The Hartford Foundation recognizes the power of public policy to increase the impact of our investments.

By engaging in a broad range of public policy activity guided by our mission and values, our grantmaking can be more far-reaching, sustainable and responsive to critical community issues.

The Foundation’s public policy activities include sharing data and research to better inform public policy decisions, convening diverse voices around a particular issue, forming strategic relationships, and lobbying. To this end, the Hartford Foundation has registered as a lobbyist with the State of Connecticut and is subjected to federal and state rules relevant to lobbying.

As the community foundation for the 29-towns in the Greater Hartford region, we are uniquely positioned to provide leadership and serve as a bridge between our many partners and our state agency and legislative policymakers. We stand ready to share insights from our investments, and to offer local and regional perspectives on challenges and solutions to advance opportunity and growth for all residents in our region and statewide.

Examples of Impact

State Support for Returning Citizens 

The Foundation has long supported a broad range of community programs and policies that serve people returning from prison. Its grantmaking, legislative support and expertise helps to ensure that the region’s returning citizens can successfully reintegrate back into their communities. The Foundation collaborated with state and local policymakers and nonprofit organizations to launch a reentry welcome center in the City of Hartford, designed to coordinate reentry services. Foundation staff collaborates with the Connecticut Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission and recently participated in a statewide panel on the Best Chance program.

Creation of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood 

The Hartford Foundation works closely with philanthropy, early childhood advocates and state officials to create and sustain the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC). The Foundation helped to lead the effort to establish the state’s first municipal office for young children in the City of Hartford and is supporting replication of the office in other municipalities in the region. In partnership with the OEC, the Foundation established the Renovate to Educate Pilot Program (insert link) for home-based childcare providers and advances two-generational (2Gen) approaches to family economic security (insert link), recognizing that child well-being is linked to parental stability and success.

Support to Region’s Alliance Districts through Family, School and Community Partnerships 

The Foundation works with six of the region’s seven most challenged school districts to integrate school, family and community partnership strategies linked to student learning. The Foundation partners with state and district education leaders to support school district leadership, nonprofit capacity building and public policy to ensure that our Alliance District investments are impactful and sustainable. Foundation efforts contributed to the development of the State Department of Education Commissioner’s Roundtable on Family, School, and Community Partnerships and include regular convenings for superintendents and district teams of educators, providers and parents to share learning, best practices and solutions for school, family and community partnership. The Foundation also works with its philanthropic peers to inform federal education policy that is responsive and supportive of English Language Learners, Family, School, Community Partnership and educational equity.


The Hartford Foundation networks with national funders who can invest in Connecticut. Examples include a public-private partnership that brought the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's Working Cities Challenge to Connecticut, leveraging $1 million from the State of Connecticut with an additional $2 million from state and national philanthropy to fuel collaborative, transformative projects that promote economic growth in our cities. The Foundation also connects policymakers and other stakeholders with national experts who are knowledgeable about effective policy and practice, and with nonprofits and residents who know first-hand what needs to be done to improve quality of life in their communities. A recent example is the municipal bankruptcy forums that the Foundation hosted with the City of Hartford, convening community leaders, residents and policymakers to learn from panelists with firsthand knowledge of engaging in the process of municipal bankruptcy.


Our staff has deep knowledge and experience and is often invited to inform policymakers and to participate in federal, state and municipal policymaking workgroups that affect our region. The Hartford Foundation offers testimony to the state legislature and Congress based upon our experience in key issue areas and the needs in the Greater Hartford region. 

Hartford Foundation President and CEO Jay Williams serves as a member of Governor Lamont’s Workforce Council where he is working to have Connecticut prioritize the preconditions and solutions for inclusive economic growth. He also serves on the board of AdvanceCT (formerly known as CERC), a nonprofit organization seeking to foster business growth in the state in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development to attract and keep businesses in Connecticut. Jay’s work on the AdvanceCT board will allow him to further the Foundation’s emphasis on prioritizing opportunity for the people who already live and work in Connecticut as drivers of the state's economic growth.