Catalyst Magazine

Getting to Know Chief Philanthropy Officer Greg Bowden

Chief Philanthropy Officer Greg Bowden

Greg Bowden was inspired to join the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) as chief philanthropy officer and vice president because the University’s mission of elevating the human condition resonates deeply with him. 

“I am at a point in my career where it is important to me to have an impact on Baltimore and the region and bring together the ideas I have seen work well over 25-plus years in philanthropy,” Bowden said. 

He pointed to UMB’s “Proud to Work Here, Proud to Give Here” fundraising campaign as a way for University faculty and staff to get involved or contribute to philanthropic efforts. 

“We can be a community that recognizes, supports, and values everyone, which is the heart of philanthropy,” he said. 

Bowden joined UMB in December after serving as associate dean for development and alumni relations at the John Hopkins University (JHU) Carey Business School. At JHU, he led the strategy and vision for all development and alumni relations activities, resulting in more than $60 million over seven years. Before that, he was senior director for development at JHU’s Berman Institute for Bioethics and had previously served as director of development for the Greenwood (S.C.) Genetic Center and executive director of the South Carolina Birth Defects Foundation.  

Bowden graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and has a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from JHU.  

CATALYST magazine sat down with Bowden to learn more about his plans at UMB and to get to know him better. You also can read more about Bowden in our “What’s On Your Desk?” feature. 

What are your goals for UMB’s philanthropic initiatives in the next six months? Five years? 

First, I want to understand how we think about philanthropy and integrate it into our mission. I am focused on a number of strategic questions, such as how we interact best with the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University System of Maryland. We are also looking at some important additions to the philanthropy team. The next several years will likely see our next comprehensive campaign, which will significantly influence how our ability to deliver our mission grows. 

How do you plan to collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to enhance philanthropic efforts?

We have an amazing “Proud to Work Here, Proud to Give Here” campaign that allows our faculty and staff to engage in the philanthropic mission. Faculty, staff, and students will be the sources of many of our best ideas and initiatives because they are closest to the mission. We are a research university, so we rely on new ideas and knowledge that often originate from the grassroots level. 

Are there innovative approaches or solutions you plan to implement? 

We have a great opportunity to develop a narrative of how this collection of schools works together to serve our city, state, and region. We need innovation so that the best ideas for positive change can be tested, proven, and implemented. Philanthropy is the best funding mechanism for that innovation. 

What is your most prized possession?

Tough question! I would say my Penn State diploma. Or maybe my Big Green Egg [cooker]. 

What does an ideal day look like for you?

Work: Meeting with a donor to hear their story and talk about future giving; talking with my team about how we elevate philanthropy; lunch at Lexington Market or Neopol; and maybe an event at Westminster Hall. 

Leisure: Sitting on the back porch of our second home in Pennsylvania drinking my morning coffee, then a day at Hersheypark. 

Do you have a motto or mantra?

Glad to be here. 

What would people be surprised to learn about you?  

I know all 50 state capitals. 

Read more about Greg Bowden in this issue.

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Jen Badie

Jen Badie is the assistant director of editorial services in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

CATALYST magazine

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