“…Of Living To Achieve And To Give — The Joe Issa Narrative!”

The story of Joe Issa is often referred to as one of the most voguish rises to popularity in the history of Jamaica by a young man, who wowed everybody with his business innovations, philanthropy and socialization, for which he was famously named one the country’s most recognizable faces.

Joseph Issa and his team

And today, even at 50, Joe Issa still retains that youthful candour, reflective of a life of contentment in what he has been able to achieve and share with the less fortunate, as well as the good people he has hosted including world luminaries. There are no scars of struggles and enmity in his boyish grin; just an expression of the joy of living, achieving and giving.

Yet, throughout this seemingly seamless transition from boyhood to adulthood and from business to philanthropy, Issa, like everybody on the face of this earth has had moments of sadness, frustration and stress, perhaps even headaches. But not being one to complain, he manages himself to take the least possible stress — a well-known killer that is eagerly avoided. His MO: just deal with whatever it is and move on; no hang fire.

And so he moves on, learning from early in life that what he didn’t own was not his to give; so he gave out of his pocket change but knew he would have to work for his own, consistent with his desire to give, which was influenced by the relative poverty around him especially at school.

Issa started in earnest as, no sooner had he entered university he was finding ways to make money to buy books for underprivileged Jamaican and Caribbean children.

Some 3,000 pounds were raised from a raffle under the auspices of ‘Educate the Children Fund’, a charity Issa founded for that purpose. After successfully completing the year at the London School of Economics (LSE) in the UK and left, the LSE took over the charity and gave it a life of its own.

Characteristic of a student with a purpose, Issa distinguished himself with several firsts upon graduating, which would later pave the way for a successful career in life. And, as history has a way of repeating itself, Issa, once again, no sooner had he started working, established a scholarship fund to enable bright, underprivileged Jamaican children to attend his alma mater university. One newspaper said he was giving away half a million dollars every month to Education.

When he transitioned further to entrepreneurship, Issa ensured that Cool Charities is among the over-50 successful companies which he founded. Cool Charities, a subsidiary of Cool Corporation has its own programme of assistance to communities and schools, including supplies to classrooms such as cupboards, books, stationary, computers and air condition units.