Job title: Associate Director of Development at Heartland Forward
Age: 29 | Higher Education: University of Arkansas
Community service and philanthropy are important to Ross Owyoung. Learning about advancement work through the Clinton School of Public Service and taking a philanthropy class at Arkansas Children’s Hospital made significant impacts on the McGehee native's life. These programs pushed him to become a development officer.
Development officers oversee funding and donor-related activities for their organizations. At Heartland Forward in Bentonville, Ross is responsible for corporate and foundation grants.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is working to secure funding for an important cause in our community,” Ross said. “It brings me great joy to know I get to [make] a small impact.”
An average day for Ross consists of checking emails, looking at donor reports and meeting with a donor for coffee or lunch. He also writes proposals to organizations and foundations to encourage them to donate to a good cause.
“It's surprising to know how philanthropic Arkansans are,” Ross said. “People like to donate not only their time but their money to meaningful causes.”
In his free time, he is a Little Rock Racial & Cultural Diversity Commission member, a Chancellor’s Race & Ethnicity Advisory board member for the University of Arkansas and an Arkansas Alumni Association board member. He’s also on the board of directors for Ballet Arkansas and on the board of directors for the Downtown Little Rock Partnership.
“I hope to continue to be able to help people in the future,” Ross said. “Either through development work or some other nonprofit lens, I hope to continue to make an impact in the community in which I live and work.”