Henry Fernandez is LEAP’s Executive Director. He co-founded LEAP in 1992 and served as Executive Director from its founding until 1997, returning to the position almost two decades later. Henry came to New Haven in 1990 to go to Yale Law School, following a short stint teaching high school English and math in Zimbabwe. He served for five years as Economic Development Administrator for the City of New Haven (a deputy mayor position in our form of government). He has been a senior fellow at a think tank in DC, testified as an expert before Congress, and served on President Obama’s transition team. Aside from his work at LEAP, he owns a firm that completes quantitative and qualitative research on issues including health policy, civil rights, elections, criminal justice, and civic engagement. He has been interviewed by media including MSNBC, the NY Times, USA Today, NBC News, the BBC, Black Enterprise, and the Washington Post.
Henry grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He scuba dives and spends time with his family for fun. LEAP is important to him because he gets to see new generations of young people take on the fight to make our country and city more just.