Donald E. Bowen

President and Chief Executive Officer, Urban Empowerment Fund

Don Bowen is a proven and highly sought after executive leader, with targeted expertise in helping not for profit organizations achieve tangible results and financial success. Widely-recognized for his principle-centered, metric driven approach to organizational health, structured problem-solving, and service delivery; his innovative solutions have aided thousands of individuals served by his organizations reach more of their potential. Bowen’s stellar, no nonsense reputation has resulted in him being a sought after advisor to Urban League affiliates and to other not for profit organizations throughout the country. Known for his integrity and passion, Bowen has dedicated his life’s work in service to others. He is regarded as a courageous champion for equal opportunity, equality and the rights and responsibilities of the socially and economically disadvantaged. Bowen’s Urban League tenure spans over twenty-five years. In his role as President and CEO of the Urban League of Broward County (ULBC), Florida , he led the transformation of the affiliate from a marginal operation into one of the strongest, most effective and financially sound affiliates in the country; retaining over eight percent of all revenue during his fifteen tenure for mission reserve purposes. Bowen was also the visionary behind the creation of ULBC’s highly impactful “33311 Community Change Initiative” which gave a common identity to nineteen previously disparate neighborhoods in six cities and unincorporated Broward County, and  aggregated and targeted affiliate and community resources and services around the goal of developing children to World Class Standards in an area previously known for producing some of the worst outcomes for children anywhere in the nation. An innovative social entrepreneur and affordable housing developer, Bowen was instrumental in bringing housing to an area which had not seen new housing starts in over thirty years. In September 2005, Bowen was asked to lead the National Urban League’s Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as an executive on loan. During this time, he was recruited by NUL as Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer and under his leadership was responsible for transforming and strategically aligning into a unified department all programmatic initiatives in the areas of Education and Youth Development, Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Health, Housing and Community Development and Workforce Development. Additionally, Bowen led the migration of an assortment of small and unconnected programs into a unified, coherent, and scalable Signature program strategy for sustainable national impact. A strategic visionary, Bowen’s entrepreneurial spirit drove NUL’s efforts in creating the Urban Empowerment Fund (UEF), a Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) designed to fulfill the League’s mission of economic parity by providing affordable capital and development services to minority-owned businesses. Mr. Bowen has been tapped by UEF’s Board of Directors to fill the role as Founding President. UEF is the first subsidiary organization in NUL’s one hundred and three year history. A New Jersey native, Bowen holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. A lifelong athlete, former basketball point guard, and an avid boxing fan, Bowen served as the Vice Chairman of the Florida Boxing Commission. Bowen sees the sport as a metaphor for life. He says, “I love boxing because it represents the struggle of life. It is the purest form of competition with a near level playing field and where the outcome is largely based on merit. Everything you are as a human being is tested and ultimately revealed or exposed in a boxing ring.  Boxing reveals one’s true character and to me, character is what life is all about.”

New York City
(212) 558-5321

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