Big Moves

Susie Bowie Tapped to Lead Manatee Community Foundation

New role for longtime exec at Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

By Ilene Denton March 1, 2016

Susie bowie hi8cyk

After a nationwide search, Susie Bowie has been named executive director of the Manatee Community Foundation as of April 4. She succeeds Marilyn Howard, who retired at the end of 2015.

The longtime Community Foundation of Sarasota County vice president of philanthropic education and marketing, Bowie was charged in 2011 with launching the foundation’s highly successful Giving Partner initiative—an online resource through which more than 400 area nonprofits share with potential donors their financial information, leadership and goals. "It's a way for nonprofits to tell their whole story,” she says. Bowie subsequently was responsible for launching the Giving Challenge, a 24-hour day of online giving that last Sept. 1 and 2 raised a remarkable $6.7 million for nonprofits from 36,400 individual donors. Many Manatee County nonprofits’ profiles are included in the Giving Partner.

The Manatee Community Foundation interfaces with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County in other ways, too; as a support organization, it shares back-office support services with the Sarasota foundation, “so we can focus on making Manatee County a better place,” says Bowie.

Through 2015, the foundation had about $36 million total assets. Last year, it distributed about $2.5 million in the form of 438 grants, and an additional $90,000 in scholarships to 40 area students.

Bowie says she is energized by the potential of the Manatee Community Foundation’s brand-new building on Manatee Avenue, which has a community room that seats a hundred people. “We can use it as a place for great conversations on community issues, and to convene nonprofits in that space,” says Bowie, who slips in that fund raising is still ongoing for the building. “That community room is a naming opportunity for the right donor,” she says.

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