About CDS

We view community development as a profession that integrates knowledge from many disciplines with theory, research, teaching, and practice as important and interdependent functions that are vital in the public and private sectors. We believe the Society must be proactive by providing leadership to professionals and citizens across the spectrum of community development. In so doing, we believe the Society must be open and responsive to the needs of its members through provisions and services which enhance professional development.

Principles of Good Practice

As a part of the CDS beliefs, the organization follows the core Principles of Good Practice.

  • Promote active and representative participation toward enabling all community members to meaningfully influence the decisions that affect their lives.
  • Engage community members in learning about and understanding community issues, and the economic, social, environmental, political, psychological, and other impacts associated with alternative courses of action.
  • Incorporate the diverse interests and cultures of the community in the community development process; and disengage from support of any effort that is likely to adversely affect the disadvantaged members of a community.
  • Work actively to enhance the leadership capacity of community members, leaders, and groups within the community.
  • Be open to using the full range of action strategies to work toward the long-term sustainability and well being of the community.

History of CDS

The Community Development Society was founded in 1969 to create a national and international network of community development researchers, practitioners, and policy makers with an interest in community development.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is an elected body composed of five officers (Executive Committee) and nine Directors. The Board meets three times a year: at the beginning and end of each Annual Conference and once in the fall. Additional meeting are held by conference call. The Directors serve as chairs of the CDS standing committees. This arrangement creates a direct line of communication and accountability for the committee responsibilities.

Membership Demographics

CDS members represent a variety of fields: education, health care, social services, government, utilities, economic development practitioners, citizen groups, and more.

What We Do

The Community Development Society provides leadership to professionals and citizens across the spectrum of community development. Members have multiple opportunities to learn what's new in the profession, to exchange ideas, to obtain the most current research and reference information available, and to share professional expertise.

CDS Chapters

Local networking opportunities result from involvement with Community Development Society Chapters that keep members informed of current development trends and concepts. Specific community needs and issues are addressed through chapter activities. Chapters may be formed for any appropriate geographic area-local, state, province, or region.

CDS Interest Groups

To support Community Development practitioners, researchers, and policy makers, CDS wants to provide more immediate ways to help communities take charge of changing context, challenges, and opportunities. To this end, the CDS Board has created CDS Connect, a social network for CDS for members to facilate topical and interest groups and build networks as needed to advance the field of community development.