Joel Solomon is the chair and co-founder of Renewal Funds, a mission venture capital firm based in Vancouver, BC. He is also the board chair of Hollyhock, an educational retreat center and the author of the new book, The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism.
Joel was born in Chattanooga Tennessee to a Jewish family. He grew up when segregation was the norm. There were different restrooms and water fountains for “whites” and “colored.” Joel recalls, “Those kinds of images and symbols were confusing to me as a kid. Why were people treated differently?” As a Jew in the south, Joel says it was “a similar situation. That was not the norm.”
The 1960s was a time of cultural unrest and change. Joel’s family began to experience commercial success. His father was a pioneer in building shopping malls. At the same time, Joel was caught up in the counter culture.
Joel left the south to attend college. While there, he heard about a single-term governor from Georgia who was going to run for president. Joel finished school early so that he could join Jimmy Carter’s campaign to become the president.
As the campaign wound down and Jimmy Carter entered the White House, Joel received some devastating news. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD). With PKD, clusters of cysts develop in the kidneys, causing the kidneys to lose function. PKD had claimed the lives of several of Joel’s relatives. The doctors told Joel that, without a kidney transplant, the symptoms would eventually be fatal.
This was a wake-up call for Joel. He began to ask himself questions about his contribution to the world. A few years later, Joel found himself running his family’s business. Joel began to work towards using his family wealth to make a difference. According to Joel, “We have a responsibility as elders to pass on what we can to the next generation. It is time now to take responsibility for where our money is and who and what it is affecting.”
Joel encourages people to think about where they work, where they invest and where they shop. “We have a lot more creative power and possibility then we are led to believe,” he reminds us.Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Joel Solomon
“Humans have reached the point where we have the capacity to destroy too much.”
“We now need to wake up and look at our impact in the larger way.”
“It is time now to take responsibility for where our money is and who and what it is affecting.”
“Eight people own as much wealth as half the world’s population.”
“People in their 60s, 70s that are owning most of the wealth are passing it on to a generation that is thinking very differently.”
“There are many different ways that you can create a career these days.”
“I believe every one of us should take time to think back from the end.”
“What have we accomplished? What have we contributed?”
“We have a huge responsibility to consider what our contribution is going to be.”
“How are we going to leave the world better than we found it?”
“My primary work is as a mission-venture capitalist.”
“We have a responsibility as elders to pass on what we can to the next generation.”
“We have a lot more creative power and possibility then we are led to believe.”
“If we are given choices we will make better ones.”Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
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