Community Development Society

News and Information

Executive Leadership Fellow Update - March 2021

Submitted by Eric S. Trevan, Ph.D.
Executive Leadership Fellow

Happy Spring! 

The changing of the seasons represents our progress as the Community Development Society! We are moving forward through the pandemic, investing in new programs, services, research and outreach. This is hard work! Evolving into CDS 2.0, we are building capacity, embracing diversity and equity, providing outreach and supporting our members. Despite challenges, our members have worked incredibly hard and building our foundation and preparing for our conference July 12-15, 2021! Register today!

Membership-Thank you for renewing your membership! We have placed a call to action for all previous CDS members to renew their membership and support the mission of the society. I have provided a Membership Development Strategy to the Board of Directors and our Membership Committee will reach out to tell our story and how you can be involved. If you know anyone who is a past member or would like to join, please ask them to sign up or contact me directly! 

Community Outreach- I am proud that during the pandemic we have had opportunities to provide ongoing engagement with CDS and our community! The webinars to date have been a success. Our next webinars will focus on the editorial team for Local Development and Society as well as a group of researchers and practitioners who published Beyond the Façade: layering downtown spillover investment in CD Practice! The webinars will take place in the next couple months with more information on its way! Stay tuned! 

Support CDS-Many members and other foundations have asked how can they support the mission of the society. We have had discussions around individual contributions, matching gifts, grants and partnerships. This is exciting! If you have an idea of how to provide financial assistance, contribution, possible donors or relationships with granting organizations, please contact me and we can work together to align their interests with our strategic priorities.  

As always, please contact me (email/call/text) at your convenience. 


Eric S. Trevan, Ph.D. 

Executive Leadership Fellow 

Community Development Society 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


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Stewardship Committee Update - March 2021

The Stewardship Committee, chaired by the CDS Treasurer, is charged with conducting donor outreach, managing donor relationships, and overseeing endowments and dispersal of donor-directed funds.

The Stewardship Committee met on March 1, 2021 to discuss two proposals to the CDS Board of Directors, a proposal for the 2021 CDS Budget and a proposal to conduct an independent audit of CDS finacial practices. Both proposals were approved by the Stewardship Committee and are awaiting Board action.

We have scheduled all of our meetings for the remainder of 2021, and we would love to have members join us to share their ideas and learn more about the work we are doing.

Next Stewardship Commitee Meeting
Monday, April 12, 2021 at 17:00 (5 p.m.) EDT U.S./22:00 (10 p.m.) BST
Join the Meeting

We’d love to have more members helping us with this work. Stewardship Committee members spend 2-3 hours each month on committee business, including our monthly meeting. If you are interested in joining, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bob Bertsch, CDS Treasurer

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Announcing the 2021 CDS Virtual Conference “Mobile Learning Workshops”

In addition to the fantastic sessions we are planning for this year’s virtual conference July 12-15, we are happy to announce plans for this year’s mobile learning workshops. At past CDS conferences, attendees have looked forward to stepping out of the typical conference setting to learn about and interact with the local host community through our mobile learning workshops. 

Of course, this year’s conference will be held entirely online instead of “north of normal” in lovely Fargo, North Dakota. So, we have adapted our mobile learning workshops to be engaging, video-based experiences where attendees will have the opportunity to see and learn about how real-life community development efforts in the greater Fargo area are contributing to community resilience. 

New this year, attendees will be able to participate in all of the mobile learning workshops via the conference platform at any time during the conference. All workshop videos will incorporate three components - immersive experience/real-life tours, interviews with key spokespersons, and Q&A panel conversations with local practitioners and academics - and workshop topics will draw directly upon the Community Capitals Framework. Attendees should look forward to learning about the following areas of community development and community resilience in the greater Fargo area:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Natural environment
  • Energy development
  • Arts and development
  • Local food systems
  • Downtown revitalization

You don’t want to miss them! Click here to register for the 2021 CDS Virtual Conference!

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CDS Membership Webinar

Celebrate Community 
Community Development Society Membership Webinar Series 
Spiraling Up: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow! 
Submitted by Eric Trevan, Executive Leadership Fellow

Community Development Society Executive Leadership Fellow Eric S. Trevan, Ph.D. and Community Development Editor-in-Chief Craig Talmage, Ph.D. facilitate an inspiring conversation with Cornelia Flora, Ph.D. and Mary Emery, Ph.D. about their seminal research. The discussion focused on the high impact of Emery and Flora's article of "Spiraling-up: Mapping community transformation with community capitals framework" published in Community Development. We discuss the impacts on research and practice as well as the future of the community capitals framework for communities in the face of local and global challenges. Please watch a great dialogue focusing on the inception of the research, impacts on the field and future opportunities and influence on the field of community development.

Visit Zoom link


Emery, M., & Flora, C. (2006). Spiraling-up: Mapping community transformation with community capitals framework. Community development37(1), 19-35.  

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Chair's Update - February 2021

Greetings from a very frigid Ames, Iowa! While we would likely be experiencing the cold temperatures of deep winter here anyway, we understand many of our friends throughout the United States are experiencing frigid temperatures and, in some cases, dangerous situations without consistent power. We do hope everyone is staying warm and well. This month, I am excited to share some additional updates about the board and CDS members' work, including updating the Principles of Good Practice, the inauguration of the India Chapter of CDS, and request for working group members to review and amend the CDS Principles of Good Practice.

February is Black History Month, though we strive to acknowledge and honor the historical and current contributions of African Americans to their communities, not just this month but all year long. In that spirit, a working group chaired by CDS Secretary Anthony Cook has been hard at work over the past several months to revisit the CDS Principles of Good Practice. This working group is developing recommendations for consideration by the full board, including (1) revisions reflecting actual or anticipated changes in membership, orientation, and evolution of practice areas and issues engaged by members and (2) strategies to operationalize the revised principles to assure organizational observance and continued commitment to the values those principles embody. As we recently celebrated 50 years of CDS work and achievement, we recognize we must be forward-facing and responsive to ongoing social changes and community needs as we endeavor into the next 50 years. Our Principles of Good Practice should both reflect and guide that work. We will look forward to receiving recommendations from the working group in the coming months.

