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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“Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. certainly made the right decision in selecting NCDS to raise the $7 million needed to fully restore our sadly dilapidated and abandoned former vaudeville theatre in downtown Birmingham.  Your firm provided the wisdom and experience to position the project as worthy of support, then structured a winning campaign that was creative, energizing, and relentless in pursuit of the goal.  We were especially appreciative of your flexibility relative to our early cash flow issues, and even more so in the selection of the assigned NCDS Project Executive.  Because of the success and momentum of your phase of this exceptional campaign, the Lyric staff was able to continue seeking commitments utilizing tax credits, and the total raised now exceeds $11.8 million.  Thanks to NCDS, Birmingham can boast of having one of the most spectacularly restored performing arts theaters in America.”

Brant Beene, Executive Director • Birmingham Landmarks, Inc.

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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