Edward Hopkins (1600 – March 1657) was an English colonist and politician and Governor of the Connecticut Colony. Active on both sides of the Atlantic, he was a founder of the New Haven and Connecticut colonies, serving seven one-year terms as governor of Connecticut. He returned to England in the 1650s, where he was politically active in the administration of Oliver Cromwell. He remained in England despite being elected governor of Connecticut in 1655, and died in London in 1657.
Hopkins' will left substantial assets, in trust, for "Encouragement unto those forreign Plantations for the breeding up of Hopefull youth in the way of Learning both at ye Gramar School & Colledge for the publick Service of the Country in future times [and] for the upholding & promoting of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in those parts of the earth." However, the inchoate state of American law on trusts kept The Charity of Edward Hopkins (as this trust is now known) mired in litigation for the next 135 years. The eventual resolution of the case made Harvard College the major beneficiary of the trust, along with the Hopkins School of New Haven, Connecticut, the schools of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and other institutions like Hopkins Academy.
Hopkins Academy was founded in 1664 with an endowment from Edward Hopkins. Hopkins died in 1657 and in his will he set up a trust naming John Davenport, Theophilus Eaton, John Cullick and William Goodwin as trustees. Goodwin, who helped to settle Hadley, used part of Hopkins' trust to set up a fund for the then Hopkins Donation School. 300 Pounds were to be disposed of from Mr. Hopkins Estate and ordered to Hadley for erecting and maintaining a school there. The management thereof for the said schoole was appointed for year end viz; the Rev Jonathan Russell, Mr. Samuel Smith, Mr. Peter Tilton and Capt Aaron Cooke and finding in the records at Springfield, September 24th 1674. The Hadley townspeople donated land to help build up the trust to pay for educational costs.