Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault

NET WORTH: $110 million, estimated

SOURCE OF WEALTH: American Express

FUNDING AREAS: Arts & Culture, Education & Youth, New York City Community

OVERVIEW: Kenneth Chenault and his wife Kathryn do not appear to have a formal charitable vehicle. They’ve given more than $1 million to National Museum of African American History and Culture. New York City also serves as an important site of giving.

BACKGROUND: Kenneth I. Chenault graduated with a B.A. in history from Bowdoin College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He joined American Express in 1981 as director of strategic planning. He rose through the ranks of the company, including serving as vice chairman and president and COO, until his appointment as CEO. Chenault retired from American Express in 2018, and joined the boards of directors of Airbnb and Facebook. He is also currently chairman and managing director of General Catalyst, a venture capital firm.


ARTS & CULTURE: The Chenaults have given at least $1 million to Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Chenault serves as chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Kathryn, meanwhile, has an interest in supporting educational institutions, the arts, and expanding opportunities for young people. She’s a trustee of Studio Museum in Harlem, which the couple supports. Other grantees have included WNET, Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, MoMA, and Central Park Conservancy.

EDUCATION & YOUTH: The couple have given steady support to Morehouse College in Atlanta, from where Chenault’s late father, Hortenius, a dentist, graduated. Kathryn, a former practicing attorney, served as vice president of corporations and foundations for the United Negro College Fund, which the couple has supported. The Chenaults have also supported Pratt Institute, where Kathryn sits on the board and received an honorary degree. The family has also supported Chenault’s school Waldorf School of Garden City and Harlem Children’s Zone.

OTHER: The Chenaults have given at least $1 million to Hospital for Special Surgery. They’ve also supported places like Council on Foreign Relations.

LOOKING FORWARD: The Chenaults should be watched for greater giving in their native New York City in particular. Perhaps the family will establish a formal charitable vehicle in the coming years.

LINK: General Catalyst