Kathy Johnson Bowles is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Gordian Knot Consulting. Established in 2019, Gordian Knot Consulting PC works with educational, not-for-profit institutions to create philanthropic and revenue generating solutions. The firm's mission is to unlock under-utilized resources, untangle inefficient policies and procedures, and unravel data and compliance issues, thus empowering organizations and their partners to realize a shared vision for success.
Bowles 30 years experience in fundraising includes:
Vice President for Advancement
and Executive Director of the Geneseo Foundation, SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo, NY (2016-2019)
Vice President for Advancement,
Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC (2014-2016)
Assistant Vice President, Museum Director, and Assistant Professor, Longwood University, VA (2000-2014)
Director, Saint Mary's College, Indiana (1994-2000)
Volunteer (Communications, Annual Giving, and Major Gifts) Fernwood Botanical Garden, Armand Bayou Nature Center, Dawes Arboretum (1989-2000)
Kathy Johnson Bowles has led the creation and successfully execution numerous strategic plans over the last 20 years at Longwood University, Warren Wilson College and SUNY Geneseo. The results of Bowles' study of trends in higher education strategic planning were featured in the National Association of College and University Business Officer's magazine. It was the feature and cover article, "Curating the Campus."*
In 2017-18, Bowles was the architect of SUNY Geneseo's largest comprehensive campaign plan, including organizational structure, volunteer recruitment, policies, case statements, communication plan, feasibility study, and timelines. The $55 million campaign includes 28 campus-wide objectives focused on public access to higher education, global awareness, and intercultural understanding, 21st-century problem solving, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, community commitment, athletics, and the power of place.
*This article summarizes Bowles year of study during a American Council on Education fellowship.
Owl and Spade, alumni and friends magazine at Warren Wilson College, was resigned in 2015. Bowles led the redesign, art direction, and editing with a small team of designers, illustrators, photographers, and writers. Warren Wilson is one of those truly incredible work colleges where students help to run the college from constructing buildings to operating a working farm that provides some of the campus' food among many other things. The redesigned magazine won three international awards for writing (platinum), design (gold), and overall (gold) by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.
At Warren Wilson College, Bowles led a team that Improved processes, strategic approach, analytics to realize significant gains in media attention and constituent engagement: increased news items published by 284 percent, effected 360 percent surge in news story mentions through Google News, increased social media reach by 275 percent, increased web traffic including Facebook referrals 172 percent, news 217 percent, Giving 85 percent, Admission Application 21 percent, Admission Visits 76 percent.
This endowment at Longwood University was the result of a shared vision of success. Bowles brought together the community as well as high profile donors including the foundation started by the Grammy winning Dave Matthews Band, Academy Award Winning film editor Angus Wall, and Emmy Award winning creator of Breaking Bad Vince Gilligan. All believe in the importance of art and opportunity in underserved communities. It was a pleasure to fulfill the dream of honoring Jackie Wall and making sure schools had the support they need.
Working with donors like Greg O'Connell was a personal highlight for Bowles during her time at SUNY Geneseo. O'Connell is an amazing person -- for his passion for building communities and supporting educational attainment for all. The work toward realizing this gift was a team effort of terrific cultivation and stewardship.
At SUNY Geneseo, Bowles led a team that secured highest giving in the history of the College (net bequests) and second-highest, including bequests. From FY17 to FY18, increased total giving 77 percent, number of donors by 15 percent, and increased alumni participation (8 percent to 10 percent). Secured more than $2 million for scholarships and student success in FY18. Bowles personally secured numerous seven- and six-figure gifts in support of underrepresented and underserved students, faculty excellence and innovation, global awareness, career development, business school, athletics, and literacy initiatives.
There is no more powerful inspiration for giving than the life's work of a faculty member and its impact on generations of students. SUNY Geneseo Professor Ronald Herzman spent 49 years teaching English and encouraging study abroad. Bowles and her team along with partners in the English Department celebrated his achievements with a final lecture, party, and a scholarship endowment to enable student study abroad experience.
At the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (Longwood University), Bowles led a talented team of volunteers and professionals to create a tradition in excellence for event fundraising. The biennial auction and gala began in 2005 has raised more than a million for educational programs and collections management. Pictured here are a student actor portraying an art work by Toulouse-Lautrec and event sponsors Candy and Chuck Dowdy. The 2011 event, Party of the Centuries, featured live portrayals of more than a dozen works from the history of art.
Every donor wants to be sure their gift is fully utilized. At Longwood University, Bowles partnered with departments across campus to create the Cormier Art on Campus Program. The program featured collections of art given to the university over a hundred-year period. More than 1100 works have been displayed in nearly every academic building, the student center, and on the campus commons. Longwood University's alumni and friends magazine featured the dedication of The Jack Blanton Collection at Longwood University and the Cormier Art on Campus Program.. By working collaboratively with donors, faculty, staff, students, and facilities management, the campus was transformed into a beautiful, inspirational learning laboratory
American Alliance of Museums (formerly American Association of Museums): First Place, Newsletters (2009-10); First Place, Special Event Invitation (2008-09); First Place, Excellence in Exhibition Label-Writing Competition (2008-09); Honorable Mention, Annual Report (2006-07); Honorable Mention, Special Event (2006-07); First Place, Exhibition Catalogue (2006-07); First Prize, Promotional Materials (2006-07);
Honorable Mention, Exhibition Catalogue (2002-03).
Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals: Magazine (2016)—Platinum Award (writing),
Award (design), Gold Award (overall).
CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education), International: Gold Award, Books (2011-12)
CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education), Division III: Special Merit Award, Catalog (2006-07); Award of Merit, Newsletter (2006-07); and Award Best in Show, Newsletter (2001-02).
Longwood University: Resolution of Honor, Longwood University Foundation, Inc. (2011); Chi Commendation, Honorary Society (2011).
The Southeastern Museums Conference: Award of Excellence, Exhibitions (2006-07); Honorable Mention, (2006-07); and Honorable Mention, Newsletter (2002-03).
The Public Relations Society of America (Mid-Atlantic District): Bronze Medallion, Newsletters (2008-09); Bronze Certificate of Merit, Publications (2008-09).