I am also pleased to recognize CDS Board Member Dr. Dilip Patil for his commendable work to convene students, scholars, and practitioners from many corners of India to begin inaugurating the India Chapter of the Community Development Society on February 12, 2021. Nearly 120 participants convened via Zoom, and many, many more watched via a live stream of the meeting via YouTube. A hat tip as well to Ron Hustedde for speaking about the history of CDS and benefits of CDS membership, to Vice Chair of Operations Cornel Hart for emphasizing the importance of CDS and the work our members complete, and to Mary Leuci for sharing promising practices for inaugurating and operationalizing a new CDS chapter. I was pleased to share my perspectives on the importance of CDS membership for students and practitioners. The Board will review the Petition for Recognition of the India Chapter during its next quarterly meeting.

Finally, I would like to invite members to join a working group to review and amend the CDS Policies and Operational Guidelines. This living document is an extension of the Bylaws, reflecting processes established and changed over the organization's lifespan. While technically ongoing, this work has received less attention in the last few years and has yet to be updated to fully integrate and reflect the CDS bylaws as amended July 2019. I welcome long-time CDS members with institutional knowledge and our newer members who bring insights from other professional associations that might be an excellent fit to consider for CDS. Please send me an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. expressing interest in joining this working group by Friday, March 12, and I will send a Doodle Poll to capture the availability for an initial group meeting.

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Stewardship Committee Update - February 2021

The Stewardship Committee, chaired by the CDS Treasurer, is charged with conducting donor outreach, managing donor relationships, and overseeing endowments and dispersal of donor-directed funds.

Stewardship Committee members Jessica Beckendorf, Mary Emery, Ron Hustedde, Paul Lachapelle, Neil Linscheid, and I have decided to focus on the following areas in 2021:

  • Building relationships and practices that promote growth and sustainability of the committee
  • Taking a collaborative and strategic approach, engaging and coordinating with other committees, in our donor relations efforts
  • Reviewing our fund management arrangement, including consideration of socially-responsible investing

In December 2020, the committee reached out to past donors to share some exciting CDS activities, including the new Local Development & Society journal and the 2021 CDS Virtual Conference. This was our new committee’s first message to CDS donors. We look forward to staying in touch with them regularly in the future.

Our committee is investigating options for a socially-responsible investment strategy for the CDS Endowment. We will be meeting with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, which currently manages our funds, and learning more about socially-responsible and impact investing as we work on a plan to align our investments more closely with the Principles of Good Practice.

We are also working on plans for scholarships and the auction fundraiser. With this year’s conference taking place virtually, both scholarships and the auction will look different than they have in the past.

We’d love to have more members helping us with this work. Stewardship Committee members spend 2-3 hours each month on committee business, including our monthly meeting. If you are interested in joining, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bob Bertsch, CDS Treasurer

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2021 CDS Virtual Conference Call for Additional Proposals

2021 CDS Virtual Conference

“Global Challenges, Local Resilience”

July 12, 2021—July 15, 2021

Call for Additional Proposals

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, proposals accepted for the Community Development Society (CDS) 2020 Conference in Fargo, North Dakota were rolled over to the 2021 Virtual Conference, July 12-15, 2021.

This is a request for additional proposals for presentations and posters from researchers, practitioners, and others involved in community work for the CDS 2021 Virtual Conference, July 12-15, 2021.

The conference will explore how community developers, organizers, and leaders pursue local resilience in light of global challenges, and how local actions contribute to global resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, refugee migration, workforce and trade disruption, and other challenges.

Proposals related to the conference theme, “Global Challenges, Local Resilience” are encouraged, but all submissions will be given full consideration. Each 45-minute concurrent breakout session will include 1-3 accepted presentations. We will contact you regarding how your proposal might fit into these sessions and the overall conference program.

CDS promotes inclusive access. If you have questions or experience technical difficulties submitting your proposal, please contact Justin Fallon Dollard, CDS Vice Chair of Programs -This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please use "CDS 2021 Virtual Conference Proposal" in the subject line.


Proposal Guidelines

  • The deadline for additional proposal submissions is April 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST. No late abstracts will be accepted.
  • You may submit more than one proposal.
  • All accepted presenters must complete their paid conference registration by Friday, June 18, 2021. Please note, presenters do not receive free registration. 
  • Conference registration information is available at here.
  • The conference agenda will be finalized by July 1, 2021.

Proposal Types

The following types of proposals will be considered:

PRESENTATIONS: (Maximum 750-word abstract, does not include references or title page)

  • Format: Proposal will be verbally presented during a concurrent session. Screen-sharing of presentation PowerPoint slides will be supported. If screen-based, embedded video is part of the presentation, please state the length of the video in your abstract.
  • Research Presentations include, but are not limited to, empirical research, action or participatory research, research panels and theoretical/philosophical perspectives, discussions or debates.
  • Educator/Practitioner Presentations include but are not limited to innovative ideas and practices, programmatic successes and reflections, panels, and topical discussions.
  • Scholarly Practice Presentations include some elements of both the research and educator/practitioner presentations described above.
  • Emerging Practice and Research Presentations include but are not limited to research that is in progress, new community or educational programs, and discussions of thought-provoking research projects or emerging trends in practice. 
  • Emerging Scholars Presentations include elements of the research presentations described above but are from actively enrolled undergraduate and graduate students.

E-POSTERS: (Maximum 500-word abstract, does not include references or title page)

  • Research Posters include, but are not limited to empirical research, action or participatory research, and theoretical/philosophical perspectives.
  • Educator/Practitioner Posters include but are not limited to innovative ideas and practices, programmatic successes and reflections.
  • Scholarly Practice Posters include some elements of both the research and educator/practitioner presentations described above.
  • Emerging Scholars Posters include elements of the research posters described above but are from actively enrolled undergraduate and graduate students.

Note: Any submissions exceeding specified word count will automatically be rejected.

Proposal Upload Guidelines

All proposals will be peer reviewed. Submit your proposal as a .docx or .pdf file using the guidelines and the link below. While the submission form will ask for name and contact information, please do not include your name or affiliation on the proposal document. Proposals must be blind, and the blind proposal will be sent to 2-3 reviewers.

  • Proposals will be submitted via Google Forms. Author/Presenter information will be collected in a form field separate from the proposal file upload.
  • TITLE PAGE: List the title of your abstract; the title should match the title submitted in the Google Form.
    • DO NOT include the name(s) and institutions/organizations of each author or other identifiable information.
    • DO include up to five keywords that describe your abstract.
  • ABSTRACT PAGE: The abstract should accurately communicate how your proposal relates to community development and the conference theme “Global Challenges, Local Resilience.”
    • Abstracts for presentations must be no more than 750 words.
    • Abstracts for posters must be no more than 500 words.
    • Word count does not include references or title page.

