Arthur Pappy Kennedy

Commemorate the legacies of Civil Rights pioneers

The annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast celebrates the lives and achievements of Arthur Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy was Orlando’s first African American City Council Member, taking the oath of office in 1973 and serving two terms until 1980. Pappy was an advocate of higher education, and he served as the organizer of the Orlando Negro Chamber of Commerce, President of the Jones High School Parent-Teacher Association, and was instrumental in the organization of the Orange County Parent-Teacher Council. With the goal of improving his community, he worked with many organizations including Meals on Wheels, the United Negro College Fund, and the NAACP. Although Pappy Kennedy passed away in 2000, his legacy lives on in our Central Florida community.

This event is hosted each year by the Southwest Orlando Jaycees, the City of Orlando’s Martin Luther King Commission, and the YMCA of Central Florida. For more than three decades, the prayer breakfast brings together hundreds of civic leaders, pastors, and Central Florida neighbors together in faith, prayer, and the shared commitment to strengthen our community and improve lives.

2024 Event Information

Date & Time

January 15, 2024 at 7:45 am


Fill out the form below to sponsor or attend the 2024 Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast.


First Baptist Orlando

3000 South John Young Pkwy
Orlando, Florida 32805

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2023 Keynote Speaker – Dr. Barbara Jenkins

Dr. Barbara M. Jenkins, Ed.D., Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, will serve as the keynote speaker at the 32nd Annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast.

Dr. Barbara Jenkins has been dedicated to serving the needs of students for 30 years. She was named superintendent of Orange County Public Schools in 2012.

Under Dr. Jenkins’ leadership, the district won the prestigious 2014 Broad Prize for Urban Education. The prize earned half-a-million dollars for student scholarships from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The district also received the Governor’s Sterling Award in 2014 and 2015 and the Sustained Excellence Award in 2017 for its exemplary performance using research-based best practices in its business.

In 2015, OCPS received District Accreditation from AdvancED for its best practices in the education field. OCPS has repeatedly been recognized by the College Board for increasing access to Advanced Placement course work, while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the number of students earning exam scores for college credit.

Dr. Jenkins is a recognized education leader. In January 2017, she received a presidential appointment as a director of the National Board of Education Sciences. She serves as Chairman of the Board for the Council of Great City Schools and is a member of Chiefs for Change and the Florida Council of 100. She is a board member for Educational Testing Service and is past president of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

In 2017, Dr. Jenkins was named the Florida Superintendent of the Year and one of four finalists for the national title. The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents named her Hispanic-Serving School District Superintendent of the Year and the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education named her CTE Superintendent of the Year. In 2016, the Florida Music Education Association named her Superintendent of the Year.

Recognized for her commitment and influence, both the Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Magazine have named her as one of the 10 most powerful people in Central Florida on multiple occasions; Orlando Magazine ranked her number one in Education among its 2018 “50 Most Powerful.” The Orlando Business Journal honored her as a CEO of the Year in 2015. In 2014, she was named the Visionary Award recipient by the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council and the Central Florida Woman of the Year by the Women’s Executive Council.

Deeply engaged in the community, Dr. Jenkins has served on the boards of Advent Health, Orlando Economic Partnership, United Arts of Central Florida, Central Florida Regional Commission on Homelessness and the Orange County Youth Mental Health Commission.

Jamari Saint Cyr

Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Scholarship

The scholarship is designed to assist minority high school seniors who are academically motivated and plan to attend an accredited post-secondary institution after graduation.

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David Brewer

Prayer Breakfast Recaps

Read more about each of the annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast events that have taken place over the years.

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Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Larry Mills

Southwest Orlando Jaycees Lifetime Achievement Award

Learn about the backgrounds of the recipients that have won this prestigious award.

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