This past weekend, we joined Chicago’s civic, business, and philanthropic community, alongside family and loved ones, to celebrate the life and legacy of Andrew J. McKenna, a friend and supporter of United Way of Metro Chicago for decades.
A lifelong Chicagoan who grew up in the city’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, Andy invested his time and boundless energy in advancing the civic and philanthropic needs of the region. As an influential business leader, he often worked behind the scenes to mentor fellow board members and nonprofit leaders – including current United Way of Metro Chicago President and CEO Sean Garrett, and countless others.
Andy was a constant champion of United Way’s values as we worked together to invest in neighborhoods and people. Over the decades, his unwavering enthusiasm for the mission and his generous spirit were felt by all who knew him, especially as our Campaign Chair in 1997, when he helped raise more than $100 million for United Way’s work to build a thriving Chicago region.
His enduring commitment to serving the community through United Way continued with his involvement as a Board member from 2003–2019, including stints on the Executive Committee, as Chair of the Nominating Committee, and as a Member of the Endowment Committee.
In 2016, Andy received the inaugural Lifetime Leadership Award at United Way’s annual Celebration event, acknowledging business, civic, nonprofit, and community leaders who exemplify what it means to LIVE UNITED and invest in stronger, more equitable neighborhoods. The award would later be renamed in his honor, becoming the Andrew J. McKenna Leadership Award in 2021 to recognize an individual who has followed the example set forth by Andy and his lifetime commitment to building a better Chicago.
As we mourn his passing, our hearts are filled with immense gratitude that we were able to know Andy. That we were able to witness his brilliance and his deeply kind soul, a force for good. That we were able to call him a partner – and a friend.
Andy’s wisdom and compassion will continue to be felt by our community for generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy’s loved ones.