, and Sponsors of Educational Opportunity (SEO). He is co-chairman of the American Enterprise Institute’s National Council and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mehlman has also donated to LGBT advocacy groups such as Freedom to Marry and the Point Foundation.
LOOKING FORWARD: Only in his early 50s, Mehlman has an interesting background and his new Slingshot Project should be watched carefully. Given Mehlman's strong policy background, some robust giving in this area could emerge. Mehlman is gay and has said that he wants to advocate for gay marriage rights.