Willmar resident J. Pablo Obregón to manage community research and engagement in newly created post
HUTCHINSON, Minn. — Willmar resident J. Pablo Obregón will serve as the new Community Engagement Officer at Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF).
The newly created position manages research and community engagement for SWIF’s intergenerational, leadership and Grow Our Own initiatives across its 18-county region. Obregón is responsible for nurturing community opportunities that impact critical needs in southwest Minnesota and will serve as a liaison between the Foundation and community leaders, as well as the nonprofit community.
“I was drawn to SWIF’s mission of connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities, as well as the organization’s vision of a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive,” said Obregón, who started with SWIF in February. “I’m excited to be part of this work.”
Born and raised in Lima Peru, Obregón attended Lutheran Bible Institute in California and received his Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He served ELCA churches in Willmar and other communities in southwest Minnesota and was chaplain at Bethesda Health and Housing in Willmar.
Starting in 2012, Obregón worked at Pact for Families as the Reentry Ready Navigator in Willmar assisting youth offenders from 16 to 23 in transitioning back into the community. He was also the Guia coach at Pact for Families, providing early intervention and recovery to Hispanic Latino Youth by helping them achieve or sustain abstinence, improve health and move toward positive independence.
“Pablo’s deep knowledge of working in cross-cultural settings and his years of experience in community engagement and youth development make him the ideal fit for this new position,” said SWIF President and CEO Diana Anderson. “We’re delighted to welcome him to our staff.”
Outside work, Pablo enjoys time with his family, hitting the pickleball courts, cooking Peruvian food and having a strong cup of coffee. He is a volunteer coach with the Willmar Soccer Association, volunteers with Willmar’s Cinco de Mayo celebration and is a member of the Willmar Lakes Area Vision 2040 Steering Committee.
Southwest Initiative Foundation is an independent community foundation supported by individuals, families, businesses, and organizations. Its mission is connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has contributed more than $75 million through its grant and loan programs. Its business finance programs have helped start or expand more than 700 businesses, which have created or retained more than 8,600 jobs. SWIF has also established 26 community affiliates and more than 100 school, donor-advised and other funds, as well as 16 Early Childhood Initiative coalitions to support young children. SWIF has received 1,730 acres of farmland through our Keep It Growing℠ farmland giving program. In 2016, SWIF launched the Grow Our Own Initiative to align its work and ensure all southwest Minnesota kids have the best start to life. Southwest Initiative Foundation is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To learn more, visit www.swifoundation.org.
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