Community Development Society

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WCDC2018: World Community Development Conference

Community Development Towards 2030: Our Analysis, Our Actions

Join the IACD's 65th anniversary conference celebrating community development from around the world! 

The World Community Development Conference (WCDC) 2018 will be held at Maynooth University, in partnership with the IACD and Community Work Ireland, in Kildare, Ireland on June 24-27. This conference will provide a unique opportunity for practitioners, participants, academics, policy makers, funders, and other stakeholders to share perspectives on current contexts and challenges for community work.

With over 200 workshop speakers, join our community development colleagues, practitioners, and educators from around the globe in a collaborative discussion on participation, power, and progress! Register now to join the conversation about the future of community development!

Don't miss this wonderful gathering of community development experts from around the world! For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the IACD website.

Come join the global conversation of community development!

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Join the CDS Leadership! - Call for nominations through April 6

By Kyle Patrick Williams


The Community Development Society is seeking nominations to fill three Board of Directors positions. These positions are for a three-year term that will begin at the close of our Annual International Conference to be held July 21-25 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Active participation on the CDS Board of Directors is a way to engage more fully with the work of the organization while enhancing your own personal network of connections within the Community Development field.

Board members devote considerable volunteer time and resources to the position and are expected to join monthly teleconference Board meetings. Members also attend the annual conference and mid-year meeting generally held for two days at the site of the pending annual conference. Board members also take leadership of one subcommittee on topics that range from awards, conferences, international CDS, nominations, membership and marketing, finance, and communications/publications. There is no financial support, other than that the Board has budgeted a modest amount to offer partial support in the event that a board member is not able to afford the cost of travel to the fall board retreat.

Important note about the 2018 nominations and election process: In January, the Board of Directors released a proposed draft of new bylaws for the Society and sought feedback from the membership. After considering the feedback received, the Board of Directors adopted the new bylaws, which can be accessed here. One significant change as a result of the new bylaws affects the officers of the Society. Under the new bylaws, the Vice President shall be elected to serve a three-year term automatically transitioning to President and then Past-President. In 2017, Craig Talmage was elected as the Vice President for Operations; under the previous bylaws, this position automatically transitioned to Vice President of Programs and then to President. Upon adopting the new bylaws, the Board of Directors voted to omit seeking nominations for a Vice President in the 2018 election and to keep Craig Talmage as the Vice President for 2018-2019 with an automatic transition to President for 2019-2020.

To prepare the ballot, please consider self-nominating yourself for the Board of Directors using this online form: Nominations must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Friday, April 6, 2018. All members in good standing are eligible to serve on the Board; to check the status of your membership, log in to your user account at

After April 6th, we will conduct our general election. On behalf of the current CDS Board of Directors, thank you for your willingness to serve our association and the communities we represent. If you have any questions regarding the nominations and elections process, please contact CDS President Bryan Hains, CDS Secretary Caitlin Bletscher, or Nominations and Leadership Committee member Theresa Gonzales.

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Community Development Data Viz - February 2018

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Get involved with #CommDev18!



Every year, the CDS annual international conference is our time to come together as colleagues to learn and share. The 2018 CDS Annual International Conference in Detroit is no exception and there lots of great things on the horizon! However, we want to make sure that our members’ voices are heard and that this conference really hits the mark. With that in mind, we are extending an invitation for members to join the Conference Planning Committee. Committee members will meet by phone once a month leading up to the conference and will review current plans, make suggestions to tailor the conference program to needs and expectations of the members, as well as to provide support as needed. Please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to join. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!

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CDS Team Looks to Develop Stronger Partnerships with Foundations

The Community Change Network is a team of committed community development professionals pursuing the study and documentation of sustained community change. With the support of CDS Institutional Capacity grant funding, and working with the CDS Fellows project in 2017-18, the Community Change Network (CCN) is spearheading an initiative to convene Foundations that share a mission for community well-being.

This initiative recognizes that the Community Development Society, CCN and foundations each bring diverse perspectives and resources, and all share the common goal of supporting effective, inclusive, sustainable community change. The CCN recognizes the potential benefits of more collaborative work and is taking action to explore the potential of formalizing and strengthening the relationship between the interest groups. CCN leaders are hoping to reach out to representatives from several foundation including Thrivent, Blandin, Bush, Northwest Area, Annie E. Casey, Ford, Ford Family, Kellogg, Mott, Kauffman, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, USDA Rural Development and the Minnesota Initiative Funds. The group is planning to host a meeting in the spring of 2018 to hear what foundations are interested in for future funding opportunities, what they would like to know more about to support rural programming, and what measurement or impact data they are seeking for funding decision-making.

