Community Foundation’s Williamson to Retire; Led Foundation through Period of Growth, Change
Board Retains The Strategy Group of Darien to Lead Executive Transition Process
New Britain, Conn., April 6, 2017 – Jim Williamson, who as president of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain for the past 12-plus years led the organization through a transformative period of growth, change and influence, has announced his retirement. The Strategy Group, LLC of Darien has been retained to lead the executive transition process.
“On behalf of the board of directors of the Community Foundation, I would like to offer my heartiest thanks to Jim for his years of service to our organization, and to wish him well during his much-deserved retirement,” said Laurence A. Tanner, board chair. “Jim’s vision and steady hand have been critical to the Foundation’s growth and increasing influence as a community leader for more than a decade, and the communities we serve are better today because of his commitment to them and our mission.”
A formal date of retirement will be determined pending results of the search for his successor.
An Executive Transition Committee of board members, led by Vice Chair/Chair Elect Lynn A. Ricci, president and chief executive officer of Hospital for Special Care, is managing the search process. Also serving on the committee are Tanner, former board chair J. Leo Gagne and long-time board members Cori Humes and Attorney Paul Zagorsky.
“Jim’s shoes will be difficult to fill, but we are looking forward to this as an opportunity to assess where we are as an organization, and to match that assessment and our needs with a successor, someone who can successfully lead the Foundation into the future,” said Ricci. “Having adopted a presidential succession plan more than a year ago, we are prepared and well-positioned to take on this process.”
“It has been a distinct honor and privilege to culminate my career in community service by leading the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain for nearly 13 years,” said Williamson, 67, who resides in Southington with his wife, Vickie. “The challenges facing communities today are many, from maintaining funding for vital programs to adopting new strategies to ensure community health and well-being, and organizations such as the Community Foundation are playing an ever-more important role given these realities. I believe we have made, and are continuing to make, a difference.”
Williamson joined the Foundation in September, 2004 as the Foundation’s second full-time chief executive. A native of Rochester, New York and graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland, Williamson brought with him decades of non-profit organizational development and management experience, including positions as president/CEO of three different United Ways in Wooster, Ohio, Pittsfield, Mass. and Poughkeepsie, New York, as well as roles on the national staffs of both the United Way of America and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
During his tenure at the Community Foundation and under the board’s direction, Williamson spearheaded the Foundation’s transition from grantmaker to community leader, building partnerships with other organizations and stakeholders to help identify community challenges and engage in strategies to address them. He successfully managed the Foundation’s choice to adopt early childhood development as a priority cause of the Foundation, managing establishment of the First Years First early childhood development initiative and fund which remains a focus of the Foundation today.
Since its establishment in 2005, First Years First has made nearly $2 million in grants to a wide variety of local early childhood development programs, and has been a major contributor both in funding and leadership to the establishment of local Family Resource Centers, adoption of all-day kindergarten, formalized training and certification of early childhood educators, improved kindergarten readiness, continued reductions in chronic absence and major efforts to reduce the impact of summer learning loss in New Britain schools.
Other Foundation accomplishments during Williamson’s tenure have included:
- Adoption of an “investor focus” for its community grants program, to emphasize the need for measurable outcomes from its funding support;
- A 64 percent increase in the Foundation’s total endowment, from $24.4 million in 2004 to more than $40 million today;
- A 52 percent increase in the number of charitable funds managed by the Foundation, from 124 in 2004 to 188 today;
- The regular annual distribution of upwards of $1.5 million in grants and scholarships;
- Accommodating and managing the transition of the former United Way of New Britain and Berlin, rebranded as the Community Chest of New Britain and Berlin, as a supporting organization of the Community Foundation.
The Strategy Group is a consulting firm specializing in providing non-profit organizations with strategy development, leadership development and philanthropic advising. A formal job description and instructions for interested applicants are available at www.cfgnb.org/president; any and all inquiries should be directed to Debra Hertz, Managing Director, The Strategy Group, at CFGNBSearch@gmail.com.
Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is “Where Good Begins” in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. The Foundation works to inspire philanthropy, manage permanent charitable assets effectively, and partner to address key community issues through strategic leadership. For more information, visit www.cfgnb.org