Meet Pete Kadens, H.O.P.E. Toledo Founder
Pete Kadens is a serial entrepreneur and dedicated philanthropist who currently serves as the chairman of The Kadens Family Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to closing the pervasive wealth and education gaps in the US. Pete retired in August 2018 as CEO of Green Thumb Industries, one of the largest publicly-traded, legal cannabis operators in the US with a current market capitalization of over $2 billion. Prior to Green Thumb Industries, in 2008 Pete started one of the largest commercial solar companies in the US, SoCore Energy. Under his leadership, SoCore expanded operations into 17 states and was named one of Chicago's most innovative businesses by the Chicago Innovation Awards. In 2013, he sold SoCore Energy to Edison International, a Fortune 500 energy holding company. Pete employed thousands of people and created billions in shareholder value over his 16-year career as a CEO.
Pete believes deeply in, and actively leads, organizations that seek to transform lives and strengthen communities, serving as chairman of StreetWise (2009 – 2018), one of the largest homeless aid organizations in Chicago. Pete currently serves as chairman emeritus at StreetWise and sits on several other boards in the nonprofit and for-profit space.
Pete was awarded the Trailblazer Chicago Award by The Cara Program in 2019, The Catalyst Man of the Year by Streetwise in 2015, The Distinguished Alumnus for Citizenship in 2010 by his college alma mater, Bucknell University, where he earned his bachelor’s of arts in political science. He was also named one of the 40 Under 40 by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2012. Pete was named one of 20 People to Watch in the Cannabis Industry in 2018 by Marijuana Business Daily.
Pete is a 2019 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a fellowship that accepts roughly 20 people from around the world each year who have been identified as individuals who have the capacity to create ventures that solve one of society’s intractable problems.
Pete, and his wife, Amy, are blessed and honored to provide students a free education in their hometown of Toledo, Ohio.
"In my experience working with the underserved and the youth over the last 15 years, I have seen that all it takes is one human being to invest in another and their life can take flight. I have also witnessed a sense of hopelessness in our urban ecosystems that can be extinguished and converted into a sense of HOPE by investing in education and positive relationships for our youth.
Many people have told me my ideas are “too big and too bold” and that “this isn’t possible to do on this scale” or that “it won’t work.” But my parents taught me that I should always do things with no downside, and this platform has NO downside, only upside for Toledo and its youth and it WILL work. I’m excited to come back to my hometown and to participate in some small way in its renaissance."
Founder, HOPE Toledo
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Dr. Kadee Anstadt, Superintendent, Washington Local Schools (ex officio)
Dr. Romules Durant, Superintendent, Toledo Public Schools (ex officio)
Bishop Edward Cook, New Life Church of God in Christ
Wendi Huntley, Esq., Connecting Kids to Meals
Pete Kadens, The Kadens Family Foundation
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Mayor, City of Toledo (OH)
Randy Oostra, CEO, ProMedica