Our Team

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Howard C. Benson

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Executive Managers

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.


"One of my most enjoyable roles is finding and growing the best talent available and then making certain they are equipped to implement NCDS’ proven processes."

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“As the smaller chamber operating in the shadow of a larger, very aggressive one nearby, the North Myrtle Beach Chamber committed to take its game to the next level.  You and the NCDS team not only drove the creation of a bold new multi-year strategy, you generated buy in and a huge boost in revenue.  A great side benefit of launching and funding a new initiative was NCDS’ identification and engagement of a cadre of new leaders who had never really participated, much less invested at significant levels.  Your methodology works, and your experience in hundreds of other communities paid off for us in a major way.  So much so, we plan to kick off the next multi-year campaign this year.   In my book, NCDS remains the ‘gold standard’ for community development fundraising.”

Marc Jordan, CCE, President & CEO • North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau

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National Community Development Services, Inc.
6300 Powers Ferry Road, Suite 600-165
Atlanta, GA  30339
Phone: (404) 231-0730
tdifiore@ncdsinc.net