Jay Williams

President and CEO


Since July 2017, Jay Williams has served as President and CEO of the Hartford Foundation. He is currently leading the Foundation’s commitment to dismantle structural racism, achieve equity and improve social and economic mobility in our region, in partnership with nonprofit organizations and community stakeholders. In his role, Jay serves on the boards of the MetroHartford Alliance, AdvanceCT, and is a member of the Governor’s Workforce Council.  At the national level, he is a member of the Community Foundation Opportunity Network, is on the board of the Council on Foundations, and board vice chair of the Center for Community Progress.

Prior to coming to the Foundation, Jay served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development where he led the federal economic development agenda for the United States. He 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. Previously, Jay served as the executive director of the federal Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. He arrived in Washington, DC after serving as Mayor of the City of Youngstown, Ohio where he helped lead regional economic development initiatives to improve the city’s global competitiveness. Prior to being elected Mayor, Williams led a Community Development Agency in Youngstown.

What do you enjoy most about Greater Hartford?
I really enjoy exploring the various “vibes”, hidden treasures, and interesting features, that are scattered across Greater Hartford.  I also enjoy meeting people who love the area and who are eager to share that enthusiasm with others.

What quote best represents your personal philosophy?
Many years ago my long-time pastor shared a quote that stated, “significance is paramount to success.” That’s been a personal philosophy I’ve sought to embrace ever since.

Are you involved in any volunteer activities?

I serve on the Board of Directors for the MetroHartford Alliance and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center/Advance CT. I’m also a member of the Governor’s Workforce Council, CHEFA Community Development Corporation Advisory Board and Community Foundation Opportunity Network Governing Council.