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Remembering Joseph (Joe) Bankoff

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June 12, 2024

Remembering Joseph (Joe) Bankoff

We are deeply saddened to share that Joseph R. Bankoff, long-time member, and former Chair of the National CASA/GAL Board of Trustees, passed away on June 10.

Following his graduation from the University of Illinois College of Law, Joe joined the Atlanta firm of King & Spalding in 1972. He served there for 34 years as a senior litigation partner and founded and led the firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology Practice. In 1992, he took a sabbatical from King & Spalding to accept an appointment as a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property & Competition Law, Munich, Germany, where he worked on the development of the Satellite Directive for the European Union.

Following his service at King & Spalding, Joe was named the President & CEO of the Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta and in 2012 he began serving as the Chair of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech until five years ago when he became a part-time Professor of the Practice at the Nunn School.

Joe’s experience and expertise ranged across law and policy, economic development, legislation, fiscal planning, and global issues. Joe was an extraordinary leader in the law and arts circles in Atlanta for over 50 years. His service extended to the national child welfare scene when he joined the National CASA/GAL Board of Trustees in 2016. He served on the Board until his passing.

When Joe decided to join the National CASA/GAL Board of Trustees, he had done his homework. He became a student of child welfare law, joined partner organizations like the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and was consistently discovering and disseminating important information that could positively impact children and youth across the country. He was a strong supporter of good governance at the national, state and local levels of the CASA/GAL network and marveled at the extraordinary work of CASA/GAL volunteers and the strength and resolve of the children and youth served.

In talking about his service to the National CASA/GAL Board, Joe related, “I serve National CASA/GAL because I care about children and the world where my grandchildren will live. The organization helps children in foster care at a time when they need support, stability and a sense of their own worth by providing judges with a perspective of what will shape a better future for them.”

Joe was elected Chair of the National CASA/GAL Board in 2021, succeeding Dr. William Bell, President and CEO of Casey Family Programs. A wise man, quick to listen and thoughtful with his words, Joe was a consummate bridge builder who was always looking for the common ground and greater good.

“Joe’s voice and wisdom will be sorely missed as will his passion for everything he did. I will be forever grateful for his unwavering support and friendship,” reflected Tara Lisa Perry, CEO of National CASA/GAL.

We celebrate the life of Joe Bankoff and are extraordinarily grateful that his path led him to the National CASA/GAL Association. We honor his incredible work and legacy and will miss his wisdom, wit, leadership, vision and respect for all people. Joe was a remarkable man and the world is immeasurably better because he was in it.

Our deepest sympathies go out to Joe’s family, and all who were fortunate to cross paths with him in life.

Joe Bankoff’s obituary can be read on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s website.

Contact: Sally Erny,, 800.628.3233