Special to the Ledger
HARTFORD — Michael Johnston, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, is the recipient of the Jewish Heritage Vision Award, presented by the Charter Oak Cultural Center.
Cited for his “passion for community, innovative thinking, strategic vision and business-minded savvy to improve the world and connect with others,” Johnston received his award at the Center’s 13th Annual Vision Awards Gala, held on May 12 at the Hartford Marriott.
In 2008, after 22 years working in the financial services industry, Johnston left Wall Street for the non-profit world, serving as CEO of the United Way of Western Connecticut. He explained his reasons for switching career paths from the business world to the philanthropic world in an interview with the Ledger in 2012, when he joined the Jewish Community Foundation.
“There was a decade where a lot of very significant things happened in my life and I reached the conclusion that I needed to be doing something more significant with my life, something more meaningful and satisfying, with an emphasis on giving back to the community,” he told the Ledger. “From 2000 to 2007, my mother-in-law passed away, I lost both parents, my wife lost her stepmother, and I had friends in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Things like that have a way of making you look at your life and evaluate if what you’re doing is what you want to be doing, and if it’s important to you. One of the things we think about is whether we want to carry on the legacy of our parents. My parents spent their lives giving of their time and effort and money and I figured out that that was the legacy I wanted to carry on and leave.”
Johnston holds an MBA and a Master’s of Urban Planning from New York University, and a BA in political science from Drew University.
He lives in Bloomfield with his wife Corinne and their daughter.