Jay Williams



Since July 2017, Jay Williams has served as president of the Hartford Foundation. Since that time, he has been working to build stronger relationships between the Foundation and the local communities it serves. He is currently leading the Foundation’s efforts to address disparities in our community based on race/ethnicity, place and income in order to make opportunities more available to everyone. In his role, Jay serves on the boards of the MetroHartford Alliance, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center/AdvanceCT, and the CHEFA Community Development Corporation. In addition, he is a member of the Governor’s Workforce Council and the Community Foundation Opportunity Network Governing Council.

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 as the head of the U.S. Economic Development Administration. He has also served as Deputy Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at The White House, where he served as the principal liaison between the President of the United States and local elected officials. Prior to this role, he served as the Mayor of the City of Youngstown, Ohio and led a community development agency in Youngstown.

What do you enjoy most about Greater Hartford?
Still being relatively new to the region, 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.