Linda J. Kelly Announces Retirement as President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Linda J. Kelly has announced her retirement as president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, effective March 2017. Ms. Kelly has served as president since 2005.

“The Hartford Foundation has been an integral part of this community for more than 90 years, and I am privileged and proud to have worked with a talented, passionate and dedicated staff and board, our generous donors and the region’s nonprofit and community leaders to advance substantial and sustainable benefit in the Greater Hartford community,” said Ms. Kelly. “With the adoption of our new, three-year strategic plan, the Foundation is well-positioned to build on its achievements, and to lead, inspire and engage others in creating opportunities for all residents in our region to thrive.”

Since 2005, Ms. Kelly has led the Foundation’s growth, with assets reaching an all-time high of $934 million, despite several years of severe, external economic turmoil. The Foundation has continued to set annual grantmaking records, awarding $33 million to area nonprofits in 2015, supporting their efforts to have lasting impact in the region. The Hartford Foundation has also broadened its outreach to diverse communities, including the South Asian, African-American and Latino communities, as evidenced by new and growing individual funds, giving circles and scholarship funds.

During her tenure, the Foundation solidified its community leadership role, in the region and statewide, particularly in the areas of education, workforce development and nonprofit capacity building, including:

  • Leading philanthropic support for the development of the first municipal blueprint for young children and a statewide Office of Early Childhood;
  • Launching a regional, high-quality K-12 education network among the lowest performing districts in our region that links family, school and community partnership to student learning;
  • Developing the Career Pathways Initiative, a collaborative, cross-cutting approach for residents facing the most formidable barriers to success, providing education and workforce training;
  • Strengthening the capacity of nonprofits in our region to continue their impact in a changing and challenging fiscal climate;
  • Creating a Community Indicators Project that focuses on the importance of data and regional collaboration as exemplified by Metro Hartford Progress Points; and
  • Promoting sustainable change through advocacy and lobbying, building relationships with state and municipal leaders to support collaborative solutions.

Ms. Kelly also provided philanthropic leadership at the state and national levels. She serves on the board of directors of Connecticut Council for Philanthropy and MetroHartford Alliance, is a steering committee member of the national Community Foundation Opportunity Network, and an active participant on the planning committee of the Larger Community Foundations (U.S.). Previously, Ms. Kelly chaired the Connecticut Community Foundation CEO Network and served on various committees of the national Council on Foundations.

“Linda leaves a powerful legacy,” said Yvette Meléndez, chair of the Foundation’s board of directors. “She has been a strong champion for the Greater Hartford region, insisting on building long-term solutions through collaboration with various sectors and diverse communities. Linda’s leadership truly reflects the promise and power of philanthropy.”

“Serving as this Foundation’s president is an honor and great privilege. I look forward to continuing our work until next March, and ensuring a smooth transition to a new leader,” said Kelly. “I will then plan to carry on my active engagement in the Greater Hartford region.”

A board search committee has been formed and will begin a nationwide search for Ms. Kelly’s replacement.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrated 90 years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $650 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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