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Our History

 

Since the company's founding in 1984, CapDev has been about working with people to make nonprofit organizations better, so that they can fulfill their missions to make our world better. Through the decades, we have all found great joy in our work.

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1980s

John Bennett, Founder and Chair of Capital Development Services, was the national Finance Director for the Jim Hunt for U.S. Senate campaign when then Governor Hunt ran against Jesse Helms in the 1980s. Having led fundraising for previous Hunt gubernatorial campaigns, Bennett had a natural interest in the fundraising field, and launched Bennett & Associates in December, 1984. Chartered by Phil Carlton, Supreme Court Chief Justice, the company briefly focused on political fundraising in North Carolina. Bennett & Associates was retained by the National Democratic Campaign Committee to develop fundraising plans for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional candidates across the country. The company began a rapid growth in national clients, building strong and lasting relationships along the way.

In 1986 the company shifted its scope beyond the political fundraising realm and changed its name to Capital Consortium. Beth Briggs was hired as the Director of Fundraising and the focus of the company has been on nonprofit organizations ever since, with the N.C. Olympic Festival of 1986 as the company's first nonprofit client.

Seeing a lack of statewide information on charitable giving, in 1988 the company initiated its research and publications division and recruited Anita Gunn Shirley, previously the editor of N.C. Giving, The States Directory of Private Foundation, to run the newly created Publications Division. The company began publishing directories on philanthropic giving that quickly became known as the most definitive and comprehensive source for foundation giving in the country. The first directory was North Carolina Giving, which led to a directory on N.C. Corporate Giving. Building on that success and the demand for philanthropic giving information, the company publications division expanded to include directories for Virginia Giving, then Georgia Giving.

After years of printing multiple foundation and corporate directories, the company began offering its publications to its many subscribers online, hosted on the company's website for many years. In the late '90s, management decided to discontinue its publications division in order to focus on its core business of providing experienced fundraising counsel to the nonprofit community. Interestingly, CapDev still gets inquiries from development professionals who want a giving directory.

1990s

In 1996, Capital Consortium became Capital Development Services, and expanded its geographic service area to provide campaign counsel to nonprofits throughout the Southern United States. In order to manage this expansion and growth, Allan Burrows was recruited in 1994 and soon thereafter was promoted to Vice President of Capital Development Service. In 2006, after 12 years of exemplary client services and company management, Burrows became President of Capital Development Services when Bennett transitioned out of day-to-day management and into the Chairman's role.

2000s

With Allan Burrows becoming the President of Capital Development Services, and consequently taking on more of the company's marketing and management responsibilities Burrows and Bennett recognized the need to add a professional business manager to assume responsibility for client services. Ann Bennett-Phillips, John Bennett's sister, was hired as the Vice President of Capital Development Services in 2006, and now joins Allan and John to comprise the three partners of the firm's management team.

From its first office of two people established in 1984 in Raleigh to its current headquarters located in downtown Winston-Salem, housing a full array of professional staff, Capital Development Services continues to build on its decades of knowledge and experience by serving the nonprofit community with comprehensive fundraising counsel and executive search services. "We are proud of 30-year history and the many hundreds of nonprofit clients we have successfully served," said John Bennett.

"Since Capital Development Services was established 30 years ago, we have dedicated ourselves to strengthening nonprofits throughout the Southern United States. We are invested in the mission of each of our clients, becoming an integral member of their organization and sharing in the passion for their cause. It is this close relationship which Capital Development Services has with our clients that is the foundation for our success of providing management services to the nonprofit community."

John Bennett, Founder, Capital Development Services