Out of the Loss of Our Founder’s Son Came ChoiceLocal, The Benjamin Isaac Foundation, and the Big Hairy Audacious Goal of Helping 10,000 Kids Per Year
In 2012, the founder of ChoiceLocal, Joe Soltis, was a successful executive at one of the top digital marketing firms in the world. His clients were some of the biggest companies and brands in the United States and he served as the VP of Operations, overseeing all digital marketing efforts of these brands and their clients. At the time Joe was working about 60 hours per week and to his own admission spent too much time on work.
“Back in 2012, I worked about 60 hours per week. When I was at home I was thinking about work. I was always a devoted husband and dad, but I was too focused on work and I wasn’t mentally there even when I was at home. Then one day, late into our pregnancy I was in the ultrasound room with my wife, and I am embarrassed to say, I was thinking about work during the ultrasound. About 20 minutes into the ultrasound, the doctor came into the room, and privately told my wife and me we had lost our son – there was no heartbeat.
I was in shock. I took it to prayer, reflection and I talked a good bit with my wife Becky about it. I always said that I wanted to be successful so that I could help people. Yet, my outlook on life changed that day. I wanted help people now, in a big way, while being a husband and dad that is 100% there. So, I founded my own company, with a Mission of Helping Others, that no one should have to work more than 40 hours per week to be wildly successful, that offered generous benefits to our teammates, that would enable small and medium sized franchise businesses as well as large franchise systems to thrive in a way that the Fortune 500 brands historically have. Then, we would give 10% of its profits to help others – especially kids in need. At that point, I wrote ChoiceLocal’s mission, its core values, its business plan, and my wife Becky and I co-founded the Benjamin Isaac Foundation, named after our son Ben. It’s been a dream come true. We have turned that pain into so much purpose and joy. What a gift! Our company is inclusive, purpose-driven and faith-based. In a very real way, we are making the world a better place and touching hearts each day.”
– Joe Soltis, Founder & CEO of ChoiceLocal
Each year approximately 10% of ChoiceLocal’s company earnings go to help kids in need, principally through the Benjamin Isaac Foundation, named after the late unborn son of Becky & Joe Soltis who passed away in 2012. The Benjamin Isaac Foundation helps children in need by giving nutrition, healthcare, education, safety, love, and faith to kids around the world in need.
ChoiceLocal has enabled families to have Christmas gifts, funded bereavement support for kids who have lost loved ones, often tragically, funded fun summer camps for kids, sponsored the building of a new home for Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, given clean drinking water to villages through new wells that until we helped did not have drinking water, funded meals for kids in school that don’t have money to eat, given money to those struggling financially due to a cancer diagnosis in their family. The best part is that we are just getting started. Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to help 10,000 kids per year, and our CEO is now starting to say, “You know what, I don’t think we were thinking big enough.”
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