Ken Mehlman understands politics. So when the New York state legislature was debating whether or not to pass a same-sex marriage law in New York he knew what needed to be done.
The issue is an important one to Ken Mehlman as he’s been an active advocate for LGBT equality ever since he came out in the Atlantic in 2010. Since then, he’s helped to raise almost $3 million for marriage equality campaigns in New York, Maryland, New Hampshire and Washington State.
Of course, money is just one facet of such a campaign. Not only did Mehlman reach out to conservative donors to raise money, he also went personally to Albany to speak to key leaders of the New York State Legislature. He spoke with several undecided GOP senators, including three that eventually voted in favor of the bill. And in conversations, presentations, and publications he continually pressed the ideas that “letting two adults who love each other get married strengthens and promotes families,” and, “there’s a strong Republican and conservative case to be made in favor of the right to marry.”
Partially because of his work on the Albany campaign Out Magazine included Ken Mehlman on their 2011 Out 100 list of the year’s most influential gay, lesbian and transgender men and women. Several prominent gay rights leaders and bloggers also recognized Mehlman’s role in the successful passage of the bill.
Mehlman is also an active part of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), where he serves on the board. AFER is a non-profit dedicated to “protecting and advancing equal rights for every American” and is sole sponsor of the federal court challenge of California’s Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
But Ken Mehlman has other philanthropic pursuits as well. He was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2007 for a five-year term and is a trustee at Franklin & Marshall College, the National Endowment for Democracy, and The IDEAL School of Manhattan.
He also serves on the Robin Hood Foundation Advisory Board. The Robin Hood Foundation has a simple goal: “end poverty in New York City.” And for more than 20 years they’ve fought the problems that poverty causes by finding, funding, and partnering with “programs that have proven they are an effective remedy to poverty and are a consistent force for good in the lives of New Yorkers in need.” More than just a funding organization, the Robin Hood Foundation works hard to ensure accountability in those that receive its grants and continues to keep in touch with them throughout the process, helping to make their charities and efforts more effective.
In December of 2013, Ken Mehlman was elected as the new chairman of the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC). His responsibilities there include engaging with lawmakers and engaging stakeholders through increased outreach and education efforts.
Mehlman currently serves as Head of Global Public Affairs for KKR & Co. L.P. (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) where he is responsible for overseeing the firm’s global external affairs activities, including corporate marketing, regulatory affairs and public policy. Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and voted “Campaign Manager of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants in 2005.