Upload your proposal here

Timeline for Review and Acceptance of Proposals

Notification will be sent via email for accepted proposals by May 15, 2021. Presentation versions of all accepted proposals must be submitted by July 1, 2021 at 11:59pm EST and should generally follow the format standards used by the Journal of the Community Development Society. Accepted e-poster proposals should follow the special instructions below.

CDS intends to electronically publish proceedings of the conference. Publication versions of all accepted proposals must be submitted by September 1, 2021 at 11:59pm EST. Presentation papers must follow the format standards used by the Journal of the Community Development Society.  

Note: If a conference proposal is accepted conditionally, then revisions must be submitted by June 15, 2021 at 11:59pm EST to be considered for the July 1, 2021 deadline for presentation versions. Revisions per peer review comments does not guarantee final acceptance.

Special Instructions for Accepted E-Poster Proposals

Tittle of the Poster

  • It is recommended to keep the title of the poster same as in the submitted abstract. Slight modification which does not change the idea of the abstract is also allowed.

Poster size and format

  • Poster must be submitted in PDF format.
  • It is recommended to make your poster in PowerPoint (Landscape or Portrait) and then save it as a PDF
  • No more than 5 PowerPoint slides for your E-Poster.

Your Information

  • The top of the Poster should display, in the lettering of 18 Bold (Times New Roman), the following information: Title of your Paper, Name(s) of the Author(s) and Affiliation(s).


  • Kindly use both UPPER and lower case letters for general content, as all-capital text is difficult to read. It is recommended to use 14 Times New Roman font style for the content of the poster.
  • Make sure there is enough contrast between the color of the text and the poster’s background.
  • Text and presentation should be in ENGLISH only.

Content of the Poster

  • Make sure that the specific sections (such as the background, methods, results, and conclusions) are easy to locate in the poster.
  • Try to keep the text easy to read and concise. The poster should have a clear message, a logical layout and be easy to comprehend.


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Community Development, Leadership, and Resilience

Greetings and happy new year to each of you! As we reflect upon 2020 and anticipate the months and years ahead, I am hopeful in this new year that we can be mindful and intentional about our work and its implications for the communities of place, practice, and interest of which we are members.

My identities and professional interests have converged in my role as Chair of the Board of Directors at the intersection of community development and leadership education. For many, terms such as leadership and community development are equally specific yet ambiguous. Most could likely describe what these terms mean; however, there are no universally agreed-upon definitions of either. And still, the same ambiguity could be attributed to resilience. The 2021 conference theme “Global Challenges, Local Resilience” remains prescient as we begin the second year of a global pandemic and ongoing social injustices and anticipate an eventual return to a new normal. In addition to planning the CDS conference, resilience has also remained a focus in my faculty role as we are planning the Iowa State Leadership Experience (ISLE), a one-day student leadership conference with a 2021 theme of “Unified Resilience in Leadership.”

What is resilience?

So, this resilience thing - What is it? Who has it? How do we develop more of it? Far short of a comprehensive scholarly investigation, the following are my thoughts on the intersection of community development, leadership, and resilience, based on my reflections and a collection of resources recently recommended by the Harvard Business Review. I hope we can all reflect upon and incorporate these practical resilience strategies in our roles as community development practitioners and scholars and our roles as global citizens and community members.

LaRae Quy (2020) described resilience as the ability to cope with adversity and obstacles and that it is a product of believing not just in oneself but in something bigger than oneself. Hougaard, Carter, and Mohan (2020) wrote about building resilience in times of crisis such as the pandemic, noting the collective experience of worry, anxiety, and instability and how this impacts our mental state and vulnerability to distractions. The authors wrote that such distractions could lead to negative thinking, obsessive thinking, fear, and helplessness. Diane Coutu (2002), in her research of resilience theories, identified three overlapping characteristics, including acceptance of reality; firmly held values that life is meaningful; and the ability to improvise. Our inability to be together in community has had multiple effects, including a sense of isolation and separation; stigmas, judgments, and blame spreading; and an impulse to adopt a survivalist mindset and behaviors. As a result, “We can easily forget our shared vulnerability and interdependence” (Hougaard, Carter, & Mohan, 2020).

In a study related to the COVID pandemic, Marcus Buckingham (2020) observed no discernible differences in resilience based on gender, age, ethnicity, or nationality. Instead, the study found two primary drivers of resilience, operating independently of a nation’s response to the pandemic. First, resilience is a reactive state of mind created by exposure to suffering from COVID; increased exposure led to increased resilience. In short, we develop resilience by facing reality and responding to it. Second, the more tangible the threat, the more resilient we become. The study found that experiencing multiple work-related changes increased resilience. It is safe to assume that most, if not all of us, have experienced many professional and personal changes and that, perhaps, we are weathering the ongoing crises more resiliently than we may realize.

Authors Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan (2016) examined resilience through the tendency for many of us to be workaholics and the importance of pausing for recovery amid our work and resilience development. I note here my feelings of guilt over the past year seeking a balance between a need to feel productive and a need for self-preservation, all the while trying (and often failing) to perform at a pre-pandemic level.

What are some strategies for developing mindfulness and resilience?

While this is not an exhaustive or empirically definitive set of tasks for developing resilience, there are some common themes across the resources I reviewed. Broadly, we are encouraged to develop greater self-awareness and preservation, accept reality and respond appropriately, and maintain belief in the power of community and coexistence. What can we do?

  • Don’t sugarcoat or minimize reality; embrace it, improvise in response to it, and prepare for some changes to remain permanent as we find a “new normal” (Buckingham, 2020; Coutu, 2002)
  • Build mindfulness (e.g., attention control, emotion regulation, increased self-awareness; focusing on your responses to situations and what you can control) and strategically stop your work to recover and recharge (Achor & Geilan, 2016; Quy, 2020)
  • Develop competence and commitment by taking responsibility for your success; find your “zone of competence” and by searching for meaning and developing a sense of purpose (Coutu, 2002); Quy, 2020)
  • Compassionately connect with others, which I believe is crucial to community and leadership development. We must start with compassion - to question how we can help those around us have a better day - to see and seize upon possibilities (Hougaard, Carter, & Mohan, 2020).

