The Westminster Economic Development Initiative announced the appointment of Carolynn Welch as executive director. Welch takes over leadership of a nonprofit organization that has three segments serving economically disadvantaged people in Buffalo.
Welch was education director at WEDI for more than a year and has been serving as interim executive director for five months. Her appointment comes after a months-long search by the board of directors.
Prior to joining WEDI, Welch worked at Computers for Children for seven years as nonprofit coordinator and grant writer. That followed eight years at Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, where she held several positions including compliance coordinator and program development director.
Welch is a graduate of D’Youville College and served on the board of directors of the Erie County Youth Board for 10 years.
WEDI’s primary mission is granting microloans and financial mentoring to low-income entrepreneurs, including many refugees and immigrants. WEDI is a Community Development Financial Institution. It also operates the West Side Bazaar on Grant Street in Buffalo, a restaurant/business incubator. The bazaar currently hosts nine restaurateurs and six small business owners. Finally, WEDI operates four after-school programs for English language learners in grades 1-12.
“From young children to high schoolers in our after-school programs, to vendors at the West Side Bazaar, to the hundreds of people receiving financial coaching and loans, WEDI continues to make a significant difference in the community,” Welch said.