Hartford Foundation Names Elysa Gordon Vice President and Senior Advisor to the President

Gordon to lead Foundation's new evaluation and research unit


Elysa Gordon has been appointed to serve as vice president and senior advisor to the President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Gordon previously served as the Foundation's senior advisor to the president but she now has expanded responsibilities overseeing the Foundation's new evaluation and research unit and will continue to direct the organization's public policy activities.

"During my first six months as the president of the Hartford Foundation, I have come to rely on Elysa as a trusted advisor whose extensive knowledge of our organization and the community has been invaluable to my efforts to move the Foundation forward," said Hartford Foundation president Jay Williams. "As vice president, Elysa will broaden her contributions to our organization and the Greater Hartford Community by leading efforts to use research and evaluation to provide information about critical issues and using it to make better informed decisions."

Under Gordon's leadership, the new evaluation and research unit will build on the Foundation's ongoing efforts to collect and share more data about Foundation investments as well as its community indicators project, including the creation of the Metro Hartford Progress Points partnership. The unit will support the Foundation and the communities it serves by providing research to inform action on issues critical to our region and promoting high-quality evaluation practices to:

  • Gauge progress and assess outcomes of programs and initiatives;
  • Inform the Foundation's priorities, strategies and operations; and
  • Cultivate learning with and among Foundation staff, donors, grantees and community partners.

As senior advisor to the president, Gordon has been working to advance the Foundation's mission and strategic objectives and leads Foundation-wide collaboration and coordination in order maximize the impact of Foundation investments and drive institutional learning. Since 2014, Gordon and the Foundation's public policy team have worked to share lessons learned from its investments and collaborations, and bring the local and regional perspective on early childhood, K-12 education and family economic security issues to our state government.

"For the past six years I have been privileged to work for an organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people in Greater Hartford," said Gordon. "I am grateful for this opportunity to provide more support for the Foundation and the communities we serve."

In addition to her position as senior advisor to the president, Gordon previously served as the assistant director of the Foundation's early childhood investments. Prior to joining the Hartford Foundation, Gordon was Assistant Child Advocate for the State of Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate, where she led successful policy and reform efforts on behalf of the children and youth involved in Connecticut's child welfare and criminal justice systems. She also served as senior policy analyst for the New York State Permanent Commission on Justice for Children, chaired by New York State Chief Justice Judith Kaye, where she developed the Babies Can't Wait Initiative, a court-based innovation to maximize the well-being and permanency of infants in foster care.

A resident of West Hartford, Gordon earned her juris doctorate from Fordham University School of Law, a Master's in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University.


The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $680 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888. 



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