Relevance in 2021 and Beyond

My final thoughts are related to the timeliness and relevance of focusing on community development, leadership, and resilience. Are these topics merely fashionable in times of crisis, or are they more enduring even if seemingly less critical during times of stability and peace? Coutu (2002) recalled an industry leader who described resilience as a popular buzzword yet something one realizes they have only after the fact, while Quy (2020) explained that resilience is universal, involving thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that anyone can master.

As a leadership educator, I see parallels between Quy’s notion that everyone can be resilient and believe that everyone can learn to lead and engage in the leadership process. I consciously encourage students in my leadership courses to make personal connections to the discipline so that leadership is not just a buzzword on their applications for jobs and advanced education. To draw further connections, each of us has the potential and responsibility to engage in community development. We should be sure to acknowledge the vital work being done around us by those who might consider this work by another name or something other than community development altogether. My challenge to myself and our CD peers and fellow global citizens is to be mindful, engaged, and inclusive in mainstreaming our work and passions in both good times and in bad. I believe the very name of this publication – the CDS Vanguard – which is by definition “a group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.) is reflective of this challenge. How will you lead the way in 2021 and beyond? You might start by planning to join us for the CDS Annual International Conference.

The Local Host Committee developed plans for the 2020 conference, now to be hosted virtually July 12-15, 2021 (learn more and register here), with an intentional focus on our individual and collective roles and responsibilities in community development practice and scholarship. The conference will explore how community developers, organizers, and leaders pursue local resilience in light of global challenges and how local actions contribute specifically to global resilience in the face of climate change, refugee migration, workforce and trade disruption, and other challenges. I suspect the conference, the keynote speakers, and the richly diverse posters and presentations will continue to inform and inspire our work at the intersections of community development, leadership, and resilience.


Achor, S. & Geilan, M. (2016). Resilience is about how you recharge, not how you endure. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from:

Buckingham, M. (2020). What really makes us resilient? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from:

Coutu, D. (2002). How resilience works. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from:

Hougaard, R., Carter, J., & Mohan, M. (2020). Build your resilience in the face of a crisis. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Vanguard. In Merriam-Webster dictionary. Retrieved January 9, 2021 from

Quy, L. (2020). Building Resilience When Life is Not Perfect. Smart Brief. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from:

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CDS Launches Companion Journal

By Rhonda G. Phillips
Local Development & Society is a new journal for bringing together locally-focused aspects across domains in social and economic systems. Interest in localism is on the rise around the world, and we seek to create a repository of cross-disciplinary academic research in local contexts that will be integrated with national, provincial, state, and community practices. The journal will explore potentials and limitations of local growth and test evidence from academic research and practice against relevance in local societies. 
The journal welcomes original research manuscripts as well as overview, perspectives and case studies. Additionally, we encourage reviews of programs, policies or organizations for locally-focused work. Areas of interest include but are not limited to planning, geography, economics, sociology and other disciplines. The scope is global and of interest to diverse social scientists, planners, researchers, policy makers, students, and practitioners in fields that influence local development. 
For more information, see The inaugural issue is now available and note that access to the journal is included for CDS members. Feel free to reach out to any member of our editorial team for more information and submit your article or review! A few special issues are planned as well and we'll send out invitations to those as well. Rhonda Phillips, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Norman Walzer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. serve as founding co-editors and we invite you to Editorial team and board members at:
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Membership Committee - looking to the future

Update from Cornel Hart
Vice Chair Operations
Membership Committee Structure
December 2020


Dear current, past and future CDS members,

CDS has gone through a significant number of changes since 2018. One of which was to streamline our organizational structure towards more effective functioning and participation of our members. This month you will read all about the different Committees of CDS.

I wish to share with you the Role and Functions of the Membership Committee that I chair and its respective Sub-Committees and chairs.

We invite you to participate in any one or more of these sub-committees as we build our Society to be a ‘Home for all Community Development Practitioners (CDPs)’.

The Membership Committee is chaired by the VC-Operations and consists of Sub-committee chairs and ad-hoc members who wish to also participate at this level. This committee recruits, serves and retains members of CDS as well as supports the CDS Chapters. We see this committee as the ‘engine room’ of our Society that must collectively work with current members to grow our Society and become more effective in serving CDPs.

The Membership Committee’s theme for 2020/21 is: Reinventing our Society for systemic change in the 21st Century, and the following sub-committees are all geared up to take us towards this change.


Membership Org Structure

Recruitment & Retention Sub-Committee – Chair - Ron Hustedde


This committee encourages CDS membership retention and expansion. As part of this effort, we report our activities to the CDS Vice Chair of Operations. We also cooperate with the paid CDS staff member who is responsible for operations and collection of membership fees.

To find out more about the goals and projects of this committee and/or to join in all the excitement; please contact Ron at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chapters Sub-Committee - Chair – Mary Simon Leuci


This committee encourages regional groups within and beyond the United States to form chapters for local interaction and activities. It also supports the CDS Student Chapter in its work to engage budding practitioners and scholars in the Society's operations. All chapters receive guidance and support in meeting CDS guidelines. It also supports an international working group for engagement with CDS and all aspects of the Membership and Recruitment Committee.

To find out more about the goals and projects of this committee and/or to join in all the excitement; please contact Mary at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Engagement & Communications Sub-Committee – Chair - Lisa Gilchrist


This committee keeps the pulse of our Society and its members. Through the Vanguard newsletter, updates are shared, and Society business is published. The CD Practice provides an opportunity for sharing innovative approaches, tools, and techniques that can be readily applied by community development practitioners. The committee continuously identifies ways to increase engagement and gain insight into member needs and interests. A cornerstone initiative for this year will be the CDS member survey to assist with Reinventing our Society for systemic change in the 21st Century.

To find out more about the goals and initiatives of this committee and/or to join in all the communication and engagement for CDS; please contact Lisa at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Awards & Recognition Sub-Committee – Chair - Cornel Hart (interim)

This committee oversees the process for issuing annual awards for CDS, which recognize outstanding achievements and volunteer efforts for those who assist the society. The committee also recognizes outgoing board members for the society.

We are currently looking for a chairperson to lead this sub-committee. To find out more about the goals and projects of this committee and/or to join or chair this committee; please contact Cornel at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Chair's Update: October 2020

The fall weather descending upon the Midwest is a reminder that we are ushering in another season and its associated changes. We have spent the better part of this calendar year navigating anxiety about the present and uncertainty about the future. Personally, as someone excited about the future, I have struggled to cope with having no real endpoint to COVID, and I have questioned the sustainability of strategies we have adopted to get by. However, one thing has remained unchanged, and that is the need for accepting personal responsibility for the well-being of our immediate and extended groups. Never before have I appreciated the value of community and our role in its collective development and maintenance.

