KKR Announces New Maternity Perk

Private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis, and Roberts announced on August 12th that its employees now have the option to bring new children and their caregivers on business trips for up to a year after the child is born, paid for by KKR. Additionally, KKR expanded the leave time it offers to new parents.

KKR is aiming to change the demographic landscape of private equity, where nine out of ten senior managers are men. Women hold 16% of senior positions in investment management according to Catalyst, a nonprofit group.

This year, according to Bloomberg, KKR assembled a council in charge of devising ways to expand the firm’s appeal to “women, minorities, gays and lesbians, who traditionally haven’t entered asset management in large numbers.”

KKR is one of the companies at the forefront of expanding the options available to new fathers and mothers. According to the New York Times, the firm joins companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Netflix, IBM, and Goldman Sachs, which have begun offering various maternity benefits.

Such benefits include varying amounts of expanded paid leave, travel accommodations for new parents, and the option to ship breast milk home when away on business, paid for by the company. These companies are expanding their benefits in order to attract and retain talented employees.

Ken Mehlman is quoted in Bloomberg, saying:

“The best and the brightest of the future don’t look like the best and the brightest of the past,” said Ken Mehlman, a KKR partner and former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “This is a necessary first step. I hope the whole industry improves and we all learn together.”

Co-founder George R. Roberts echoes this sentiment, telling Bloomberg:

“Too many same people means too much same thinking,” Roberts, 71, said in an interview. “We found that people were hiring people like themselves. If you want to stifle innovation, if you want to stifle diverse thinking, if you want to stifle creativity, then just keep hiring people like yourself.”

Executives at KKR have made progress over the last three years in addressing the gender gap—statistics from Bloomberg indicate the gender gap at KKR has improved by 7.3%, the highest of all the private equity firms surveyed. While there is still more progress to be made, KKR is on the right track.

Robin Hood Seeks to Match Finance Professionals to Nonprofits

The Robin Hood Foundation announced Leader Link, its initiative to connect experienced financial professionals with nonprofits. The organization is known for its high profile philanthropic activities in New York City to alleviate poverty, hunger, and homelessness. The foundation opened the application period on July 2nd.

The purpose of the program is to funnel financial talent into nonprofit positions where their skills are in high demand. “The last few years, the high-profile financial problems of some high-profile nonprofits have highlighted the need for a competent financial person in these positions,” senior management consultant Deborah Miller said.

Robin Hood seeks to lure experienced professionals in finance to the nonprofit sector to fulfill the more difficult requirements of nonprofit leadership positions, such as reporting, organizational complexity, and the responsibilities that come with high visibility. As government and public scrutiny increases, attracting necessary talent has become a necessity for many nonprofit organizations.

Beginning September 15th, Leader Link will consist of five sessions meant to familiarize participants with the context of nonprofits over the course of a month and a half. Each session will have a different focus, from skill-building to touring local nonprofits. Sessions four and five consist of advice on effective job searches and interviewing, including a one on one practice interview with detailed feedback. Participants will also be paired with a leader of a nonprofit to serve as a mentor throughout and after the program.

The Robin Hood Foundation differentiates itself from other nonprofits by using a system of metrics, called “Relentless Monetization,” which convert different outcomes into monetary worth. These monetary values are used to compare Robin Hood intervention outcomes with what would have otherwise would have happened to the targeted demographic.

Ken Mehlman chairs an advisory board for Robin Hood, joining Jon Stewart, Diane Sawyer, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Eric Schmidt in the organization’s governance. Last year Robin Hood invested $132 million dollars towards fighting poverty.

Updated: 300+ Sign Same-Sex Marriage Brief

Update: According to Slate, the Mehlman Amicus Brief is being considered especially notable among the dozens of other briefs that have been filed.  The reason? The brief is signed by 303 conservatives, many of whom have previously opposed gay marriage, and includes notable signers like Senators Susan Collins and Mark Kirk, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, and retired General Stanley McChrystal.

On Thursday, according to TIME, a friend of the court brief was filed with the Supreme Court that contained more than 300 signatures from veteran Republican lawmakers and consultants.  This brief was organized by Ken Mehlman and concerns the April 28th cases that the Supreme Court will be hearing on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Depending on how the court rules, and it is expected that the court will rule by the end of June, these cases could legalize same-sex unions on a nationwide basis.

Signatories to the brief include current and former governors, current and former Republican members of the House of Representatives and Senate, among others.  This effort is similar to another effort in 2013, where Ken Mehlman organized another amicus brief for the Supreme Court case that overturned California’s Proposition 8.  That brief gathered 131 signatures from prominent Republicans.

According to TIME, the brief makes a conservative case for the court to strike down same-sex marriage bans, and states that the laws that “bar same-sex couples from the institution of civil marriage” are “inconsistent with the United States Constitution’s dual promises of equal protection and due process.”

