Today, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced that Jennifer Harris will rejoin the foundation next month as director of its Economy and Society Initiative, overseeing an expanded annual grantmaking budget of $20 million that seeks to foster a “new common sense” about how the economy works and the aims it should serve. Harris helped launch the initiative before departing to join the Biden administration in 2021.
“Jennifer is a brilliant and incisive thinker, willing to challenge entrenched orthodoxies in service of finding solutions to our society’s most pressing challenges — from the climate crisis to skyrocketing wealth inequality to systemic racism,” said Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer. “With my own impending departure from the foundation, I am glad to say that our Economy and Society Initiative will remain in good hands.”
In her role as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, International Economics on the National Security Council and National Economic Council, Harris worked on a host of initiatives and policies, and was a key contributor to the new approach to political economy announced in National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s speech on Renewing American Economic Leadership.
Since leaving the administration earlier this year, Harris has been focused on standing up BuildUS, a collaborative philanthropic effort to help workers and communities take full advantage of the opportunities made available in new federal legislation, ensuring that the clean energy transition is made real and benefits everyone. With her return to the Hewlett Foundation, she will join the BuildUS board and remain a key advisor to the fund.
Previously, Harris served as a member of the secretary’s policy planning staff at the U.S. Department of State and held senior fellowships with the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution, and the Roosevelt Institute. She began her career serving on the U.S. National Intelligence Council staff, covering a range of economic and financial issues. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Politico, Bloomberg, and CNN, among other outlets. A Truman and Rhodes scholar, she holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from Wake Forest University, a master’s degree in international economics from the University of Oxford, and a law degree from Yale Law School.
Brian Kettenring, who succeeded Harris as Economy and Society Initiative director on a special two-year appointment, will transition to a senior fellow role at the foundation through the first half of 2024. In an email to the foundation’s staff, Kramer thanked him for “having done a really remarkable job shaping, growing, and implementing ESI, and for having been a truly wonderful colleague, Senior Staff member, and friend.”