As we near the end of the first quarter since the annual business meeting, the board has been actively engaged on several issues. In this and subsequent issues of the Vanguard, you will find important updates regarding the Society's business. First, you can find the minutes of the annual business meeting here. Second, I would like you to join me in welcoming Dr. Maryam Ahmadian back to the Board of Directors. Maryam, a candidate for reelection this year, was invited to fill the remaining two-year term of the Director position vacated by Dr. Cornel Hart, who transitioned to the Vice Chair of Operations. The fully staffed and engaged board has met twice since the summer virtual business meeting held in place of the annual conference.

2021 Conference Update: On that note, the Board of Directors formally accepted the Fargo local host committee's recommendation to hold the 2021 annual international conference virtually. Additional details will be available from Justin Fallon Dollard, Vice Chair of Programs elsewhere in this issue of the Vanguard, and upcoming communications.

Committee Updates: We have collectively been working to more fully operationalize the new committee structure adopted with the revised bylaws in 2019. The standing committee chairs have worked over the last couple of months to recruit CDS members to bring the work of the committees to life. If you are interested in joining one or more standing committees or sub-committees as a member or in a leadership role, please communicate with the appropriate chair/board liaison:

  • Membership:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Vice Chair of Operations (sub-committees: Awards & Recognition; Chapters; Communication & Engagement; Recruitment & Retention)
  • Nominations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Secretary
  • Programs: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Vice Chair of Programs (sub-committees: Conference; Professional Development; ad hoc committees: Academic Accreditation; Editorial RFP)
  • Stewardship: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Treasurer (sub-committees: Donor Relations; Scholarships)

Current Initiatives: Some of the initiatives of committees currently in development include revisiting and updating the CDS Principles of Good Practice, re-launching the CDS Membership Survey, and new publications in Community Development Journal, CD Practice, and Local Development & Society. You can look forward to updates on these initiatives and others in the coming months.

Engagement Opportunities: Lastly, and an important call to all CDS members, we are actively seeking to develop and offer ongoing engagement opportunities leading up to and in addition to the annual international conference. We envision these opportunities would be more interactive and/or discussion-oriented, as opposed to a lecture or traditional webinar format. However, details are still taking shape. If you are interested in developing this programming either behind the scenes or as a presenter/facilitator, please reach out to me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

My best wishes to you and yours for continued health and well-being as we continue navigating our current reality. As always, the rest of the board and I remain available as resources to you, and we appreciate your continued membership in and support of the Community Development Society.

In service,


Kyle Patrick Williams, Ph.D.
Chair, Board of Directors
Community Development Society

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We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For

July 14, 2020 – Outgoing Chair Address to CDS Members at 2020 Annual Business Meeting

Dear Colleagues & Friends:

I am hoping this is my last talk with you as an outgoing president/chair of CDS.

It’s time for the new generation of compassionate, transformative, diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership to carry out the promise of CDS (and CDS members) as a healing and community-strengthening catalyst for local resilience and vitality amidst and because of global challenges. And the 2020-2021 board you have before you today is that class of dynamic and collaborative servant leaders CDS needs to guide our next steps together.

Serving as your chair for the past year, and serving on the board for the past two and one-half years, was an honor and a responsibility I did not seek but was called to do, as each of us must do if we are to keep whole and healthy an organization that for me and hopefully for you, too, has been absolutely essential to our professional and personal development as human beings on this Earth.

It’s the second time I’ve helped CDS through a major developmental transition. Twenty-five years ago this month, I turned the mantle of CDS leadership over to my distinguished colleague, Moniecia West, after having served 4 years in the presidential track, including a shared final year, 1994-95, as co-president with Monieca, to help guide our beloved CDS in a time of great change both internally as an organization, and externally in the world.

Those mid-1990s saw the public advent of that new-fangled thing we called the inter-network and growing globalization of capitalism and market-based solutions for everything – both in the economy and in society. The promises then were that we would all be connected, that communication would freely flow and ideas and creativity and community would thrive.

Our world was changing quickly in front of our eyes, especially as the Internet and the World Wide Web became commercialized. Economic benefits continued to flow to those who already had opportunity and social/economic standing.

Those left behind in a world driven by expanding market forces included people who lacked opportunity because of their economic and/or social class, their race, their gender, their sexual orientation, and their geography, places rural and urban left behind by so-called progress for some, but not shared equitably by all.

In my speech to kick-off my presidential year back in 1993, at the 25th anniversary conference, Rededicating Ourselves to Community, I posed the question and belief that we had lost our way as researchers, academics, and practitioners of community development, that we had forgotten our CDS Principles of Good Practice and that we, too, had indeed embraced a more market-driven orientation to community development.

I suggested then, strongly, that we needed to rededicate ourselves to community. We were in danger of leaving behind the ideal and the intentional practice to balance market forces with equal if not more investment in our civic fabric.

Today again, in 2020, dominating market forces must be balanced by the belief in and practice of a common good, in vigorous well-informed and productive community engagement on issues and opportunities of the day, and in intentional inclusion of the people and cultures that dominant cultures do not see or refuse to see. Today, more than ever, in our community development work and in our lives, we must practice and be advocates for racial, social, economic, and environmental justice.

At the advent now of our next 25 years of CDS, and hopefully 50!, we must FULLY embrace our role as changemakers –as changemakers for the better, for ALL.

It is who we are, who we have been, from the beginning of our creation days in 1969, after years of uprisings in the world and in the United States, where CDS began.

CDS was literally borne in 1969 out of those 1960s uprisings, out of years of reckoning with the clear imbalances in life conditions that spurred citizen action for racial, economic, social, and environmental justice.

Citizen action then put into place recognition, laws, and practices that propelled civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and a reckoning with income inequalities and abject poverty so dire as to foment the creation of the Great Society legislation in the U.S. and Food for Peace programs around the world.

The challenge is here again for us in CDS in 2020. The challenge for community is even greater. The solution of community is needed more than ever before as we face existential crises with COVID-19 and Climate Change unveiling worldwide health, education, infrastructure, and economic disparities by race, by region, and by economic and social class.

The tipping point, however, towards sustainable transformational change, for economic, social, and environmental justice, for racial justice, happened nearly two months ago and eight miles from where I live.

