Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Kenneth Cole Productions, Founder and Chairman of the Mental Health Coalition
Kenneth Cole is an American designer, social activist, and visionary who believes business and philanthropy are interdependent. His global company, Kenneth Cole Productions, creates modern, versatile, and functional footwear, clothing, and accessories that make daily dressing effortless for Men, Women, and Kids. The brand spans over 28 product categories with 27 licensed partners. For over 35 years, Kenneth Cole has leveraged his passion and unique brand platform to make a meaningful impact on people’s wardrobes, as well as in underserved communities.
Kenneth joined amfAR’s board of directors in 1987, and on World AIDS Day in 2004, he assumed chairmanship. Under his leadership of 14 years, amfAR was instrumental in significant breakthroughs in AIDS research, treatment, and prevention for the betterment of millions globally.
In 2016, Kenneth accepted an appointment as a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador with the goal of helping to end AIDS as a public health crisis by 2030.
In 2003, Kenneth joined the board of trustees of the Sundance Institute and has supported advocated for the need for independent story telling.
After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Kenneth opened a Health Center in Cité Soleil, serving the most underserved population in the northern hemisphere, in an effort to enable access to basic healthcare services to over 1.5 million Haitians in need.
In 2020, in the midst of the COVID 19 crisis, Kenneth launched an initiative to address what was arguably an even larger pandemic: Mental Health. The Mental Health Coalition (MHC), a coalition of the nation’s leading mental health organizations, brands, and individuals who have joined forces to end the debilitating stigma surrounding mental health and to change the way people talk about, and care for, mental illness.
The Coalition’s mission is to build a like-minded community who will work together to destigmatize all mental health conditions, and enable equitable access to vital resources and support for all. The Mental Health Coalition was formed with the understanding that the mental health crisis is fueled by a pervasive and devastating stigma, preventing millions of individuals from being able to seek the critical treatment they need. MHC is committed to not relent until mental health is no longer associated with stigma, shame, or judgement and all people feel empowered to openly discuss and address their individual mental health needs.