Donna Osuch stepping down as President and CPO of United Way

BRISTOL – Donna Osuch has accepted a city position as School Readiness Liaison and will be stepping down from her role as President and CPO of United Way of West Central Connecticut.

Osuch announced her new position in a communication to the Bristol Ending Homelessness Task Group on Wednesday night. She informed them that Christine Thebarge of St. Vincent DePaul Mission would be taking over facilitation of the group and said they were "in fabulous hands."

"United Way has provided me the opportunity to impact the lives of so many individuals and families in the communities we serve, and I feel blessed to know you," said Osuch. "Our Board of Directors is working to find an amazing person to continue United Way’s work, and I hope they are able to share an announcement soon. But, in the meantime I will help bridge the transition. I have appreciated working with all of you over the years, and I recognize how critical your work is. Please know that I will continue to advocate for the issues related to homelessness, and that I will stay connected in my new role. Best wishes while you continue your great work."

Osuch moved to Connecticut from New York when she was 12. She worked as a preschool teacher and advocate of affordable childcare and as a community impact coordinator at the United Way before being appointed president and chief professional officer in 2009.

Osuch will be succeeding Mary-Alice Petrucelli-Timek in the School Readiness Liaison role. Petrucelli-Timek, who will be retiring in a couple weeks after 24 years in the role, said that Early Childhood Education is like a building – without a strong foundation it cannot stand. She said that she feels “very happy” that Osuch will be picking up the torch for her.

“Donna has an excellent understanding about what this job entails,” she said. “I’m excited that she will continue where I left off.”

Osuch said that she has been involved with the Bristol School Readiness Council since her youngest child was an infant, 22 years ago. She has been co-chair of the organization for the past six years.

“Bristol receives $3 million every year in subsidies to help three and four year old children from low to moderate income families attend preschool programs,” said Osuch. “I’m looking forward to working with these programs and meeting with families. Early Childhood Education provides a foundation for a child’s later success. I’m looking forward to going back to my roots.”

Osuch said that United Way of West Central Connecticut is currently searching for the next president to take them through the next 100 years. She will continue to work with them during the transition process.

“It’s a bittersweet moment, stepping away from United Way,” said Osuch. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done with United Way. I worked with so many people on so many issues. I absolutely love United Way, but this is a great opportunity for someone with fresh, new ideas to step up and I’m sure that they can do just as well.”

This year, the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce honored Osuch with the E. Bartlett Barnes Distinguished Service Award, the Chamber's highest honor, for her contributions to the community.

“If you know her, you would agree that she was born to live a life of service, and like Bart, she has also motivated others to get involved and ‘live united,’ whether that action is in your professional or personal life," said Susan Sadecki, president of the Main Street Community Foundation, as Osuch was presented her award. “Donna is that neighbor you want at work and at home. She’s a true friend and dependable and she moves about her world always with a smile. She’s the first person you think to call because she knows how to lead and mobilize people.”

During the pandemic, Osuch led the United Way of West Central Connecticut's "Farmers to Families Produce Distribution Program" for 16 months. The program saw 437 volunteers contribute 1,311 hours to distribute 35,505 boxes of food to area residents.

This month, United Way of West Central Connecticut celebrated 100 years of service with its Community Chest Dinner. Mayor Jeff Caggiano congratulated Osuch and Untied Way at that meeting and later gave them a shout-out on the mayor's office's Facebook page.

"The United Way of West Central Connecticut’s partnerships with individuals, business and organizations working to improve community life since 1922 is to be commended," said Caggiano. "The City of Bristol is proud to be the founding community partner working together to create a brighter future alongside people from all across the community to tackle the issues. Because we all win when a child succeeds in school, when a family becomes financially stable, when people have good health – when we all live united. It was an honor to present Donna Osuch and the United Way team with a 100th Anniversary presentation at the recent 100th Anniversary Dinner."

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com