Joseph H. Holland is a writer, attorney, entrepreneur, and ordained minister with several decades of experience serving the community.
Holland has either lived and/or worked in Harlem for almost forty years. He has operated a Harlem-based real estate law practice and used his management skills to build commercial enterprises and expand employment opportunities in Harlem. He was instrumental in establishing an American Express Travel Office, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor, a Body Shop retail store, and Harkhomes, a homeless shelter whose residents found work in these businesses. He was Vice-President of the Harlem Business Alliance (hbany.org) for many years, co-founded the Beth Hark Christian Counseling Center, which recently celebrated thirty years of community outreach (bethharkccc.org), and presently serves as an elder of Harlem’s Bethel Gospel Assembly.
Holland has been active as a writer throughout his career. He has written five books, most recently the devotional “The Vigorous Virtues: Daily Success Principles from Diverse American Founders” (vigorousvirtues.com), from which he developed the supplemental educational curriculum “Virtues Academy: Diverse Voices from the Past/Success Principles for the Present” (virtuesacademy.com).
Holland has served in government in several capacities, starting with Director and General Counsel to the New York State Senate Committee on Housing and Community Development. He subsequently held the gubernatorial appointment of New York State Housing Commissioner where he managed over 1,500 employees and orchestrated the planning and funding of thousands of units of affordable housing in various locations across New York State. He also served on the boards of the following New York State-sponsored entities: the Harlem Community Development Corporation, the Municipal Assistance Corporation, and the Empire State Development Corporation.
A graduate of Cornell University, where he earned a B.A. and M.A. and was an All-American and Academic All-American football player, Holland has served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 1988. He holds his J.D. Degree from Harvard Law School.
Holland has received awards and honors for both his business and social service accomplishments. In 1993, President Bill Clinton recognized Mr. Holland in a White House ceremony for his community-building initiatives. He received an honorary degree from the City University of New York Law School, was recognized for his career accomplishments by the Ivy Football Association in January 2017 and by the City of Yonkers, New York, which proclaimed “Joseph Holland Day” on June 7, 2017.