Donald Kendall of Greenwich, the co-founder, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo is on a crusade to protect kids' identities. He believes that children are increasingly the victims of identity theft, and that parents need to understand the risk. To that end he has launched a program called KIDS - keeping identities safe for kids.
Next Tuesday, November 9, Kendall is holding an invitation-only fundraiser at the PepsiCo headquarters in Purchase in support of the KIDS program. The KIDS effort is part of a national non-profit Kendall chairs called the Coalition for a Secure Drivers License (CSDL).
According to Greenwich resident Alan Weeden, who serves on Kendall's board and who was the co-founder of CSDL, the organization was created two months after 9/11, by friends of Weeden's from Greenwich, New York City and Westchester County, including those with connections to the former World Trade Center, created the nonprofit CSDL. Its mission was to search out a reliable system of ID documentation to improve national security and public safety.
In the ensuing nine years, the CSDL has worked to identify and then present awards to those states with high standards for obtaining proof of ID for drivers. The group's efforts also contributed to Congress's 2005 REAL ID Act Title II section that established national standards for state-issued drivers' licenses and non-driver identification cards.
And now, the CSDL has the new initiative - KIDS - spearheaded by Kendall, that that works to engage parents in various actions to protect their children's identity information. To learn more about this initiative we caught up with Kendall in California and asked him a few questions.
On November 9, Kendall is holding an invitation-only fundraiser at the PepsiCo headquarters in Purchase in support of the KIDS program. To learn more about this initiative we caught up with Kendall in California and asked him a few questions.
What is the KIDS program?
It is really aimed at increasing parent awareness that children are increasingly the victims of identity theft. The people stealing identities from children are typically career criminals, often local to the kid's own neighborhood. When parents understand the risk, they can take steps to safeguard the identity documents of their children.
Where is the KIDS program operating today?
It was started as a pilot program in my hometown of Sequim, Washington. I asked the local administrator to help us put the program together, and test it thoroughly before we moved it to other communities. Since then, we have expanded it to King County, Washington.
Will the CSDL bring the program to Connecticut?
The KIDS program only completed its pilot phase this summer. The organization's staff is still focused on ensuring the program's success before working with new locations. I'm hopeful that we'll be working with one or more Boys & Girls Clubs in Connecticut in 2011.
When did you become Chairman of the CSDL board?
The Board of Directors included several friends of mine from Greenwich, including Alan Weeden, H.R. Holmyard, and Cynthia Matthews Whitehead. They had earlier recruited me to the Coalition Board, and in 2007 I decided to become more active. The Coalition had been pretty much a regional group, with most of its members in Greenwich and New York City. I thought that the message was important enough that the Coalition should do more on the national level. I also wanted the organization to take a more proactive stance toward protecting people from identity theft, and to set up programs aimed at the state and community level.
Are you pleased with results since you became Chairman?
Yes, the Coalition now has a program to recognize state achievements in improving driver's license security. We have provided seven states awards over the past two years. Our newest program KIDS is the one of which I'm most proud, because it produces measurable results in a short time frame.
More information about the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License can be found at www.secure-license.org