Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Announces New President

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announced today the appointment of Jay Williams of Washington, D.C. as President of the Hartford Foundation.  He will assume responsibilities on July 17, 2017 and succeeds former Board Chair Yvette Melendez, now acting as Interim President, following the planned retirement of Linda J. Kelly who served the Foundation as its President for over 11 years.

Mr. Williams recently served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development where he led the federal economic development agenda for the United States as head of the U.S. Economic Development Administration. He brings experience and knowledge in capacity building, workforce readiness, economic security and urban revitalization.

Mr. Williams has also served as Deputy Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at The White House where he was the principal liaison between the President of the United States and local elected officials. He came to the White House after serving as Mayor of the City of Youngstown, Ohio for over 5 years. Prior to that appointment Mr. Williams led a Community Development Agency in Youngstown and also has functioned as an executive in community banking in Ohio.

“After a thorough and deliberate selection process, the Board of Directors is delighted to have Jay join us at the Foundation. He is the right person, at the right time and the right place.  Jay has a track record of strong leadership, innovation, community and economic development and public/private partnerships. He brings a long list of accomplishments and sound skills that will help move the Foundation’s new vision and strategic focus forward. The Board of Directors and I are extremely excited that Jay will work with us, our staff, donors, and grantees, to address the needs of the communities we serve,” said JoAnn H. Price, Board Chair of the Hartford Foundation.

“For over 15 years, my passion and my work have intersected seamlessly throughout my career in helping to leverage the enormous power of philanthropic public/private partnerships, particularly as it relates to helping develop vibrant communities. Over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to work with Hartford and surrounding towns on community and economic initiatives. I am excited to be able to continue working with local communities through the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The Foundation’s ability to serve as a catalyst, a thought leader, and a convener will provide opportunities to address critical needs during these most challenging times. I am honored that I will be able to lead an institution that works toward the improvement of the overall quality of life in the region through informed philanthropy,” said Jay Williams. 


The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, established in 1925, is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. It is dedicated to putting philanthropy into action to create lasting solutions that result in vibrant communities within the Greater Hartford region. The Foundation’s grantmaking is made possible through generous gifts from individuals, families, and organizations. It has awarded grants of $687 million since its founding. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888. 


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