Approximately 13 years ago, Kevin Hynes was introduced to UCAN through his roommate, former Illinois State Senator Dan Kotowski, who was leading UCAN’s fundraising team at the time. A great partnership was formed as UCAN was seeking to get younger people engaged and Kevin was looking for volunteer opportunities. Throughout the years, Kevin has assisted UCAN in various capacities. Once a member of UCAN’s Advisory Council, Kevin now serves as the Secretary of UCAN’s Governing Board. His role is to ensure that the by-laws are followed and kept up to date. As a partner at O’Keefe, Lyons & Hynes, LLC law firm, Kevin also finds time to provide pro-bono legal services to UCAN on matters related to property tax law.
Philanthropy and service to the community are two principles that were instilled in Kevin at a very early age. His parents were actively involved in civic engagement and fostered the importance of giving back in their children. “My parents taught my brothers and I to give back and never forget where we came from. What I like most is helping kids who did not have the life that I had,” stated Kevin. This value goes with Kevin in all aspects of his life.
Kevin points to his experience at the 2015 Youth Peace Summit as a very memorable day. “I was blown away to see these kids from all over the city, sitting down, talking and discussing the different issues that they deal with and finding how much they have in common as opposed to their differences. ” Kevin credits the UCAN staff for fostering that attitude in our kids and putting on top-notch events like the Summit. Kevin noted, “Without UCAN’s staff, we are just another charity.”
He believes that volunteering at UCAN is an incredible opportunity to give back and sees the youth served at UCAN as the future of Chicago. He passionately spoke about how important it is to provide the youth with as many opportunities as possible. “I am excited about the future of the organization. I want to get more involved with the youth. That is what I am looking for in the next chapter,” he explained.
Kevin referenced that he draws inspiration from the commitment and perseverance of all of the individuals involved with UCAN. When asked why he continues to spend his time volunteering with UCAN, he affirmed, “UCAN uses a holistic global approach to help kids who need it the most. Every year the organization has gotten better.” He explained that the other reason he stays involved is to be a good example for his daughter because he wants her to understand that they have an obligation to give back. He hopes that he can inspire her to give back in the future the way his parents inspired him.
When asked how he would encourage others to become more involved with the organization Kevin said, “I think the first step is to show up. You have to come to the events and meet the kids. You just have to seek out the opportunities.” He continued by stating, “Everyone has a skill-set. The question is, can that skill-set be applied to helping UCAN’s mission.”
Outside of volunteering and work, Kevin spends time with his teenage daughter and his partner. Kevin expressed that both women have taught him a lot about life. He also enjoys staying active by biking, golfing and staying involved with other charities and his high school; where he and his brothers have named a scholarship and portion of the school after their parents.
To learn more about how you can get involved with UCAN please visit https://ucanchicago.org/get-involved/.