Arthur Pappy Kennedy

Commemorate the legacies of Civil Rights pioneers


For over three decades, the Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast has united Central Florida residents, civic, faith, and business leaders who share an unwavering commitment to strengthening our community and uplifting every individual within it. This distinctive occasion, jointly orchestrated by the Southwest Orlando Jaycees, YMCA of Central Florida, and City of Orlando’s MLK Commission, serves as a resounding tribute to the indelible legacies of Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


The namesake of the event, Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, was the inaugural African-American City Council Member in Orlando. Pappy held this position for two consecutive terms, spanning from 1973 to 1980. During his tenure, he dedicated himself to enhancing our community, forging partnerships with various public, nonprofit, grassroots, and private entities, such as Meals on Wheels, the United Negro College Fund, and the NAACP, in order to bring about tangible and enduring transformations. While in office, Pappy also assumed the role of organizer for the Orlando Negro Chamber of Commerce, served as President of the Jones High School Parent-Teacher Association co-founded the Orange County Parent-Teacher Council, and vigorously advocated for equal access to higher education. Even after his term concluded, Pappy remained a tireless champion for the advancement and well-being of our community and all its residents. Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy passed away in 2000, leaving behind an extraordinary legacy of community influence. The Annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast pays tribute to his remarkable contributions, serving as a poignant reminder that, through unwavering faith, values, and aspirations, and by showing up, exerting genuine effort, offering what we can, and collaborating with an open heart and an inquisitive mind, we can collectively fortify our community and enhance the lives of everyone who calls Central Florida home.

2024 Event Information

Date & Time

January 15, 2024 at 7:30 am

Registration & Sponsorship

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


First Orlando

3000 South John Young Pkwy
Orlando, Florida 32805

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2024 Scholarship Application – Now Open

The YMCA of Central Florida, the Southwest Orlando Jaycees, and community partners will award multiple Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Scholarships on the basis of academic performance, essay quality, and volunteer/charitable service record as well as participation in school leadership and/or extracurricular programs. All essays will be reviewed by the Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Scholarship Committee.

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Sponsorship Opportunities

Join us as event partners and make a lasting impact on our community’s future by collectively awarding $2,000 scholarships to ten local high school seniors pursuing accredited post-secondary education in Fall 2024.

Sponsor Today!

2024 Keynote Speaker – Val Demings

Val Demings

Val Butler Demings is a lifelong public servant who learned from her parents about the American Dream. They didn’t have much: two parents and seven children in a small wood-framed house in Jacksonville. Her mother Elouise worked as a maid, her father James as a janitor, landscaper, and orange picker.

She became the first in her family to go to college. She became a social worker, working to protect children in broken homes. Then, dismayed at a system that was leaving too many families behind, she signed up to become a police officer. It was a tough path, and tougher still in the 80s for a woman and Black American in a profession that had few of either. But she graduated as class president, earned the board of trustees award for overall excellence, and went on to serve 27 years at every rank level in the Orlando Police Department. In 2007, she made history when she was appointed to serve as the city’s first female Chief of Police.

By making the Orlando community a partner of the department, Chief Demings made the concept of “protect and serve” a tangible presence in Orlando’s most dangerous neighborhoods. She pushed through the financial crisis and did more with less, driving a strategic focus that crushed violent crime by 40%. She deployed new community rejuvenation strategies like youth mentoring, access to childcare, a GED program, and job skills training.

In 2016, Chief Demings was elected by the voters of Florida’s 10th District to serve in Congress. She swiftly gained a reputation as a tireless champion for public safety, civil rights, the rule of law, and the American Dream, and served on the Committees on Judiciary, Intelligence, Homeland Security (chairing the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery) and Oversight and Government Reform. She earned widespread acclaim as an impeachment manager prosecuting former President Donald Trump.

In 2020, her record of national leadership earned her consideration as running mate to President Joe Biden, and in 2022 she ran for the U.S. Senate in Florida, capturing hearts and minds across the country in a campaign rooted in her parents’ lessons about service, truth, justice, decency, and the American Dream.

Throughout, she received voluminous awards and recognitions and has engaged locally and nationally with numerous organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, and others. Val Demings and her husband Jerry have been blessed with three children and five grandchildren. When she’s not fighting for our democracy and spending time with her family, she rides her Harley-Davidson Road King Classic.

Through all of it, she has always remembered her parents’ lesson: never tire of doing good.

I have an inquiry about the prayer breakfast

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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