Ken Mehlman leading new GOP Effort

According to the Washington Blade, Ken Mehlman is leading the effort to gather signatures for a friend-of-the-court brief signed exclusively by prominent Republicans.  The document addresses the issue of same-sex marriage, and urges the U.S. Supreme Court to find it a constitutional right when the court considers the  recent lawsuits from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

These lawsuits all cover marriage rights for same-sex couples.  The court agreed to hear the cases in January, and is expected to deliver a ruling on the topics by the end of June.

According to sources familiar with the document, the legal arguments of the brief will be similar to the filing made before the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of appeals, which argued that same-sex marriage promotes stability and mutual support.  It is also similar to an earlier brief that Ken Mehlman led in 2013 which argued against the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8.  That brief garnered 131 signatures from within the Republican Party.

Some of those who have affirmed to the Washington Blade that they have signed the current amicus brief previously signed the 2013 brief, while other signatories are new.

Theatrical Memoir to Benefit Point Foundation

Ken Mehlman is one of the event chairs for an upcoming event organized to benefit the Point Foundation on October 27th at New World Stages. This special one-night-only event is presented by Amy and Jeff Towers, directed by Stephen Brackett, and produced by Tim Ranney. This event, entitled Oh, Hell no! is the theatrical tell-all of civil rights activist and author David Mixner.

Other event chairs include Alan Cumming, Robert Desidrio, Herb Hamsher, Judith Light, Rob Smith, Jonathan Stoller, Jorge Valencia, and Edie Windsor.

The event will include stories from David Mixner’s life, and includes a specially assembled trio that features the voices of Chris Bolan, Megan Osterhaus, and Tim Jerone.  Mixner is known for his contribution as one of the organizers of the Moratorium to End the Ware in Vietnam, and was a founding member of the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles, the nation’s first gay and lesbian political action committee.

Proceeds will benefit the Point Foundation, a nonprofit group that offers mentorship, leadership development, and community service training to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students.  By empowering these youths to achieve their full academic and leadership potential despite the obstacles in their way, Point Foundation hopes to make a significant impact on society at large.

For more information on the Point Foundation visit their website here: https://www.pointfoundation.org/donate



Private Equity Investment Boosts the Economy

The Private Equity Growth and Capital Council, of which Ken Mehlman is the Chairman, recently released a survey which shows that in the last year private equity firms invested some $443 billion in to approximately 2,300 companies in the United States.  Interestingly enough, this is a 27 percent increase from what private equity companies invested in the previous year.

Essentially, as Vice President of research at the PEGCC Bronwyn Bailey explains, private equity firms provide a boost to the economy through their investments, helping to build new factories, create jobs, and generally spur economic growth.  Providing investments that allow regional companies to expand also helps consumers have access to additional products, as well as potentially adding tax revenue to the areas that these companies expand into.

These company investments are often years in the making.  As a Mainstreet.com piece about the survey explains, it is not uncommon for private equity firms to buy a company to invest in only to sell it nearly a decade in the future.  Many of these companies are also older companies, as private equity investment “differs from venture capital firms” in that they do not tend to invest in start ups or flash in the pan social media companies.

Ken Mehlman was elected the new chairman of the Private Equity Growth Capital Council on December 19, 2013.  Mehlman also serves as a Member at Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts and is a founding member of the PEGCC.

Read the full piece at http://www.pegcc.org/newsroom/in-the-news/main-street-private-equity-investment-boosts-the-economy-heres-how-your-retirements-at-play/

The National Journal Releases Recent Political Insiders Poll Results

The National Journal Magazine recently released the results of a poll taken of many Washington insiders about immigration. This “Political Insiders Poll,” as this recurring poll is called, focused was on the possibility of immigration reform occurring at a congressional level sometime this year and the results are indicative of the current climate in the capital.

Ken Mehlman is among the key Republican insiders that are regularly tapped for this survey.  In addition to Mehlman many other Democrat and Republican Party insiders were questioned, including Paul Bennecke, Wayne Berman, Gale Kaufman, and Doug Hattaway.

According to the poll, among those who responded the overwhelming consensus was that immigration reform within the year was “somewhat unlikely” to “very unlikely.” That said, the poll suggested that “if Republicans want to be credible [contenders] in the presidential race in ’16, this is an opening bid.”

According to The Washington Post, this delaying of the White House’s review is believed to provide an opportunity for congressional action over the summer though it is widely considered an inevitability that, if the White House were to act independently from Congress, that House conservatives could be expected to kill any immigration legislation that reaches the House floor.

The National Journal’s report, however, appears to confirm the fact that politicians on both side of the aisle are expected to allow the August recess to pass in an effort to move President Obama’s hand.

