Currently serving as President of 5th Element Group PBC, Jim Van Eerden has helped lead the firm’s strategy and operations as it emerged as a global flagship brand for investors, donors, brand executives and NGO solution-makers who are working to align KPI-driven performance with SDG-aligned impact.
Forbes recently called 5th Element “an outstanding global braintrust” and Real Leaders magazine referred to the company as “a Maestro of the Omniwin.”
Jim began his career as a corporate brand strategist, as a principal consultant for Coca-Cola, M&M Mars and American Airlines as well as for the 1994 World Cup Organizing Committee and the 1996 Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
In 1996 Jim founded a national consulting firm that specialized in the launch of internet business units inside Global 2000 and fast-growth companies – including Southwest Airlines, GM, USA Today and Pearson Education. Following an exit in 2001, he became Managing Director for Helixx, where he has focused on investments in social good companies in the CPG, media and tech markets.
In that role, Jim has directed a portfolio of social impact companies including MISSION Athletecare (with Drew Brees, Mia Hamm, Dwyane Wade, Serena Williams and others); the international fashion brand Sevenly; and global non-profits like H2O Africa (now water.org, co-founded with Matt Damon). He has also served as senior counsel for corporate philanthropic projects like Refresh Everything for PepsiCo, and has helped start cause-based educational movements like Thinker Education.
Jim was the executive in charge of media investments for Helixx as well. Credited as one of the pioneers in what is now known as “filmanthropy,” he served as Executive Producer for several award-winning feature films including the Academy Award nominated short film MOST, Bobby Jones (Stroke of Genius), The Ultimate Gift, and The Perfect Game – and educational documentaries such as the critically acclaimed films Running the Sahara (which he produced with Damon) and WarChild (with Emmanuel Jal) – all of which carried a philanthropic mission and raised millions of dollars for charity. Jim was also executive consultant for Stephen McEveety (Braveheart, Passion of the Christ) on Bella, the #1-rated film on Fandango and Yahoo Movies.
Jim has been a speaker on business and social entrepreneurship at forums including The National Press Club, Nobel Peace Prize Forum, The United Nations, FinTech Week in London, and at Harvard University (where he spoke on “Philanthropy 2.0”). He writes about the intersection of purpose and business, with essays published by World Economic Forum, USA Today, Real Leaders magazine and other publications, and is currently co-authoring the book, GREAT TO GOOD: How For-Profit Business are Re-Making the Future of Philanthropy.
In addition to his undergraduate degree from Grove City College, Jim has completed graduate school programs at Wake Forest University, Trinity, Oxford, and is a candidate for a doctoral degree in global education. He and his wife Rachel have 11 children and live on a family homestead near Greensboro, North Carolina.