Joseph Kanfer

Founding Director

Joe Kanfer is Venturer at GOJO. The second generation of family leadership of GOJO, Joe was CEO from 1976 to May 2018, when he transitioned to Venturer. As Venturer, Joe is a member of the GOJO Board and an advisor and coach to many teams. Joe brings his passion for innovation and vision-setting to constantly generate new ideas and push boundaries.

Joe is a venture investor in the United States and Israel, serving as Chairman of Startvest Partners, which develops biotech startups in Israel.  He is active in national Jewish affairs and is the past Chair of JFNA, The Jewish Federations of North America, the coordinating organization of the North American Jewish community, which includes the 155 Jewish communities of North America. He served on the board of the Jewish Agency for Israel and is past Chair of JESNA/the Jewish Education Service of North America, the Akron Jewish Federation and The Lippman School. He is also a Founding Director of Lippman Kanfer Family Philanthropies. He currently serves as Chair of Honeymoon Israel, a new venture to bring young couples to Israel and foster Jewish community when they return, and a board member of Leading Edge, dedicated to building talent pipelines for leadership in Jewish organizations.

Joe is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Akron Chamber Board of Directors, past Chair of Akron Tomorrow and past Vice Chair of The University of Akron Board of Trustees.

Joe received the 2011 H. Peter Burg Award from the Greater Akron Chamber and the 2015 Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award from the Akron Community Foundation. He holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Joe is married with four children and 14 grandchildren.