The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced today that Economy and Society Initiative Director Jennifer Harris will depart to join the Biden administration, and Brian Kettenring, who has served as Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy for the past seven years, will join the foundation for a two-year appointment as Initiative Director.
As part of the transition, Jennifer, Brian, and Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer co-authored a memo to Economy and Society Initiative grantees and partners about what has been accomplished to date and priorities for the future.
Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer shared the following about the staffing transitions and memo:
After three years of developing and then leading the Hewlett Foundation Economy and Society Initiative, Jennifer Harris has accepted a position with the Biden administration. She will be serving on the National Security and National Economic Councils, with a significant focus on developing a post-neoliberal international economic agenda. While we’re sad to lose her leadership and will miss the brilliant thinking she continues to do about the future of our economy, we’re comforted to know that she’ll be bringing her perspective to the White House—a clear affirmation of the growing reach and importance of our grantees’ efforts to develop a new “common sense” about how the economy works, what its purpose is, and how it should be structured to meet the biggest challenges our society faces.
We are enormously proud of Jennifer for everything she’s accomplished in establishing this body of work at the Hewlett Foundation over the past few years. From spearheading the initial $10 million exploratory effort that showed philanthropy has an important role to play in replacing neoliberalism, to finding our wonderful and diverse set of grantees, to overseeing the Initiative’s launch, Jennifer has been the driving force behind the Economy and Society Initiative.
Jennifer will be transitioning from the foundation to her new role in government soon. Fortunately, she was able to give us some advance notice of this change, and we were able to move quickly to find her successor. I’m delighted to announce that Brian Kettenring will be joining the Hewlett Foundation for a two-year appointment as Economy and Society Initiative Director. For the past seven years, Brian has served as Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)—an Economy and Society Initiative grantee—where he has helped lead CPD’s work building grassroots support for a resilient and just economy. His work at CPD was but the latest step in a long career as an organizer working on issues of economic justice, education, civic engagement, and democracy. While he and Jennifer come at this work from different starting places, they share a strong belief in the urgent need for deep, structural changes in how the economy works and the aims it should serve. Brian will take up his new role full-time in early April.
As Jennifer departs and Brian joins us, we thought it was an opportune time to take stock of what we have achieved together over the last three years and point to a few priorities for 2021. Brian will, of course, have more to say about the initiative and where it’s headed when he joins us full-time. But the long and the short of is that the Hewlett Foundation is as dedicated as ever to supporting the debates and ideas that can make up a new intellectual paradigm.