Christen Cowan

Director of Development

After 10 years in government accounting, I found my way to the nonprofit industry through trial and error. I spent four years in direct client services, focusing on families experiencing housing insecurity. Though I loved the one-on-one connection with those families, I often wondered what else I could do to help them thrive instead of just surviving.

While completing my master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration, I realized I could keep trying to inspire change one family at a time, or I could lend my education and experience to push systematic change for greater social impact. I believe nonprofits with adequate organizational infrastructure can create scalable operations for meaningful outcomes. I’m encouraged by paradigmatic shifts in charitable giving due to increased interest in venture philanthropy. Working with Convergent gives me the opportunity to combine my love of economics, heart for civic citizenship, and passion for connecting with others.

Full Bio

Christen has an extensive nonprofit background including experience in finance and accounting, strategic planning, marketing, and fund development. She has often served as a liaison between program staff, organization leadership, and board members, building critical program and financial support to move the organization further toward sustainability.

Christen has worked in business development and case management for agencies serving homeless families and veterans. She developed a housing stabilization program with the goal of increasing financial literacy and employability. Her auditing background is a natural fit with Convergent’s investment-driven modelTM of fundraising, and she is very familiar with utilizing return on investment and outcome measurements to build credibility, increase funding, and drive an organization’s mission forward.

In Christen’s experience, theories of change can achieve tangible social impact when properly applied. Nonprofit organizations are an ideal vehicle to implement theories of change, but many nonprofits lack the resources necessary to maximize the outcomes of important programs and services. It’s her goal to help provide the right support and long-term funding to help nonprofits focus on the work that will serve the greatest good in their communities.

Summary of Experience

  • Business Development Manager for a Texas-based veteran’s shelter.
  • Created a comprehensive case management program as Program Coordinator for Family Promise of South Sarasota County that garnered $80,000 in funding within five months of implementation.
  • Led a department-wide system mapping project to streamline auditing processes to ensure federal reimbursement of $786 million for hurricane-related transportation construction.
  • Bachelor of Science in Economics from Florida State University.
  • Executive Masters of Nonprofit Administration from University of Notre Dame.