The White House does have a certain measure of authority when it comes to immigration and deportation policy but it is overshadowed by the changes Congress can enact. In the interim, many state legislatures are attempting to pass their own policies though they too have limited reach when compared to the impact a congressional bill would have on the lives of those seeking to find a path to permanent legal citizenship.

The full poll, including a list of all of those polled by the National Journal, can be found at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/05/27/obama-orders-delay-of-immigration-deportation-review/



Robin Hood Foundation Annual Gala

The Robin Hood Foundation’s annual gala raised over $60 million dollars in donations this month in their ongoing effort towards fighting poverty in America. The organization which is known for its philanthropic activities in public education, food programs, job training, and combatting homelessness, kicked off the event at New York City’s Jacob Javitz Center. The venue can hold more than twice that of any ballroom in the city and was packed with leading figures in the finance and business sectors.
One of the largest charity events in the country (and the largest in New York), the event boasted over four thousand attendees. To kick off the fundraiser a $10 million dollar challenge grant comprised of a $5 million dollar donation by the Pershing Square Foundation and a $5 million dollar anonymous donation was unveiled. The highlight of the evening was the launch of the new Robin Hood Dream Fund – a campaign designed specifically to help immigrants and their families as they transition into life in the United States. The evening’s success has now pushed the foundation’s total charitable contributions to over $1.45 billion dollars since 1988.
In addition to the organization’s board of directors and leadership council the foundation engages with accomplished experts, recruiting them to play important leadership roles in their active campaigns. These board members include influential philanthropists like Jacklyn Bezos of the Bezos Family Foundation and Kenneth Mehlman, Global Head of Public Affairs for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (kkr), who serves on the foundation’s Veterans Advisory Board. Ken Mehlman is one of many volunteers in the non-ideological organization that generously underwrites the administrative coats in addition to actively fund raising for the event.
Since he public ally came out in the Atlantic in 2010, Kenneth Mehlman has been an active advocate for LGBT equality across the country. In addition to his activities with the Robin Hood Foundation he has helped raise over $3 million dollars towards marriage equality in New York, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Washington State. He also serves on the board of directors of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and the United States Holocaust Museum.

Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent

A group of nearly 60 prominent same-sex marriage supporters recently signed a statement encouraging “a decent respect for differing opinions.”  The statement, entitled “Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent: Why We Must Have Both,” was published on April 22nd and outlined the concern that some same-sex marriage supporters aim to punish dissenters rather than working to persuade them.

The statement primarily refers to the recent resignation of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla after it was publicized that he made a $1,000 contribution in 2008 in support of California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8.

“We are concerned that recent events, including the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla under pressure because of an anti-same-sex- marriage donation he made in 2008, signal an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree,” the statement says.  “We reject that deeply illiberal impulse, which is both wrong in principle and poor as politics.”

The statement goes on to affirm that open society and vigorous public debate are necessary for our society, and are part of the reason why the “last few years have brought an astonishing moral and political transformation in the American debate over same-sex marriage and gay equality.”  It brings up the point that Brendan Eich’s donation was a personal political action taken when “the majority of the American public shared his view” and that Eich was not accused of practicing any form of discrimination against Mozilla employees.

“We strongly believe that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong, but the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job. Inflicting such consequences on others is sadly ironic in light of our movement’s hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox opinions.”

Signatories to the statement include Margaret Hoover of the American Unity Fund, former Republican Representative Jim Kolbe, President of the R Street Institute Eli Lehrer, businessman Ken Mehlman, and Leah Ward Sears, former Georgia Supreme Court Justice.

KKR starting on Twitter

As the New York Times reports, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has started posting on Twitter.  As of May 1st, which is also the 38th anniversary of KKR’s founding, the private equity giant began posting on the social media channel.

Not only will the move to start posting on Twitter open up another channel of communication, but it will also add more transparency.

“For the past several years, we’ve tried to be more transparent about our business and engage more with our investors and key stakeholders for K.K.R. and the companies in which we invest,” Ken Mehlman, a partner and the global head of public affairs at K.K.R., said in a statement. “We hope that Twitter provides another outlet for this conversation. We’ll use it to share news about our firm and perspectives on key issues impacting investing around the world.”

So far tweets have highlighted some of the volunteer work that KKR employees have done in their community, including 40 employees who helped to beautify Bryant Hill Community Garden in the South Bronx for Earth Day.

Other tweets included information on KKR’s partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund as part of their Green Portfolio, as well as information about the 2014 Ceres Conference and an app that the KKR Global Macro and Asset Allocation Team has put out around KKR Insights that provides access to reports and commentary from Henry McVey, KKR’s Head of Global Macro and Asset Allocation, focused on major trends impacting the economic and investing landscape.


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