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It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of our close friend Joseph E. Robert Jr. A native of the DC area, he was a devoted father of two sons, renowned philanthropist, prolific entrepreneur, and most importantly, a fighter. I consider myself blessed to have known Joe—to have seen how his generosity changed lives, to have learned from him how to harness one’s strengths for good, and to have been inspired by his passion for establishing long-lasting change.
Early in his life, fighting got Joe into trouble and he struggled with school, but he was soon turned on to boxing which served as a positive channel for his energy. He would later leverage his talent in the ring with his celebrated annual “Fight Night” events to raise money for children’s charities. Joe had said that boxing gave him “confidence and taught him winning was all about perseverance.” Joe was also a true entrepreneur. Growing up, his family faced economic hardship, so Joe went into action finding ways to sell just about anything. Joe always fought for what he believed in, and approached his work and philanthropy with creative acumen. These were characteristics that drove Joe throughout his life and shaped everything he did, including his valiant battle with brain cancer.
Along with his many business achievements and the founding of his highly successful real estate company JER Partners, Joe was dedicated to helping others and in particular serving as a champion for children. He himself donated millions of dollars to children’s groups over the years and in 1990 founded Fight for Children, a nonprofit organization that seeks to ensure all low-income children in Washington, DC, receive a great education and stay healthy so they can learn. He was also a tireless champion for Children's National Medical Center and many other DC-based causes. All told, he helped to direct more than $1 billion to improve the lives of Washington area children through a variety of programs and initiatives. Most recently, Joe made a $5 million pledge to Fight for Children, which will support programs that aim to improve academic achievement among students over the next three years.
We hope you'll join us in remembering and honoring Joe and all the wonderful contributions he made as a committed philanthropist and advocate, adoring father, and dear friend. Joe truly lived a life that embodied a “Be Fearless” attitude. He will be missed.