Donor Spotlight: John Boynton

Within the American Promise community, we find a diversity of perspectives that parallels our nation’s many differing viewpoints. Here we have taken a few minutes to speak with some of the investors, leaders, and partners in this movement to discuss interests, learn about occupations and preoccupations, uncover current and historical heroes, and find common ground around a shared commitment to the American Promise mission.

John Boynton is a technology entrepreneur and investor who lives in the Boston area. He is the president of Firehouse Capital. Boynton was drawn to American Promise because of the connection between big money political spending and many pressing issues.

Unlimited political spending underpins much of the dysfunction and division that permeates Washington D.C. Politicians seek out wealthy donors to fund their re-election campaigns, and special interests compete for influence when it comes time to write legislation.

When John learned about American Promise, he decided to invest in the mission of saving our democracy by ending pay-to-play politics. We spoke with him recently to learn more.

What is your occupation?

I am a technology entrepreneur who has the good fortune to invest in businesses and projects that I find important and promising. 

Your preoccupation? 

I have many, and it is a struggle to manage all the projects I sign up for. If only there were 10 more hours in a day…

What is your current state of mind? 

I’m an inveterate optimist, but that optimism is challenged by the times in which we’re living. Our country faces so many epic problems—healthcare, the environment, education, and politics to name but a few—but I remain confident that, one way or another, we’ll find a way to come out stronger.   

What are you reading/watching now?

I’m reading Values: Life and Work by Ray Dalio, and watching The Outsider on HBO.

Which living person do you most admire? 

That’s a hard one. Sadly, there are no politicians on my list. After watching the recent documentary, I’ll say Bill Gates. He is a brilliant person who is deploying his time and treasure to make the world a better place.

Which historical figure(s) do you most identify with? 

Alexander Hamilton. He was dedicated to making his country the best it could be, and he didn’t mind ruffling a few feathers in the process.  

What drew you to American Promise? 

I’ve never been one to say “money is the root of all evil,” but I do believe it is the root of much of what is evil in politics. Getting big money out of politics opens the doors for essential reforms that are the first steps in solving the problems I mentioned earlier.

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