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Celebrating the life of GFE partner and veteran entrepreneur Hank Williams

1871 expresses its deepest condolences for the loss of Hank Williams, who passed away in mid-November. Hank was a long-time partner of Google For Entrepreneurs, whose network of tech hubs and organizations benefited tremendously from his passion for promoting diversity in the innovation economy. 1871 is honored to be a part of the GFE family and is saddened by Hank’s loss.

A serial entrepreneur, Hank founded internet music company Clickradio in 1998 and the cloud storage and data management platform Kloudco in 2008. In 2012, he founded the nonprofit Platform to increase the representation of blacks, Latinos, and women in the technology industry. Earlier this month, Hank successfully organized the third annual Platform Summit, an event focused on the future of technology and its effect on education, society, health, and inequality. Throughout all of his professional endeavors, Hank was a tireless leader whose passion for innovation and change was infectious.

Our sympathies are with Hank’s family and friends, and with the countless individuals in the tech and entrepreneurial industries whose lives were changed by his commitment to fostering inclusion and acceptance in technology. Contributions may be addressed to the newly established Hank Williams Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 43385 Montclair, NJ 07043. Contributions for the education of his daughter Imani Williams may be addressed to: Imani Williams, ℅ Garden State Community Bank, 597 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ 07043.

“Hank was an incredibly passionate and warm individual,” said Riana Lynn, the Google/Code2040 Entrepreneur in Residence at 1871. “A few years ago he founded the Platform summit in order to inspire and build a vehicle to drive a vision for a more inclusive and strengthened tech industry. The October 2015 Platform Summit was, without a doubt, one of my favorite tech events in recent memory. Hank worked hard to make not only an engaging event with some of the most meaningful networking for minorities in tech, but also a space where everyone felt incredibly inspired by the journey and more invigorated to take on the challenges ahead. I am happy I was able to recently share my thoughts directly with Hank just a few weeks before his passing. He was humbly appreciative of my experience and feedback. It is unfortunate we lost a true leader in tech at this time in the movement.”

At 1871, we remain deeply committed to furthering Hank’s vision of a more inclusive technology industry. Through our initiatives to support women, veterans and minorities, we continue to strive to create a meaningful impact on the people who make up Chicago’s tech and entrepreneurial communities. We are honored to work with GFE as a partner in these efforts.

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