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February 21, 2021 / 2021 Power 50

2021 Power 50: 34. Sam Gray Jr. & Jason Jakubowski

HBJ File Photo Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford President and CEO Sam Gray Jr. said his nonprofit will add more job-training programs.

Nonprofits have been hard hit by the pandemic, but they’ve also been first responders in addressing the needs of those who have lost jobs as a result of COVID-19.

Sam Gray

Two of the region’s top nonprofit executives are Foodshare CEO Jason Jakubowski and Sam Gray Jr., CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford.

Jakubowski has responded to a huge increase in food insecurity amid the pandemic. In fact, in the early stages of the pandemic demand for food in Foodshare’s service area increased overnight by 35%, even as donations and volunteers dropped off dramatically and staff members struggled to adapt to new working conditions.

Foodshare’s drive-through food pantry at Rentschler Field in East Hartford proved to be a lifesaver, serving tens of thousands of families and delivering millions of pounds of food.

Now he’s leading a merger between Foodshare and Wallingford-based Connecticut Food Bank. The nonprofits completed their combination earlier this year and will soon unveil a new name for the combined organization, which has an annual budget of about $110 million and 115 employees.

Jason Jakubowski

Gray is a dynamic CEO who has helped Boys & Girls Clubs launch virtual operations amid the pandemic.

Last June, Gray led the groundbreaking on a $21 million new club facility in Hartford’s south end, which is expected to debut later this year.

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