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  • Non-Profit Panel Discussion

Non-Profit Panel Discussion

  • Thursday, September 11, 2014
  • 11:45 AM
  • The Harbert Center

Suzanne Durham, Ellyn Grady,

& Cameron Vowell  


Non-Profit Panel



Suzanne Durham will present from a single agency viewpoint. She spent more than three decades at the helm of Birmingham’s YWCA. Coming from the Red Cross, she joined the YW as its Executive Director in 1979. At the time, she didn’t plan to stay more than five years. In 2014, after thirty-four years as the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of Central Alabama, Durham retired.

During Durham’s tenure, the Birmingham YWCA had two capital campaigns that each raised close to $15 million, and was built into an organization that now owns more than a dozen buildings including 150 rental properties and provides support to women and families in central Alabama who struggle with domestic violence and other issues. Besides her work in Alabama, Durham was the first local YWCA CEO to serve as the chair of the YWCA USA. She also led a delegation of 130 people to Kenya for the YWCA World Council in 2006.

Ellyn Grady will be speaking from the perspective of being a major funder of 80 plus agencies. Grady is Senior Vice President of United Way of Central Alabama’s Resource Development Department. She leads Major Gifts, Legacy Giving, Hands on Birmingham, and the Annual Campaign teams of volunteers and staff. Before assuming her position with United Way, Grady served as Executive Director of Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama, a position she held for six years. For more than nineteen years, Grady has taught a course in nonprofit management for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Master of Public Administration Program. She was named the 2012 William S. Roth Outstanding Fundraising Executive. She is past president of the Council of United Way Executive Directors, a past President of The Women’s Network; a member of Leadership Birmingham class of 2001, The Rotary Club of Birmingham and Cathedral Church of the Advent.

When Cameron Vowell was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2004, it was noted that she has contributed her time, talents, and leadership and management skills to a wide range of effort designed to improve Alabama. She has worked as a board member with a number of nonprofit groups which encourage philanthropy, including the Women’s Fund, an endowment for projects benefiting women and girls, and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. Her interest in issues affecting women and girls led her to help found the Alabama Women’s Initiative, the Women’s Fund, and the Alabama Solution.

Dr. Vowell also is committed to environmental and geriatric issues. She was appointed by three different governors to the Alabama Air Pollution Control Commission and its successor, the Alabama Environmental Management Commission. She also has been a member of the national board of The Nature Conservancy and the Alabama Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and is a founding board member of the Black Warrior, Cahaba River Land Trust, and the Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee of the Jefferson County Commission. In the field of geriatrics, Dr. Vowell serves on the Board of Counselors of the Center for Aging at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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