Howard C. Benson
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
As chief executive officer of NCDS, Howard’s role is to assure that "team NCDS" provides excellent service to every client. He leads a 50-person group of highly motivated fundraising and community development professionals working with some of the nation’s most respected non-profit organizations.
Before founding NCDS in 1977, Howard served for five years as a senior executive of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce where he directed the funding of the groundbreaking Forward Atlanta economic development program. Prior to that he was a staff executive of the Jacksonville, Florida Chamber in a similar capacity. He began his community development career in 1967 as executive director of a chamber of commerce in a northeast Florida community of 18,000 population. He is a graduate of Brevard College and the University of Georgia Institute for Organization Management and the Academy of Organization Management at Notre Dame.
Always an innovator in the field of community development fundraising, Howard established the Economic Strategy Center as an affiliate of NCDS in 1993 to provide certifiable return on investment data to donor/investors in NCDS clients’ campaigns. He raised the bar in solicitation strategy by making ProCall® the firm’s standard campaign strategy, wherein NCDS professionals take the lead in prospect solicitations. Another of the firm’s pioneering hallmarks is leading clients to adopt the “strategic initiative” methodology as a platform for successful funding campaigns.
When he is not traveling 30,000 feet above ground, Howard enjoys traveling at breakneck speed through the woods on horseback. A longtime avid horseman and foxhunter, he and his wife Sheila live in Atlanta.