Joe Waters

Co-Founder and CEO, Capita
Greenville, South Carolina

Joe Waters is the co-founder and CEO of Capita. Capita is a think tank dedicated to exploring how the cultural and social transformations of our day affect young children and their families, and fostering new ideas and policies to ensure a future in which all people flourish. Under Joe’s leadership, Capita has launched initiatives focused on supporting the development of more worker-owned child care businesses, helping policymakers and systems leaders better meet the needs of Gen Z parents and their families, and bringing strategic foresight tools to policy and program planning for child-serving systems. His commentary on issues facing families has been published by Investor’s Business Daily, The Hill, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Nonprofit Quarterly and other outlets. He has served as a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Felician Center, which helps those who struggle to meet their basic needs in South Carolina’s rural Pee Dee region and of the Greenville Chorale. He graduated from Furman University (BA, history) and earned a master’s degree in divinity from Duke University. He and his wife Molly Benedum, a family physician, live with their family in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

My Truth

A brave and startling truth that guides my work is that social justice can only be achieved through an appreciation and affirmation of the inherent, equal, and sublime dignity of the human person. Guarantee every child, as much as humanly possible, the security, stability, and development that their dignity requires, and support the family as the first guarantor of that security, stability, and development, and you can transform the world.

Stories featuring Joe Waters

We’ve selected four projects from the 2021 Class of Fellows that show impressive potential in both their scope and capacity to address timely issues...
Ascend FellowshipMay 25, 2023
Text over a landscape of South Africa
Tiana C. McCoy – Senior Associate, Operations and Convenings at Ascend – provides an inside look at the experience of a Fellows Forum.
BlogMay 2, 2023
In an article in Early Learning Nation, the Ascend Fellowship and two Ascend Fellows - Joe Waters and Atiya Weiss - are highlighted for their leadersh...
Media MentionsJuly 26, 2022
In an op-ed for Chronicle of Philanthropy, Joe Waters highlights the Ascend Fellowship as an “example of an effective approach” to developing a ne...
Media MentionsJuly 19, 2022
This year, the Aspen Idea Festival returns to in-person programming at our campus in the Rocky Mountains June 25 - July 1, 2022.
Ascend FellowshipJune 15, 2022
Joe Waters is the co-founder and CEO of Capita and a 2021 Ascend Fellow. In this Q&A, he answers questions from the Ascend team about why climate c...
Ascend FellowshipApril 19, 2022
Poverty is the result of poor policy choices. These choices reflect our national values and decide who deserves access to opportunity to achieve their...
Ascend FellowshipJanuary 21, 2022