Joe Kanfer is the chairman and CEO of Akron-based, privately held GOJO Industries Inc., the inventor of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer and the leading global producer and marketer of skin health and hygiene solutions. In addition to his role at GOJO, he is the chairman of Startvest Partners, which develops biotech startups in Israel; Everett Partners, a venture investment firm; and several medical device companies.
Joe is known both locally and nationally for his dedication to strengthening the Jewish community and focusing on social justice issues, including education, health care, poverty and hunger. This work is accomplished personally – in collaboration with his wife, Pam, his four children and their spouses through the Lippman Kanfer Family Philanthropies, where he is a founder – and through GOJO.
Joe is also involved in numerous organizations throughout the Greater Akron area. He is chairman of Akron Tomorrow, serves on the Greater Akron Chamber Executive Committee, and chairs the advisory board of the new Bits and Atoms Innovation Center incubator, which will help bring innovation to the region. He is a trustee of the Jewish Community Board of Akron and the Lippman School, and is past chair of both. He recently served as honorary chairman of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Building on the Promise campaign. He is past vice chair of the University of Akron Board of Trustees and is a former trustee of the Shaw Jewish Community Center and the Akron Roundtable.
Nationally, Joe served a three-year term as the chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, the coordinating organization of the North American Jewish community, and he has chaired the Jewish Education Service of North America. He has also served on the board of the Jewish Agency for Israel in Jerusalem. He currently serves as chair of the Honeymoon Israel Foundation.
His numerous accolades include an honorary doctorate from the University of Akron and the 2011 H. Peter Burg Award from the Greater Akron Chamber. Joe is an alumnus of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School. He is married with four children and 12 grandchildren.
In 2015, Joe added the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award to his list of accomplishments.