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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Williams returns to Com. Foundation

(July 9, 2015) Berlin Mayor Gee Williams, and recently retired State Highway Administration community liaison, has taken a new job: marketing director for the nonprofit Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.
Though based in Salisbury, the foundation helps fund other nonprofits in the three lower Eastern Shore counties via lump sum grants, and Williams, who is returning for a second stint as the foundation’s marketing director, sees more coming Worcester’s way.
“When I was here before, we crossed $30 million in assets, and a few months ago we crossed $100 million in assets, which means we’re able to give out more than $1 million per year. Worcester is going to feel a greater presence,” Williams said.
Williams said more than 90 percent of foundation’s gifts are reinvested and granted to local charities.
“It’s a solid, proven method with a great track record. Other than our endowment, we are offering more scholarships, but that is due to need. This is a very giving community — our foundation is the second largest in the state,” Williams said. “Baltimore is the largest, and the third-place foundation is distant in size. The tradition of giving is stronger than ever.”
Williams said he was looking forward to finding new ways to approach potential donors.
“I’ve got to learn how to use shorter sentences. I haven’t gotten used to tweeting yet,” he said. “It’s neat to see what has changed but what has remained the same, and it’s all connected to media.”
Time is energy, he said, and people are devoting a lot of energy to a lot of different projects.
“I’m totally committed to new media and I’m not turning back. Turnaround time now is much faster than it was even 10 years ago — you don’t send people a book when a short statement will do,” he explained.
Williams, as a former newspaperman, has a fondness for the written word, but doesn’t expect his transition into the world of social and new media to be a rocky one.
“We have a new introduction to video in multiple ways in a variety of communications. We’re finding and learning you don’t have to go out and do an interview. You have to think of all the ways to convey your message,” he said.
Though the new position is technically part-time, so is his other job as mayor of Berlin.
“It’s very much like being mayor: mornings, afternoons, evenings and weekends. I’ve lived that way in newspapers since 1971 and I really don’t know any other way to do it. Being semi-retired but still in public service seems like the right fit,” he said.
Compartmentalization, Williams said, is how he survives.
As for his retirement from the SHA, Williams said. “It was a growing position. I was responsible for eight lower shore counties and part of Worcester, and they were great to work for. My replacement, Bob Rager, will do an excellent job and is ready for the increasing responsibility.”
Williams is now ready to focus on a specific area “for as long as I hold out.”
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” Williams said. “I’m back in my new old position.”