Craig Howard

Principal, First Creek Partners

Craig has worked in and around nonprofit organizations since 1998, when he co-founded the Northwest Parkinson's Foundation. He followed Governor Booth Gardner as the board chairman, serving that role from 2007 to 2011. He was also on the founding board of the OceanGate Foundation.


Since 2005 Craig has been an active Trustee on the board of The Museum of Flight in Seattle, the largest private air and space museum in the world with an annual budget of $25 million. He currently serves as chair of the Nominating and Governance committee.

Before nonprofit Craig worked in startup companies and in new business development worldwide. His relationship building and mediation skills have guided much of his career work. He believes that communication strategies and skills are key to moving organizations to the next level, and that our differences are what makes our teams strong.

Pulling in other expertise on an as-needed basis, Craig has a cadre of specialists whether it's for survey design, public meetings, focus groups, or campaign logistics.

Craig has attended numerous workshops, the most recent of which was with Teams and Leaders on Emotional Intelligence in the Organization. He attended Chapman University, and has a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Colorado. He's an active private pilot, writer, and artist working in metal.

O U R  A P P R O A C H

Painting a Picture of the Future Together

First Creek Partners collaborates with your whole team. Whether conducting a one-day strategy session or a weeks- or months-long paradigm shift for your organization, we learn your unique culture. It is only by understanding how you got to where you are that we can work together to get you to where you want to go.

Teams of people have great individual strengths, yet may lack synergy. Often this comes down to individual and team communication habits. We have developed a model unique in the nonprofit realm for making communications work, nipping potential problems in the bud.

Finally, it's important to realize that staff, board, funders, and other stakeholders all see the same objects and objectives from different perspectives. At First Creek we have been staff, board, funders, and other stakeholders. This understanding really helps us to cut to the chase.


There is a great deal to starting and growing a healthy organization and maintaining vitality to keep it moving forward. Along with vision and goals, you need to preserve and amplify your passion. Here are a few things we've learned to be true:

  • Mission is everything

  • The vision is only relevant and effective if communicated well

  • Board governs, staff manages, yet sometimes there's overlap

  • Every single person in your organization is involved in development

  • The importance of a broad base of funding sources cannot be overstated

  • While passion is the foundation of great nonprofits, effective ones plan — then execute

  • Donors give gladly when their vision for the community is matched to your niche for impact

  • A culture of open, non-critical communication is fundamental to a healthy organization