Howard Benson

Founder and Chief Executive Officer
National Community Development Services, Inc.
Atlanta, GA

As Chief Executive Officer of NCDS, Howard’s corporate role is to assure that “team NCDS” provides excellent service to every client. He leads a 21-person group of highly motivated fundraising and community development professionals working with some of the nation’s most respected nonprofit organizations. The firm has worked in 700 communities and raised in excess of $1.8 billion for community and economic development initiatives.

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, Howard was for four years 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 Northeast Florida in a community of 15,000 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 economic 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 MaxFund© 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 regional programs that engage a wider range of investors, from both the public and private sectors.

Howard is a former board member of the International Economic Development Council and has authored many articles for professional journals dealing with regional development and fundraising. An avid horseman and foxhunter, he and his wife, Sheila, live in Atlanta where they actively enjoy the diverse cultural and community amenities of their region.