CNN project leaders Milan Wall, Sharon Gulick, Connie Loden, and Mary Emery are seeking feedback from CDS members on the CDS Connect discussion page ( including what questions you would like to have asked - share what foundations you would like to hear from - and what are your ideas on how CDS can form more effective partnerships with Foundations that support community health, development, and well-being.

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CDS - You Are Appreciated

This month’s Presidential update will be short and sweet - yet will carry an important message. I personally want to thank every Community Development Society member for their continued commitment to our organization. Your professional dedication, diverse perspectives and general friendliness have made CDS an amazing organization and one that I am proud to be a part of. You continually strive to enhance not only our profession but our individual professional and personal lives as well. Many of you work tirelessly behind the scenes to make CDS run like a well-oiled machine, and you do so humbly and with little recognition. Please know that this does not go unnoticed, I personally want to take a moment to recognize your past, present and future efforts and let you know that you are truly appreciated. As always, please let me know if there is anything the leadership team can do to make you feel as appreciated as you truly are.

With humble thanks,


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CDS Seeks Proposals from Certified Public Accountant Firms for Audit and Tax Services

The Community Development Society (CDS) is soliciting proposals from Certified Public Accountant firms to provide audit and tax services for our fiscal year ending December 31, 2017, with the option to renew for each of the following two odd numbered fiscal years (2019 and 2021). This request for proposal contains background information on CDS and specific information that must be included in the proposals submitted. The proposals must be submitted via email by no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, March 16th, 2018, directly to our business office at the following email address:

Community Development Society
Attn: Justin Fallon Dollard, Managing Director
Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The RFP announcement with proposal requirements information is available here:



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CDS Seeks Proposals from Certified Public Accountant Firms for Monthly and Year End Services

The Community Development Society (CDS) is soliciting proposals from Certified Public Account firms to provide monthly and year-end accounting services for fiscal year 2018, with the option to renew for two succeeding years. This request for proposal contains background information on CDS and specific information that must be included in the proposals submitted. The proposals must be submitted via email by no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, March 16th, 2018, directly to our business office at the following email address:

Community Development Society
Attn: Justin Fallon Dollard, Managing Director

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

The RFP announcement with proposal requirements is available here:


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Community Development Data Viz - February 2018

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Building Membership Capacity and Agency Within CDS - Leadership Flexibility Within an Evolving Field

It is very heartening to be part of an energetic and vibrant society – soon to be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Our society is filled with amazing individuals who are passionate about their profession and its future. This passion is what attracted me to the society when I first joined. The Community Development Society’s resiliency, especially in an ever-changing culture, is credited to the visionary efforts of its prior leadership and engaged membership. It is in honor of these leaders and membership efforts that we evaluate the current and future needs of our professional colleagues.

Recently, our officers and board of directors critically examined the CDS leadership structure in concert with the current and future needs of its membership. This was an insightful process, as our society strives to engage multigenerational members from diverse disciplinary and cultural backgrounds. It raised the recurrent question, “How does CDS best serve its current and future membership?” The answer lies in our 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.

We began by examining our foundational bylaws. During this process, we found that there could be revisions made to mainstream the CDS leadership structure which would, “Incorporate the diverse interests and cultures of the community in the community development process.” The first included adding the office of Past President. In June, 2016, the board of directors voted to add an office of Past President, yet the offices roles and responsibilities were not clearly defined. We now propose a more defined role for the new office.

We also recommend combining the offices of Vice President of Operations and the Office of Vice President of Programs into one Vice President position. The Vice President would oversee operational and maintenance functions of committees, and Board Liaisons. The Vice President would Chair the Program Planning Committee and assist in the facilitation of correlating sub-committees. Furthermore, the Treasurer would chair the Finance Committee and correlating sub-committees and the Secretary would chair the Communications Committee and correlating sub-committees. These changes would enhance officer leadership roles by allowing them to deepen their engagement with membership. Their primary committees could be more dynamic as they develop purposeful sub-committees to address membership needs. This would also allow board members to engage with committees and sub-committees that are of interest to them, rather than potentially chairing a committee of limited interest. These recommendations would, “Promote active and representative participation toward enabling all community members to meaningfully influence the decisions that affect the society.” as well as, “Enhance the leadership capacity of CDS members, leaders, and groups within the society.” The proposed changes are incorporated into the following figure:


Lastly, we propose the deletion of action clusters and broadening the focus of CDS chapters and sections to be both place based and interest based. As we have seen, our membership often coincides regarding community issues, or topics of interest. This amendment allows us to better meet the needs of global membership.

