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Kennedy Center's First-Ever CEO Stepping Down After Four Decades Of Service

Martin Schwartz has been CEO of The Kennedy Center for nearly 40 years.
Martin Schwartz has been CEO of The Kennedy Center for nearly 40 years. Photo Credit: Contributed

TRUMBULL, Conn. — Martin Schwartz, the first-and-only CEO of The Kennedy Center, will retire from the organization in 2018 after nearly 40 years of service.

A champion for people with intellectual disabilities, the Trumbull resident has touched the lives of thousands of families throughout Connecticut and is nationally recognized in the rehabilitation field.

“Marty is an exceptional leader who has made a difference in the lives of countless people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to achieve their fullest potential,” said Monroe resident Michele Macauda, chairman of the Kennedy Center board of directors. “His passion to serve, visionary leadership and collaborative style have been an inspiration to all of us who have had the pleasure to know and work with him.”

When Schwartz took the helm in 1978, The Kennedy Center was a community-based, non-profit rehabilitation organization founded in 1951 by its namesake Evelyn Kennedy and a dozen parents.

It served fewer than 200 individuals with intellectual disabilities and employed 48.

Now headquartered in Trumbull, The Kennedy Center serves more than 2,000 people from birth through their senior years, employs more than 750 and works with an annual budget of $32 million.

“Marty has played an integral role in Connecticut’s success in supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities,” said Jordan A. Scheff, Connecticut commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

The agency is one of the largest employers in the region and one of the largest rehabilitation organizations in the State of Connecticut.

“When we discover unmet needs and emerging trends, we seek to find the necessary funds to start related programs in the community,” said Schwartz, who will leave the center in January.

The Kennedy Center was the first state organization to start Travel Training, which assists individuals with disabilities and the elderly to access public transportation. Care for the Caregiver, created by The Kennedy Center, is a nationally recognized program providing training and support enabling adults with Intellectual Disabilities and their elderly parents to assist each other so they can remain in their own homes.

The center’s board will hire a national search firm to find his successor. Visit for more information.

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