Non-Profit Connect has named Bike 4 the Brain founder Ken Sonnenschein, M.D. one of its ten 2010 Rising Stars of Philanthropy. The Rising Stars, together with Carolyn and Bob Reintjes, Kansas City Power and Light, Ramon Murguia and Karen Haren of Harvesters, were honored at the 26th annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon in Kansas City on May 14 for their achievements in philanthropy and community leadership.
Ken, a psychiatrist and avid cyclist, founded Bike 4 the Brain in 2006 to raise awareness of brain based illnesses which cause emotional and behavioral symptoms. The annual event, scheduled for Sept. 6, 2010, has increased in popularity each year since its inception. Planning the event is a monumental task and Ken is involved in all of its facets including recruiting riders, sponsors and volunteers, publicity, planning and marking the route, coordinating with police and community partners, and providing refreshments and technical support.
In addition to Bike 4 the Brain, Ken initiated the Mitzvah Garden ten years ago at Village Shalom, which features annual campouts and activities which benefit both the community and Village Shalom residents.
He was co-chair of All-in-for-Skin, which raised funds for the Melanoma Foundation and sings with Shireinu, the Jewish Community Chorale of Greater Kansas City. He is also in the current group of Helzberg Leadership Fellows.
Ken is married to Kansas City native Sheila Sonnenschein and they are the parents of four children. The couple participated in the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies Bike Ride from Jerusalem to Eilat several years ago. The family belongs to Congregation Beth Shalom.