I live eight miles from 38th and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, where George Floyd was killed by four members of the Minneapolis Police Force for allegedly passing a $20 counterfeit bill at a convenience store. I also live one and a half-mile from where Philando Castile was killed by a Falcon Heights, Minnesota police officer four years ago, for an allegedly broken tail-light.

George Floyd’s murder, and the murders of so many Black men and women by law enforcement, and the institutional racism and classism and sexism and all the isms over the past centuries, compels us and forcefully tells us that our work in and for community development is not done, and has been in fact, undone.

We ourselves as an organization were nearly undone, too, over the past few years by our own inattention to one another. We can, we are, and we must continue do better.

For it is again a time of reckoning. It is a time of rebuilding. Not of the old normal. Not of the new normal. It is a time of building a new society -- free of racial, social, economic, and environmental inequity, free from racial, social, economic, and environmental injustice. It is time to build a society where diversity, inclusion, and equity are cherished as the necessary foundations for a healthy community and a shared, sustainable prosperity.

As I noted 27 years ago in my address to the 25th anniversary CDS conference, “We need community – people in covenant with one another and their environment – because being in community replenishes our character, our trust, and our solidarity. Without community, technology and a free market tend to create collective passivity and inequity. Without community, the state societies we build to coordinate the existence of millions of strangers remain anonymous and formidable."

“For me, community is ideally a place where love is experienced, where respect and compassion develop, where diversity is honored and where basic life needs are met."

“That is why community development – the work we do – is so important. Our work provides the foundation for other life activities. Our work fosters the interdependency created by person-to-person bonds, the interconnectedness of environment and humanity, and community-based decision-making. It teaches critical thought, ethical consideration, careful planning, and involvement of all stakeholders so that the passions of material gain – of the market – do not overwhelm human development and social and environmental justice."

It is our time, again, CDS, in 2020. We ARE the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are needed so much, because our work, our Principles of Good Practice, are ultimately about engaging community members to give to and shape community, to build community, so community returns our shared investments to sustain all of us, not just some of us.

And CDS needs you, to be active members of the CDS community, to serve on and lead committees, to run for the board, to share your talents and ideas in research, writing, and outreach, to donate to the CDS endowment, and more.

We need you to invite others to join CDS:

  • to raise up the community development perspective and insights for a world sorely in need of comprehensive systemic change
  • to share know-how in the interrelatedness of people, places, issues and opportunities
  • to counter the narrative of division with the more difficult but more hopeful narrative of common unity, of community.

For it is in community that our local resilience to global challenges is strengthened and sustained.

Today before we leave, in our For the Good of the Society discussion led by Anthony Cook, our CDS Secretary, we will begin the journey to update our CDS Principles of Good Practice.

We want to state more explicitly that we “Engage community members in learning about and understanding THE IMPACT OF SYSTEMIC INEQUALITIES ON OUR COMMUNITIES.” We want to build on our heritage of advancing equity and inclusion, not just for some communities and some people, but for all

Before we get to that work together, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve and work with my fellow members of the CDS Board and with you, my fellow members of CDS overall. I want to especially thank members of the Missouri wing of CDS who devoted years to putting on the awesome 2019 CDS conference last summer that celebrated our 50 years of existence and sent us out renewed for the next 50.

I want to thank the Fargoans and others who have been devoted to organizing the 2020 annual conference in Fargo, North Dakota, USA, which should have been happening right now but is postponed due to COVID until 2021. I want to thank those who are planning for our 2022 conference for Portland, Oregon, USA

And I want to again my fellow members of the 2019-2020 board, and welcome the folks who have been elected to the board this round, for your commitment to CDS, and in your honor and by your inspiration encourage other CDS members to join and chair committees and run for board seats in the coming year.

Finally, I thank Justin, Eric, Anthony, and KP for serving so ably with me on the CDS Executive Committee, being willing to work when needed as challenges and opportunities arose this past year.

And now, I turn your attention to Incoming Chair KP Williams to introduce you to the 2020-2021 CDS Board members.

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Jane's Jottings – June 2020 Notes from the CDS Board Chair

Gearing Up for the Next CDS Year: 2020-2021

We look ahead to next month, when we should be all gathering in Fargo, North Dakota, USA, for our annual conference, and we grieve that we will not be together and meet face-to-face. I grieve for all we have lost personally and professionally this year and for the insights gained, too, from COVID quarantines and from a community, country, and world awakening to long-held racial injustices.

Our conference theme this year was prescient: "Global Challenges, Local Resilience". It was to have centered on the climate crisis, refugee migration, workforce and trade disruption, and other challenges. And indeed, we add to these complex and interrelated challenges with COVID-19 exposing long-held gaps in our health care systems and the non-readiness of national/local responses, particularly in revealing racial and income differentials. Race-based disparities and inequities across community and economic opportunity are now further exposed by the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota, USA, which happened about 4 miles from my home.

We must erase prejudice and bias, and better understand the corrosive effects of privilege. We can start in our own CDS Principles of Good Practice. It’s one of the necessary conversations we will have at the annual CDS business meeting, virtually brought to you on Tuesday, July 14, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Central Time (USA). See announcement in this Vanguard and watch for details in early July on linking in to the meeting and obtaining meeting materials.


We welcome new board members at the annual business meeting, too: Cornel Hart (Vice Chair-elect of Operations), Bob Bertsch (Treasurer-elect), Lisa Gilchrist (board member-elect), and Dilip Patil (board member-elect).

Many thanks to Margaret Stout and MaryAm Ahmadian for their faithful service as board members over the past several years. They rotate off the board in July; so do I as Chair! Thank you for giving us all the opportunity to provide leadership for CDS!

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COVID-19: Could it Unite Us as a Global Community?


The new ‘normal’ as the start of the ‘great turning’ for transformative justice, social change, equity, and sustainable communities.

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love."    ~ Rumi

When I agreed to write a post with an international theme for the Vanguard issue, I had no idea that it would be in the middle of the COVID-19 global pandemic – a virus attack which, in one way or another, is uniting us as a Global Community. Dealing with it asks us all for innovative thinking, ideas and approaches on the meaning and purpose of Community Development Practice (CDP), and on our roles and responsibilities as Community Development Practitioners (CDPs).

COVID-19 is challenging all of us in our commitment to each and every one of the principles for which we stand, both as practitioners and as members of a family, community, society and nation. Each one of us now in our social isolation has had, however reluctantly, to realize our vulnerability – not just as a citizen, family, and community member, but also as a species. Many of us were at first positively hopeful that this pandemic would soon pass, and that everything would go back to normal again. Now we are realizing that it is not passing quickly, and that it is increasingly likely that nothing will ever be quite the same again. The new ‘normal’ will differ from the ‘normal’ we thought we knew.

