LPFI Welcomes Eli Kennedy as its New Chief Executive Officer

Oakland, CA (March 7, 2016) – The Level Playing Field Institute’s Board of Directors announced today that Eli Kennedy has been named its new Chief Executive Officer. Eli will succeed Mitch Kapor, who has served as interim CEO since 2014.

“I’ve dedicated my career to educational access because I believe that there is far too much genius that goes untapped, which is unfair for young people and bad for our economy.,” said Kennedy. “Through LPFI, the Kapors have done so much to mitigate the disparities in STEM education for underrepresented students of color. I am honored to lead the start of this new chapter in LPFI’s 15 year history.”


Eli has worked to develop the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent pipeline in underrepresented communities and improve educational systems for over a decade.  He has led a region for Platform Learning, a tutoring company focused on low-income students and made investments in educational reform initiatives as a director at the Broad Foundation. He has also served as the President and CEO of the Pacific Charter School Development, where he developed over 50 public charter school facilities, raised more than $30M in new philanthropic funding, and scaled the organization as it expanded into three new states. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President of Redbird Advanced Learning, a leading research-based EdTech company

Level Playing Field Institute is an Oakland-based nonprofit that provides resources and support to ensure that underrepresented students of color and low-income can overcome barriers and obstacles to their success and thrive in STEM fields of study, from K-12 through higher education. LPFI achieves its mission through rigorous research and education programming. Its signature program, the Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academy is a free-of-cost, STEM-intensive residential college preparatory program targeting 9th grade high school students from traditionally underrepresented communities interested in pursuing STEM careers.

“We were looking for someone who not only has the passion and experience, but also the vision to carry out the national expansion of the SMASH program,” said Mitch Kapor, Board member. “I am confident that under Eli’s leadership, LPFI will continue to advance as one of the nation’s leading STEM education and research organizations for underrepresented youth of color.

“Eli’s passion for education was instilled in him at a young age when his mother was a teacher in East Oakland, an area that to this day is still severely underserved,” said Freada Kapor Klein, founder of Level Playing Field Institute and Board Chair. “ As a leader who has navigated both the tech and nonprofit worlds, Eli will also serve as a mentor to our scholars as they prepare for careers in tech and fulfill our goal of diversifying the ecosystem.”


Founded in 2001 by Freada Kapor Klein, Level Playing Field Institute (https://www.smash.org) is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of our nation.