NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: GOJO Industries
JEWISH FUNDING AREAS: Various
OVERVIEW: Joseph Kanfer is a founding director of Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation, which supports Jewish life in areas where Kanfer family members live, particularly Ohio. The family also moves philanthropy through the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah. Joseph Kanfer is active in Jewish civic life and is the past chair of JFNA/The Jewish Federations of North America, among other commitments.
BACKGROUND: Joseph Kanfer received his B.S. in economics from Wharton and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Kanfer is chairman and CEO of GOJO Industries, the global leader in skin health and hygiene solutions for away-from-home markets and the inventor of PURELL Instant Hand Sanitizer. He also is a venture investor in the United States and Israel.
LIPPMAN KANFER FAMILY FOUNDATION: Goldie and the late Jerry Lippman z”l originally established the Jerome Lippman Family Foundation in the 1960s to primarily support Akron-based Jewish organizations. Through the years, nephew Joseph Kanfer became increasingly involved with the family business, as well as on the philanthropic end. The foundation is now steered by Kanfer and other second and third generation family members.
The Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation has a strong web presence, but does not accept unsolicited proposals. The foundation supports select projects that support the Jewish community where Kanfer and other family members live, more specifically Cleveland, OH, Brooklyn, NY, and Chautauqua, NY. Partners and projects include The Jewish Community Board of Akron (JCBA), The Lippman School, Luria Academy and Anshe Sfard Congregation.
Recently, the foundation also initiated a new program where family members research a particular societal problem and then engage in grantmaking. The foundation's first focus was on poverty and hunger and its second is climate change. As it relates to the Jewish community, one grantee was Matan B’Sayser, which provides support to Cleveland’s neediest Jewish residents.
LIPPMAN KANFER FOUNDATION FOR LIVING TORAH: Kanfer and family also move philanthropy through the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah. The foundation "promotes and supports 'Living Torah' — Judaism as a powerful, evolving wellspring of accumulating wisdom and sensibilities that enriches people’s lives and helps create a better world." Partners and projects the foundation supports include Hillel, where Kanfer sits on the board; Joshua Venture Group, which "invests in leaders with unique ideas that they believe will significantly impact the Jewish world;" and BimBam, a new media production company that makes animations, apps, and web experiences with a mission of Jewish literacy and meaningful Jewish screen time. The foundation also recently launched the Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom.
LOOKING FORWARD: Kanfer and family have shown a willingness to change their philanthropic approaches through the years, but expect the family's commitment to the Jewish community to hold.