Global pandemics such as COVID-19 re-emphasize the importance of CDPs, the need for our profession, and the role that we play in ensuring community well-being. Going forward in the aftermath of COVID-19, with resources diminished from fighting it, we will need to be more vigilant and innovative in rebuilding communities. We will be working from a micro level of well-being for our families, friends, and neighbors, through our communities, to the macro level well-being of our state sustainability. Although pandemics threaten our very existence, they also provide us with opportunities to ‘reset and turn’ our current way of life into a better one. It is at this turning point that CDPs are needed more than ever before. We will be called upon to guide communities in innovative ways towards rebuilding new sustainable, equitable and inclusive communities in our global society.

This rebuilding of community and society will require CDPs to revisit the works of scholar-activists such as David Korten, Johanna Macy, and Grace Lee Boggs. As early as the 2000s they put forward a much needed ‘great turning’. This ‘turning’ would shift us from our current times of being an economic growth ‘extractivist society’ to a society that is in balance and self-sustaining in every dimension of well-being: socio-cultural, physical, infrastructural, environmental, political, and economical. These scholarly foresights, more than fifteen years ago, emanated from the term ‘earth community’ described in the International Earth Charter of 2000. This charter consists of sixteen principles, clustered in four interrelated pillars derived from an ethical vision that proposes peace, environmental protection, human rights, and equitable human development.

One of the founding pieces of ‘turning’ literature is “The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community” by David Korten (2006). The unequal distribution of power and social benefits that goes back as far as 5 000 years is highlighted. The development of empires, political and social, continues to this day. Korten (2006) warns us of being “on the verge of a perfect storm of converging crises”, and that to avoid it will require major changes to our current economic and social structures.

Who would have thought that COVID-19 could so quickly ‘trigger’ this realization? Who could have anticipated that we as CDPs would be given the opportunity to work with communities to start the ‘great turning’ (transformation) from an ‘industrial growth society’ to a ‘self-sustaining civilization’?

Every one of us has been presented with an opportunity to relook at, and rework, our CDP approach towards making a difference and contributing towards a better life for society. Many resources and scholarly works are available to assist us with re-imaging our ‘new’ future of ‘turning’ towards achieving an Earth Community of well-being. Perhaps a good place to start will be with the founding authors of the ‘turning’: David Korten, Johanna Macy, and Grace Lee Boggs. They led the way to many more publications by other proponents of transformative justice, social change, equity and self-sustaining communities in a harmony of societies.

How are we going to take up this unforeseen opportunity to do things differently in the new ‘normal’ of CDP tomorrow?

Below are some useful links to material by the founding authors mentioned in this blog:;;

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Jane's Jottings - May 2020 Notes from the CDS Board Chair

CDS Elections 

I hope everyone is doing alright in the midst of COVID-19. CDS is in the midst of the annual elections (electronically) for the CDS Board of Directors. I would encourage and advise you to cast your ballots soon, as the election closes on May 29. Your CDS membership must be up-to-date to be able to vote (meaning you have paid your annual dues). If you haven't received a ballot by email, please let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and we will check the membership rolls.

We have a good crew of candidates! Please read their responses to the candidate questions, make your selections, and support them with your vote!

Annual Business Meeting

And along those election lines, new board members will take office immediately after the annual business meeting, which will be held online this summer now that our annual conference has been postponed until July of 2021.

The business meeting would have been held on July 14 had the Fargo conference been able to be held this year. So stay tuned for the new date/time/and instructions for joining into the Annual Business Meeting, once we figure out the method to host over 200 members on Zoom or Go-To Meeting or via semaphores (ha-ha), and that we can ensure that all voting attendees are bonafide members. The general public is also welcome to attend but cannot cast votes on CDS business.

Okay, enough of the business of CDS. My CDS friends, I hope you are doing well, and taking care of one another. I'm always available for ideas, concerns, and/or a welcome chat!

--Jane Leonard, CDS Chair 2019-2020


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Jane's Jottings - April 2020 Notes from the CDS Board Chair

Out of COVID-19: More Equitable & Shared Growth - A More Just Society

by Jane Leonard, CDS Board Chair 2019-2020

In this month’s Vanguard edition, our editor, Lisa Gilchrist, highlights “inequity” – in particular how the COVID-19 pandemic is clearly and deeply exposing inequalities in economic and social systems across the world and closer to home for each of us. Thank you, Lisa, for providing insights, news links, and resources on this evolving dynamic we all share.

The inequity reality commands my attention, having worked for the last two years with a diverse network of Minnesotans and organizations to research and create Minnesota Equity Blueprint - Thriving By Design - Rural & Urban Together - a 170-page compendium of 141 recommendations that chronicle regional and community best practices and inspiring efforts to build a more equitable and inclusive Minnesota (it’s available for a free download at if you’d like some decent reading material in our Stay-At-Home times). We started the effort well before COVID-19 knowing that hidden behind the façade of extraordinary economic growth here in the United States and in my home state are great disparities by region, race, and economic class.

Inequities get (and deserve) even harsher spotlight as numerous articles in state and national media have documented the pandemic’s devastating impact on already fragile low-wage workers who are losing both their jobs and private health-care coverage.   Here in the U.S. impacts are acute also on working women and mothers, on hard-working immigrant communities, on the homeless and on low-income seniors, and on the estimated one-third of American households that even before the outbreak were employed but just one paycheck away from economic calamity.

A New York Times special commentary on April 10, “America Will Struggle After Coronavirus. These Charts Show Why”, reviewed the underlying basic facts and trends of four decades of growing economic and racial inequality. Their series on “The America We Need” describes how we can emerge from this crisis stronger, fairer and more free.

In Minnesota, many of our most underpaid and economically insecure are emerging as the front-line heroes and most essential workers in the coronavirus fight. They are grocery store employees, child-care providers, service workers and delivery people, personal care attendants and nursing home employees, and more.   This extraordinary crisis exposes the severe imbalance and inequities in their compensation as opposed to people in the top half of the income hierarchy.

COVID can be our crucible of long-term change for the better, if we choose. We can build out of this travail an improved socioeconomic contract with one another, for more inclusive and equitable growth and a more just society, so that all of us have the tools, the opportunities, and the fair compensation to thrive together and to weather oncoming adversity, including climate change.

