Faces of Philanthropy
Greenwich United Way 90th Anniversary Honorees, Karen Keegan and Ken Mifflin
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The Greenwich United Way meets local needs in health, education and self-sufficiency.

Portraits by ChiChi Ubina


Karen Keegan grew up in Philadelphia and attended University of Pittsburgh undergrad (BA Studio Art and Art History) and UCLA Anderson business school (MBA in Finance and Marketing). She started her career at First Boston Corporation in New York in proprietary trading of fixed income derivative products. Subsequently, transferred to London to sell Japanese equities to institutional investors in England and Ireland.

Karen moved back to the States with her husband, Dennis and four children. “We settled in Greenwich as our #1 choice of a great place to live, work, and raise a family. It’s important to us as a family that we live in a town which is deeply committed to the well-being of all those in our community. Greenwich would not be what it is today without the leadership of the Greenwich United Way supporting and connecting the many human services agencies in our town to identify and meet local needs in health, education and self-sufficiency. The Greenwich United Way provides many unique volunteer opportunities to learn about critical needs and to help those who need our help the most.”

Ken Mifflin is a longtime management consultant and aspiring independent scholar in history. Growing up in Houston, Texas, Ken graduated from Southern Methodist University with a double major in English and History. After earning an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (now Booth), Ken worked in brand management at Procter & Gamble on brands including Tide. He then joined McKinsey & Company, moving to Stamford and later to Greenwich while working in McKinsey’s Consumer Products practice in New York and London.

Ken joined the fledgling Strategic Services practice at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as an Associate Partner based in the New York office. In twelve years, Ken helped take Strategic Services from “start-up” to a leadership position among the top strategy firms (second largest behind McKinsey). Ken’s roles as a Partner at Accenture included leading the global Consumer Products strategy practice, leading the Media & Entertainment strategy practice, managing the firm’s Corporate Strategy Center of Excellence, and serving as the partner responsible for Americas Recruiting. After leaving Accenture, Ken led two anti-terrorism consulting start-ups, partnering with top Israeli security experts including a former Chief of the Israeli National Police, and continues to work as an independent consultant.

Ken is currently working on a book about ancient Rome.

Besides serving on the Board of the Greenwich United Way, Ken’s civic activities have included serving as the Treasurer of Christ Church Greenwich and serving on the Advisory Board of the Breast Cancer Alliance. He is married to Marsha and they have four daughters and seven grandchildren (so far).

How did you get involved with the GUW?

Ken: In 2010, we got a call from Susan Wohlforth. My wife Marsha handed the phone to me and said, “It’s Susan Wohlforth. Just do whatever she tells you to do.” Susan asked me to be on the board and that was it.

Karen: For me, it all started with Sole Sisters!!! Around the time that our youngest went off to school and before I started working in our family investment business, I was invited to a Sole Sisters meeting and given an opportunity to get involved with the women’s fundraising initiatives for the Greenwich United Way. The Sole Sisters leadership including Cricket Lockhart, Susan Wohlforth, Alison Wolowitz and others so inspired me that I became determined to follow in their footsteps and continue the amazing work they started.

I served on the Board of Directors for seven years ending 2018 and chaired the Board for the last three years of my service. During my tenure as Board Chair, the organization underwent a thorough restructuring moving away from its former practices of annual fund and event-based funding to a hybrid model providing donors the opportunity to choose between generalized giving or impact directed gifts.

How did the two of you work together for the United Way?

Karen: I was always impressed by Ken’s considerable accomplishments, professionalism, and warm personality. He had worked closely with my predecessor, former Board Chair, Virginia Meyer, to guide the Board in understanding and adapting to the changing fundraising environment facing all United Ways at that time. Ken designed and conducted a landmark strategic planning process for the Board which laid the critical foundation for the important steps which transformed the Greenwich United Way to what it is today.

Ken: Karen and I worked together with our Chief Executive David Rabin, our very talented and active Board, Rob Moore and Jeremy Nappi and our wonderful GUW staff, and our excellent consultants, Finch Brands. My role was to take the lead on the planning process, discerning how we could better meet the needs of the community, our donors, and our agency partners to generate lasting human services program results for Greenwich and enable GUW to thrive and grow. As Chairman, Karen’s visionary and energetic leadership, mastery of all aspects of GUW operations, and extraordinary personal commitment were essential to the success of the new strategy.

