Leah Tennille, PresidentEmail LinkedIn Profile
Leah Tennille is the president of Strategic Funding Group. With over ten years of non-profit leadership experience, she is especially skilled in the areas of research and public policy. Prior to assuming the presidency, Leah served as COO, grant writer and grant research associate at SFG.
Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Leah is a graduate of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and earned an Artium Baccalaureus in English and Latin at the College of Charleston. While in Charleston she was an avid supporter of community volunteer organizations and earned her Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Big Sister of the Year Award. In fact, it was her habit of volunteerism that originally led her to become involved with SFG.
Leah says, “A summer job with my Dad turned into the perfect career path for me. It combines my love of research, public policy, and writing with my interest in volunteerism and helping others. It never gets boring. Each fiscal year and client presents new challenges and chances for problem solving. There is nothing more gratifying than hearing that a client received a grant because of an application we wrote. It’s especially exciting when I get to tour clients’ programs and hear success stories that are a result of funding we helped them secure.”
Today Leah calls Atlanta, Georgia home, where she lives with her husband, Dre, and a Boykin Spaniel named Lucy. The couple welcomed their first child in September, 2013. In her free time, Leah enjoys practicing pure barre, following UK basketball and the Atlanta Braves, sewing and reading.
Michael Kannensohn, Chief Funding StrategistEmail
Michael Kannensohn is the chief funding strategist and founder of Strategic Funding Group (SFG), having turned over the reins as President /CEO to his daughter Leah Tennille in January 2012. With close to three decades’ experience in research, policy analysis, strategic planning, persuasive technical writing, grants training and public speaking, he is an expert at determining creative solutions to help his clients secure funding. Prior to forming SFG, Mr. Kannensohn’s other professional roles included performing high-level research, consultative and executive management for organizations such as the Mayor’s Training Center (Lexington,KY), Council of State Governments (Lexington, New York and Atlanta offices ), Public Research and Management Consultants (Atlanta) and the Kentucky Department of Corrections.
Mr. Kannensohn was recognized for his leadership with the HUD Best Practice Homeless Continuum of Care award for Polk County, Florida in 1997 and in his respective tenures as past Vice President and past President of the Southeastern employment and Training Association. He is a member of the Lincoln Forum and is honored to be an annual invitee to the prestigious Atlantic Monthly Washington Ideas Forum.
His career with SFG makes good use of his exceptional memory, perseverance and intensity. Combining these with his competitive nature and a deep sense of compassion for others, he has formed a skill set well suited to meeting the complex challenges of the governmental and private grant funding world. He says, “It brings me a great deal of satisfaction to help transform the ideas and ideals of customers into programs that improve the lives of their clients and the communities they serve.”
After growing up in Michigan and Florida, Mr. Kannensohn earned his B.A. in Political Science at the University of South Florida, where he was elected Student Government Senator, served as an officer in Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and earned recognition in the 1967-68 Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. This was followed by a Master of Arts in Political Science/Public Administration from the University of Kentucky, from which he graduated with a perfect 4.0 average. He is a member of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, which focuses on continuous improvement for those in the fund development field.
Today, Mr. Kannensohn is a very active member in his own community of Lexington, Kentucky. His community involvement includes memberships with Lexington Rotary, Community Action, Salvation Army (board member), Living Arts and Science Center (board member), Lexington Children’s Museum (founding board member), Volunteers of America (Kentucky Advisory Council) and Lexington Jazz arts Foundation. He can also be found assisting Habitat for Humanity as a programs volunteer and tutors young children through the Carnegie Literacy Center.
Mr. Kannensohn is a supporter and member of numerous social and recreational clubs including the Lexington Tennis Club, where he won the 2012 Doubles Tennis Championship Indian Summer Camp Classic. In addition to tennis, his interests include Civil War history (he is an active member of the Lincoln Forum) and jazz and folk music, which is quite literally in his blood, as his father was an amazing clarinetist who played in clubs up to the age of 98.
Mr. Kannensohn‘s wife Margaret was Lexington’s former elected county prosecutor. Margaret uses her prosecutorial experience to assist SFG with researching and writing criminal justice-related grants. She is also an avid genealogist working toward her genealogical certification. Her natural curiosity and keen intellect have complemented Mr. Kannensohn well and helped to keep him mentally sharp. They have two adult daughters and one adorable granddaughter and one beautiful grandson.