We in the community development field have the tools, resources, and experience that such a massive community healing and rebuilding effort requires. Jump in and help where you can. And please share your ideas and actions on community equity strategies in the face of COVID-19 and beyond. We’ll publish more links and resources in the May Vanguard (please send your examples to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Take care out there!

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Jane's Jottings - March 2020 Notes from the CDS Board Chair

Community Development & COVID-19; July Annual Conference Still Planned

Dear CDS Members:

All over the world as we confront the realities of COVID-19, we find ourselves in an amazing paradox: an uncertain time of self-imposed isolation and social distancing and yet also one of tremendous community spirit. Truly together as one united world community, we seek "to flatten the curve"  of the virus's scope and speed, especially to help those persons in the higher risk categories. 

It's a case study in rapid crisis-induced community development unfolding right in front of our faces (which we cannot touch ;-)

In that spirit, and in these times, I direct your attention to the reporting in the March Vanguard from our 2020 Annual Conference Local Host Committee colleagues in Fargo, North Dakota, USA. At this time, we are NOT pulling the plug on the July annual gathering. Conference registration is open, as are the lodging reservations.

We are closely monitoring local, state and federal updates as to COVID-19 mitgation efforts and advice. The Local Host Team is in regular contact with the host hotel (The Radisson) and the dorm lodging folks as well.

We will keep everyone posted. Check the conference FAQs and website for updates, as well as updates directly to CDS members that would land in your email boxes.

Please note that the conference registration cancellation policy allows for full refunds of the conference registration fee before June 26, and the lodging reservations at discounted rates do not close until June 11. So we still have time to wait the virus out.

If all of us do our part wherever we live, to "flatten the curve" on COVID-19 over the next two months, we anticipate that July in Fargo will see the 52nd CDS Annual International Conference happening as scheduled, July 12-15. We're optimistic, and we are realistic. Stay tuned.

Be well, stay well!

--Jane Leonard, CDS Board Chair 2019-2020


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CDS 2020 Conference Keynote Speakers

Submitted by Robert Bertsch

The 2020 Community Development Society Conference (July 12 – 15, 2020 in Fargo, ND) will feature three amazing keynote speakers. The conference theme is “Global Challenges, Local Resilience.” Each keynote speaker will address a particular global challenge. Each keynote will be followed by a panel discussion of local resilience in the face of that particular challenge.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah on immigration and refugees, and community resilience

Krish is the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She previously served in the Obama White House as Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama and at the State Department as Senior Advisor under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry. Krish has committed her career to public service because she knows how differently life could have turned out. Krish was 9-months old when she and her family escaped a country on the brink of civil war and built a life in Maryland. Her parents came to this country with no jobs and $200 in their pockets.

Jessica Hellmann on climate change/global warming and local community resilience

Jessica Hellman, Director of the Institute on Environment at the University of Minnesota, will speak on the global challenge of climate change. Jessica ’s research examines the adaptation and vulnerability of biological species to climate change. She is an alumna of Stanford’s Leopold Enviornmental Leadership Program and a recipient of a career enhancement fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Ron Wirtz on economics, the labor force, and local community resilience

Ron Wirtz, regional outreach director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, will address the global challenge of labor. Ron tracks current business conditions, with a focus on employment and wages, along with sector-tracking in construction, real estate, consumer spending and tourism. Prior to his current role, Ron was the long-time editor of the fedgazette, the Bank’s regional business and economics publication, where he conducted research on such topics as employment trends, health care pricing and consolidation, housing, entrepreneurship, public pensions, and income mobility.

Please join us in Fargo July 12-15, 2020 to hear these wonderful keynote speakers and experience life “North of Normal.” Registration opens soon. Learn more at

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Jane's Jottings - Notes from the CDS Board Chair

Family, Community, & CDS Fundamentals

I just returned from two weeks in Ecuador on a hiking/touring trip. Walking each day in the Andean highlands confirmed for me yet again the fundamental touchstones that we all share, no matter where we live: family and community ties.

CDS members share community ties as members of the CDS community. In our 51 years of existence, we carry on traditions begun by our foremothers and forefathers. And we start new traditions, too, as our community re-shapes and changes with each succeeding generation.

These times, however, call upon us to embrace the timeless fundamentals of membership in the CDS community: the mutual responsibility we have to one another to carry out basic and essential tasks necessary for community health & well-being, such as committee service, board service, and volunteering for conference planning and implementation.

The CDS community is not run by someone else for our professional benefit. CDS succeeds – or fails – based purely on what we as its community members give: our time, our energy, our wisdom, our financial resources, and dare I say, our love and commitment.

Please help strengthen our fundamentals. You will get much more back in return, but you have to take the first step -- get involved. Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more. And you can make a quick and easy start on building your CDS community ties by attending the 2020 Annual International Conference in Fargo, North Dakota, USA, this July 12-15. Watch for the registration details soon at

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Jane's Jottings - Notes from the CDS Board Chair

The CDS Board gathered last week for our first meeting in 2020. I can't believe it's 2020! We continue work on securing the next phase of transition to an organization shepherded by a full-time Executive Director. While we are in pretty good shape financially, we do not yet have the membership numbers and revenue to support a FT position, so we will continue with part-time staff for the foreseeable future.

The Board also set in motion a transition plan to secure new editors for the Community Development journal as the current arrangements end this July. (Big thanks go to John Sipple at Cornell University, USA & Leanne M. Avery at State University of New York at Oneonta, USA, for their long service as our current editors!).

As I look to the last seven months of my service on the board as the CDS chair, and my nearly 33 years as an active CDS member, I reflect on how CDS has always been member-driven and member-supported. It's a blessing and a challenge. We of CDS are a community, too, and depend on one another to find time as member-volunteers to lend a hand and heart in the governance and operations responsibilities for our shared home, whether we are students, teachers, researchers, and/or practitioners. We need more volunteers for service on committees and we need volunteers to run for board seats this year. CDS is truly what WE together make of it. Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to learn more about ways in which you can serve, and grow, with CDS.

One way to give is to attend the CDS annual conference -- and we have seven months almost exactly to our 52nd Annual International Conference, in Fargo, North Dakota, USA (July 12-15, 2020). So I invite you to truly take a moment and save those dates, to join your colleagues in the pretty darn amazing smack dab middle of the North American continent as we explore together, "Global Challenges; Local Resilience"!  See you there!

--Jane Leonard, CDS Chair 2019-2020


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