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James Howell

Executive Director

James Howell joined Bethlehem University Foundation in 2023 and serves as the executive director. James has more than twenty years of nonprofit leadership, fundraising and consulting experience. His experience includes serving as Assistant Vice President for Advancement and Campaign Director for Bethlehem University’s first-ever $25 million campaign from 2009-2012. His campaign leadership grew the university’s endowment, established new scholarships, and supported the construction of new academic facilities.

Most recently, James served as Development Director for Father Flanagan’s Boys Town Louisiana’s operations, where he developed major gifts and long-term partnerships, advancing the lives of nearly 7,000 vulnerable youth and families in the New Orleans area.

Prior to Boys Town, James served as Chief Development Officer for Catholic Charities of Oregon, one of the state’s largest social service agencies. There, James grew charitable giving by more than 150% and developed key innovative partnerships to advance initiatives around homelessness, immigration, refugee resettlement, family counseling, and financial empowerment.

Earlier in his career, James spent more than a decade in Washington, D.C., leading the development efforts for several large national nonprofit organizations, including Catholic Charities USA and the YWCA USA. Earlier in his career at Appleseed Foundation, he managed a $4 million pro-bono national policy response project, “The Continuing Storm,” documenting the status of and making recommendations for evacuees displaced throughout the Gulf Region from Hurricane Katrina. Findings from the report were endorsed by members of the US Congress, NAACP, and other agencies working in the aftermath of the storm.

James is active with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), serving as Education Advisor for AFP’s international ICON and LEAD conferences. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the AFP of Greater New Orleans, Alzheimer’s Foundation, Paper Airplanes and is a member of Rotary Club International.

James holds a degree in History from William Carey College and has completed leadership trainings with the Maastricht School of Management and Morehouse College. He was also an American Express Nonprofit Fellow.

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Kathleen ‘Kathy’ Carver

Director of Development

Kathleen “Kathy” Carver joined Bethlehem University Foundation in 2022 and serves as the director of development. She is highly committed to excellence, integrity, innovation, and Catholic values.

Most recently, she was the Director of Institutional Advancement for the Saint Luke’s Institute where she secured a $500,000 gift from a private family foundation and lead the restructuring of the Advancement department. Dr. Joseph Bock, Executive Director of Bethlehem University Foundation, while reflecting on Kathy’s new appointment, said: “The Foundation is delighted to welcome such a polished and accomplished professional as Kathy to our team. We look forward to the future as I am confident Kathy will lead our development team to successfully secure new gifts and opportunities!”

Kathy’s other experience includes securing a $200,000 grant for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, leading a four-year long strategic planning process, and developing over 75 revenue-producing educational books, adult guides, medals, patches, and awards. She has also participated in various service trips including a trip to World Youth Day in 2016 and to Rwanda for the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.

Kathy has been married to her husband Bruce Baumgarten for over 35 years and they are the proud parents of their adult daughter, Christine. They currently reside in Laurel, Maryland.

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Phil Recchio

Director of Donor Engagement

Phil Recchio joined the Bethlehem University Foundation in June 2024 as our Director of Donor Engagement. Here at Bethlehem University Foundation, Phil will partner with the BUF team, the Board of Directors, and BU leadership to develop and strengthen relationships with committed major donors and partners, inspiring new philanthropic support and increasing resources to benefit Bethlehem University.

Most recently serving as Director of Development at The Stimson Center in Washington, DC, Phil significantly boosted board engagement and secured substantial individual and corporate gifts. Prior to this role, Phil was the Associate Director of Advancement & Partnerships at the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute (STRI), where he managed an internationally dispersed team and played a pivotal role in securing transformative multimillion dollar gifts.

His tenure at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) was marked by the successful closure of significant gifts to close out their $1.8 billion campaign. Phil’s career in development began in academic fundraising at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and includes positions at American University and Harvey Mudd College.

Phil is active as a Board member with Community Conservation, and has served in many volunteer roles over the years. Most recently as a mentor to high school students with the Emerson Collective and YearUp, in addition to leading his undergraduate alma mater’s Reunion Committee and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Maryland Awards Committee.

Phil holds a Master of Science in Organizational Development from American University and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Hobart College.

As Executive Director James Howell noted, “Phil’s depth of fundraising experience and passion for our mission will be a tremendous asset to our team”. Given his Catholic upbringing and longstanding passion for education and social justice, he is enthusiastic about making an impact for Bethlehem University students.

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Ron Hayes


Ronald Hays (Ron) is in his second stint as Controller with Bethlehem University Foundation, having initially started in 2019. He spent most of his career in financial planning and analysis for both for-profit and not-for-profit companies. Ron holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Wyoming and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. Ron volunteers doing income tax for various VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Association) organizations.

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Ruby Freeman

Director of Publishing and Operations

Ruby Freeman joined Bethlehem University Foundation in 2023 and serves as the director of publishing and operations. Ruby is a native of Washington, D.C. and holds an M.A. degree from the University of Baltimore in publications design and a B.S. from the University of the District of Columbia in printing management. In addition to page design, she brings project management and organizational skills to the Foundation and desires to greatly contribute to the work of BUF.

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