Woods Bowman Killed in Car Crash

July 14, 2015       Mark Hrywna      

Henry Woods “Woody” Bowman, a prolific nonprofit researcher and author, died as a result of injuries sustained during a crash involving four vehicles outside Kalamazoo, Mich., on Friday.

Bowman, 73, was pronounced dead at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo after the crash, which occurred at about 1:30 p.m. His wife, Michele Thompson, was injured and taken to Bronson Hospital where she was in critical condition. They were en route to Detroit.

Bowman was driving a Cadillac that was rear-ended by a semi-truck traveling on Interstate 94 in Mattawn, Mich., about 15 miles west of Kalamazoo.

It’s the second time in recent months that a nonprofit academic has been killed in a car crash. Nonprofit author and expert Peter Dobkin Hall died in May in a car crash in Branford, Conn.

Fire Chief Terron McLean of the Mattawan Fire Department said Bowman’s Cadillac was rear-ended by a semi-truck before both hit other vehicles. The driver of the semi-truck apparently might have been distracted by a nearby brush fire being extinguished by firefighters, he said.

Sgt. Matt Waters of the Michigan State Police said an investigation into the accident probably will be completed later this week and the driver of the semi that struck Bowman’s car could be charged.

Bowman was professor emeritus in the DePaul University School of Public Service (SPS) in Chicago.

Bob Stokes, Ph.D., director of the SPS, called Woods a great guy. “Smart, hardworking and a giving mentor to everyone at SPS, even in retirement. I will really miss him,” he said via email.

Stokes said he spoke with Bowman on Thursday about his planned trip to Detroit. “He was driving to Detroit to visit the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) with his wife for a weekend getaway. He had been there a few years back when there was a threat to auction off the collection due to Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings. He was also interested in seeing the current state of downtown Detroit,” Stokes said.

In 2013, Bowman received the Hodgkinson Research Prize from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) for his book, “Finance Fundamentals for Nonprofits: Building Capacity and Sustainability.” The prize is given to the best book on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector that informs policy and practice. At last year’s ARNOVA conference in Denver, Bowman was given the Best Reviewer Award. He received DePaul University’s Excellence in Public Service Award in 1999.

Among his other articles were “Issues in Nonprofit Finance Research: Surplus, Endowment, and Endowment Portfolios,” with H.P. Tuckman and D.R. Young, “The Contribution of Corporation Law to Civil Society,” and “The Economic Value of Volunteers to Organizations.”

Forthcoming articles by Bowman in anthologies include “Ethics and Nonprofits” in “Practicing Professional Ethics in Economics and Public Policy” and several articles on nonprofits in the “Taylor and Francis Encyclopedia of Public Administration.” He also wrote a column on ethics for Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ).

Bowman served on the board of ARNOVA since 2008, chairing the planning committee for the 2010 annual conference. He also was a member of the Governor’s Taxpayer Action Board in 2009 and the Civic Federation’s Cook County Modernization Committee in 2010.

Bowman served as chief financial officer of Cook County from 1990 to 1994 and prior to that in the Illinois General Assembly from 1977 to 1990, where he chaired the Appropriations Committee for seven years. In 1995, he briefly served as interim president and CEO on a pro bono basis for Goodwill Industries of Metropolitan Chicago.

Prior to holding elected office, Bowman was a research economist for the Federal Reserve Bank before teaching economics at the University of Illinois-Chicago from 1971 to 1977.

Bowman received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963 and a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1964. He later received a master’s of public administration with highest distinction in 1965 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1969 from Maxwell School of Syracuse University.