Joseph attributes his life-long involvement to community organizations and nonprofit work to the idea that “everyone should be willing to give back” instilled in him by his parents. As a 14-year-old high school student, he became an aide and tutor for mentally and physically challenged grade-school children, and came to understand the rewards of service. Eight years later, when stationed at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Joseph became involved with the US Navy’s Project White Hat, which gave sailors the opportunity to volunteer with hospitalized children, homeless families and individuals, organize blood drives, and give support to victims of natural disasters. This work continued when he transferred to the east coast, and during his tour abroad.
In the early 1980s, Joseph volunteered in an administrative capacity with both Howard Brown Memorial Clinic and Horizons’ Youth Center. In 1985, he began a life-long partnership with the newly formed Chicago House when he and a friend organized and produced its first benefit. He has continued to commit his time, skills and services to organization such as Vital Bridges (Open Hand Pantry), BeHIV and the Names Project, as well as soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
After 26 years working in the business sector, Joseph made the move to nonprofit when he accepted a job with Equality Illinois, an organization he volunteered with since its formation in 1991. During his 7 years there, he was in charge of office, facilities and equipment management, assisted in fundraising and donor cultivation, created the monthly e-newsletters, managed the donor database, was a part of the organization’s speaker’s panel, and coordinated for more than 250 volunteers at events.
Joseph is excited to see how his skills, passions and personal/business connections can help Back 2 School Illinois continue to make a positive impact in the lives of Illinois children and their families.