What activations did you put in place during your involvement with the GUW?

Karen: Working closely with fellow directors, Brook Urban and Mary Laughlin, and senior staff member, Jeremy Nappi, we led the Board through 6 months of direct management of the Greenwich United Way in-between CEO’s before hiring our current Director and CEO, David Rabin.

During my tenure as Board Chair, I focused on critical Governance issues to institute and implement best practices across all levels of the organization. During the five years on the Board before I became Board Chair, I served on all committees of the Board including co-chairing the Sole Sisters Luncheon in 2012.

How has the United Way evolved since you started?

Karen: The Greenwich United Way, as a four-star Charity Navigator not-for-profit, has maintained the highest standards of service to our community. The organization continues to conduct periodic local Needs Assessments to provide the data necessary to direct funding and programming in ways that will provide most needed outcomes for local residents and families. The organization has demonstrated its nimbleness as a grant maker by delivering direct and immediate support to the underserved in our community when it was most needed – for example, through the Covid -19 Community Relief Fund.

Ken: I strongly believe that Greenwich United Way has successfully pioneered a new United Way model for meeting community needs. Our vision has been to evolve beyond the traditional United Way payroll-deduction-with-curated-donations approach. We are demonstrating that in a caring community like ours it is possible to inspire individual donors to help us not only continue to provide effective financial support to our local agency partners but to fund and operate targeted direct impact programs that address critical unmet community needs.

What are the most important needs in the community at this time?

Ken: GUW is dedicated to finding and funding solutions to the highest priority Greenwich community needs, as defined periodically in our very thorough town-wide Needs Assessments. At the moment we are continuing to make excellent progress on closing the educational achievement gap for less privileged students through our Early Childhood Achievement Gap Solutions direct impact program (working in tandem with Greenwich Public Schools and Family Centers), and are now launching a direct impact program in partnership with Greenwich Hospital to address the urgent and unfortunately widespread issue of youth mental health.

Tell us about the United Way partnerships with the nonprofits in the community and how you have worked collaboratively with them over the years.

Karen: During my tenure as Board Chair, the Greenwich United Way initiated and has continued to partner with the Greenwich Public Schools, Family Centers, Horizons, and the Greenwich Alliance for Education (to name a few!) to address the achievement gap in Greenwich. Starting with parent support at home for underserved children at the earliest ages of development through their transition into and through the school system. GUW brings partners to the table and provides the monitoring and data collection necessary to measure outcomes.

Continuing its leadership role in community collaboration, the organization is currently spearheading a shared initiative with the Greenwich Hospital to provide intensive out-patient mental health services to youth in our area.

Ken: While we do operate wonderful in-house programs such as our Champions Programs, GUW primarily strives to be a terrific partner for our local human services agencies, rather than to act as an agency ourselves. Our knowledge of the full range of human services activities across Greenwich allows us to bring unique insights to this partnership role, and our fundraising strengths allow us to provide resources to our partners in targeted way to effectively address identified needs.

What are some stand-out memories from your time working with the United Way?

Karen: Back in 2015, the Search Committee under the extremely capable leadership of then board member and subsequent board chair, Anne Sherrerd, cast a wide net including successful leaders outside the not-for-profit sector. They proposed David Rabin, a long-time Greenwich resident with decades of impressive professional experience in for-profit, and David was hired by unanimous vote of the Board.

Later, as the Greenwich United Way began to thrive and grow under David’s 24/7 dedicated and insightful leadership, I asked David about his choice to leave profit driven work and devote himself to the vision and the mission of the Greenwich United Way, and he said: “Karen, I only wish I had done it sooner.”

Ken: A great turning point moment for GUW came ten years ago when Virginia Meyer, our Chairman at the time, called the Board together to discuss many Board members’ general concerns about the problems we faced as an organization. We spoke candidly with each other about whether GUW might be going into in an irreversible decline. Refusing to be defeated, we resolved at that meeting to develop a strategy for doing whatever it might take to turn the organization around. We have been on an upward trajectory ever since.

Karen and Ken:  Thank you to David, Jeremy, Robert and the whole team at Greenwich United Way for all that you do for our community – together, you provide critical support, programming, and inspiration.