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DuPage Foundation President & CEO David M. McGowan, CFRE, Announces Retirement

DuPage Foundation President & CEO David M. McGowan, CFRE, recently announced his plan to retire at the end of the year after what will be 25 years of service as the Foundation’s chief staff officer.

“It’s time,” said McGowan. “It’s time for me to find other ways to have impact in our community. It’s time for a new leader who can bring new ideas to the table. I couldn’t be more proud of what our team of staff and volunteer leaders has accomplished, but I also couldn’t be more excited to see what the next leader brings to the table.”

“We are incredibly grateful for Dave’s leadership and unwavering devotion to the Foundation which has led to several significant milestones,” said Nate Wasson, a Hinsdale resident, and chair of DuPage Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “A search for our new staff leader will kick off soon with the hope that we can have her or him in place to allow for sufficient overlap with Dave. The Board is committed to finding someone who can assume leadership of the Foundation’s strategic plan to continue to grow our brand, our endowment, our impact, and the infrastructure to support our aggressive goals.

“In the meantime,” continued Wasson, “the Foundation’s three vice presidents have more than 35 years of combined experience at the Foundation and comprise a solid administrative team. The Foundation will remain in good hands.”

When Dave started as executive director in 1998, DuPage Foundation’s assets totaled nearly $4 million and its cumulative grantmaking totaled nearly $1 million. Today, the Foundation’s assets exceed more than $130 million, and its cumulative grantmaking totals $65 million—a combined $200 million in total charitable capital.

Dave was named president in 2003 and CEO in 2015. During his tenure, DuPage Foundation experienced immense growth, established new initiatives, received countless accolades, and made a significant community impact.

Highlights include:

  • Incorporating the $17 million Gustafson Family Foundation into a donor-advised fund
  • Securing $10.6 million from DuPage County in a grantmaking partnership
  • Leading through a pandemic and raising/granting $1.8 million in COVID-19 relief
  • Growing the Legacy Society (people who have made a commitment in their estate plans) from nine members to 178
  • Creating the Bright & Early DuPage kindergarten readiness program
  • Establishing Arts DuPage, DuPage County’s arts council
  • Building a diverse Board of Trustees
  • Orchestrating and implementing three significant strategic plans
  • Moving the office three times including the selection of, fundraising for, and build-out of two office condos
  • Receiving two Community Foundation National Standards certifications
  • Attaining Candid’s Platinum Seal of Transparency and Charity Navigator’s Four Star Charity status
  • Being recognized with 22 awards including Foundation of the Year from the West Suburban Philanthropic Network

Dave became a certified fundraising executive in 1987 and has more than 40 years of fundraising, grantmaking, and not-for-profit management experience in the Chicago metropolitan area. In 2009, he received the West Suburban Philanthropic Network Distinguished Service Award. Dave graduated cum laude in marketing and journalism from Northern Illinois University and has a Master of Science in Management and Development of Human Resources from National-Louis University.

Dave grew up in Downers Grove and now lives in Lisle with his wife, Mary. They have three adult children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons who are the fifth generation of his family to live in DuPage County. 

Dave and Mary have named DuPage Foundation as a beneficiary of their estate to create the Dave and Mary McGowan Fund for their children and their families to recommend grants benefitting DuPage organizations. Anyone wishing to contribute to the Fund in honor of Dave’s service to the community can do so at

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