Fond Farewell, Warm Welcome

(The following story was published in The New Britain Herald on September 26, 2017.)

Community Foundation Bids Fond Farewell to Williamson, Warm Welcome to Obedzinski

By Skyler Frazer
New Britain Herald

NEW BRITAIN, September 26, 2017 – The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain said goodbye and thanks to former President Jim Williamson and welcomed new President David Obedzinski Monday night at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

“I’m so proud of Dave and his selection. I couldn’t have passed the baton to anyone better,” Williamson said.

Community_Foundation_Reception092Williamson retired in August – leaving behind an almost 13-year legacy of moving the organization in a focused, community-oriented direction.

The 67-year-old Rochester, N.Y., native became president of the foundation in 2004 after working with the local and national United Way for about 25 years.

Williamson helped establish the organization’s First Years First initiative in 2005. Among other things, First Years First helps children get ready for school before they hit kindergarten.

“On behalf of this board, but really on behalf of this community, we thank you for your years of service, your wonderful leadership and how well you’ve left this organization for the future,” Larry Tanner, the CFGNB’ chairman of the board, told Williamson.

Community_Foundation_Reception054The outgoing president spoke about his time at the CFGNB and what he’ll miss the most.

“As I think about and look back on the 13 years I spent here – within the context of 45 years in nonprofit management in different communities and different states across the country – these 13 years have been without a doubt the most personally fulfilling and professionally fulfilling that I could possibly think of,” Williamson told the crowd.

Williamson thanked all the donors, supporters and board members with whom he worked.

Community_Foundation_Reception031“None of this I did on my own,” Williamson said of the CFGNB’s accomplishments under his leadership.

Obedzinski took over for Williamson in August, bringing more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, development and donor relations to the position. He began working in New Britain in 2002, when he became the chief development officer and executive director of institutional development at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.

Obedzinski has served on the New Britain Public Library’s board of directors and with the Polish American Foundation of Connecticut, the New Britain-Berlin Rotary Club, the Southington Rotary Community_Foundation_Reception046Club and the Southington Chamber of Commerce.

“We had more than 60 very qualified applicants for his position,” said CFGNB board Chairwoman-elect Lynn Ricci, who led the search for Williamson’s replacement. “With feedback from our donors and our staff, we could not be more fortunate to have Dave Obedzinski join the foundation as our new president.”

Obedzinski thanked Williamson for his mentoring and leadership.

“He opened mCommunity_Foundation_Reception088y eyes wider to the possibilities within a community organization. During this current transition that we’re experiencing now, his assistance has been very much appreciated.” Obedzinski said. “I look forward to applying everything that I’ve learned at every other organization that I’ve had the privilege to be associated with and I’m thrilled to return to this community to work with each of you.”