Michael W. Hennessy

Michael W. Hennessy

Past President & CEO


Michael Hennessy started working with the Coleman Foundation in 1987 when he was an officer of the Fannie May Candy Company. At the time, the foundation was a part of the candy company. Mike became President of the foundation in 1993, and CEO in 1995.

In the ensuing years, Mike has been actively involved in stewarding the creation, development and advancement of the Foundation’s core funding giving areas: entrepreneurial education; Palliative care; supportive oncology; and support for service organizations for people with developmental disabilities.

During Mike’s tenure, the foundation’s support for entrepreneurship has evolved from helping college students become aware of the self-employment option (creating your job, not just getting a job) to supporting business curriculums in colleges, community colleges and high schools. Today, the foundation promotes experiential entrepreneurial programming that connects emerging business owners to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Under Mike’s leadership, the foundation has supported efforts to raise the standards of cancer care in the Midwest. These efforts have included improving direct patient services and treatment, and support for research. The foundation has also supported community-based cancer support services and psychosocial support.

Mike has also overseen the foundation’s continued commitment to helping individuals with developmental disabilities achieve self-determination, self-reliance, and self-respect. Historically, this commitment has been expressed by supporting agencies that provide services for people with developmental disabilities. In recent years, the foundation has also supported efforts to provide housing, build life skills and create supportive employment.

Most recently, Mike has supervised the foundation’s efforts to encourage more local collaborations between grant recipients in order to improve service delivery and efficiency in all three of Coleman’s main funding areas.