As previously stated, we believe that the recommended changes will greatly enhance societal engagement and membership agency. Our process and efforts are based on our founding principles of good practice and we hope you will provide your thoughts, insights and comments regarding our recommendations. To do so, please view our proposed changes and add any comments/suggestions you have. To view the proposed bylaws please click on the following link:

The board and I truly appreciate your input as we continue our efforts to meet our diverse membership.


Bryan Hains

CDS President

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Issue 21 - Community Development Practice - Available the Week of January 15th

Dear CDS Members and Friends,

The newest issue of Community Development Practice is up on our CDS website:

I hope that you will share the three articles featured in issue broadly with researchers and practitioners alike. Our 22nd issue should be coming out in late Spring of 2018. Consider submitting an article yourself or reach out to me if you have questions. 

Below you will find an excerpt of my introduction to the issue. 

Excerpt from Introduction:

When I read through three articles contained in this twenty-first issue of Community Development Practice, I can see the transformative power of community development across the globe. In our first article, we see the transformative power of community development to improve rural health in West Virginia. In our second article, we see the transformative power of community development to strengthen veterinary extension systems in Zimbabwe. In our third article, we see the transformative power of community development to reduce group and gang violence in London. These incredible stories and tools move our practice of community development forward in this new millennium.

I hope you will find these articles not only useful but also inspiring of your own practice. I also hope you consider submitting articles to Community Development Practice in the near future. Your stories and tools deserve to be shared. Please also consider presenting your stories and tools at future conferences of the Community Development Society. We must unleash the transformative power of community development and not keep it hidden.  

Craig Talmage

Editor, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
300 Pulteney Street, Stern Hall
Geneva, NY 14456 USA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Community Development Practice

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Community Development Educators: Addressing ‘Wicked’ Issues and Systems Thinking

It is not a novel concept that today’s community development practitioners must address some of the most complex, ‘wicked’ problems facing our world. Due to today’s globalization, challenges within our communities are becoming increasingly complex and interconnected. Such ‘wicked’ challenges are not evil in nature, but have been coined to represent their complexity and uniqueness, without clear definition of their problem, solution, or final resolution (Rittel & Webber, 1973).

In order to best prepare tomorrow’s researchers, practitioners, and educators for such problems, our education and development must address the concept of wicked issues through a systemic lens.

I have recently been working with university students to instill similar paradigms that encourage systems thinking when engaging with wicked community development issues. Through this Global Issues course, students are exposed to various activities, exercises, discussions, and resources that allow them to develop such worldviews.

I would love to share a fantastic resource I came across with the CDS community. At the start of this new year, I was introduced to Tom Wujec’s Wicked Problem Solving toolkit, where participants engage in an exercise of diagram creation, problem solving, and critical reflection. Through the simple task of drawing how to make toast, participants begin to shift their perspective in how they first address issues within their community.  If you’re looking for an excellent exercise to introduce systems thinking and wicked issues through an experiential learning exercise, I would highly encourage you to watch Tom Wujec’s TED Talk and present this participatory activity for a group that you currently work with!

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Award Nominations Due February 14 - in a New EASIER Process!

The Awards & Recognition Committee is happy to announce a call for award nominations under a new and easier process for 2018! 

This is your opportunity to nominate peers, colleagues, students, and mentors to be recognized for their contributions to the community development field. Awards will be presented at the 2018 CDS Annual Conference in Detroit, MI on July 22-25.

The CDS Awards recognize new and experienced community development practitioners, researchers, students, and supporters as we celebrate the outstanding and innovative leaders in our field. Awards include honors for research, programming, achievement, service to the profession, and community development education.

The new process makes it easier for you to nominate someone with the key background information. Following the nomination period, the Committee will work with nominees to gather additional supporting documentation. Key dates in the new timeline are as follows:

February 14 - Nominations Due; all nominations received after the deadline will be automatically eligible in the next round of awards.

April 1 - Support Documentation due from Nominees

Early May - Winners Notified 

July 22-25 - Awards Presented at CDS 2018 Conference.

To submit your nomination(s), complete the online awards application form.

For more information on each award, visit

Please direct any questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We look forward to recognizing the great work happening in community development across the nation and the world!

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Call for Submissions on "RESILIENCE" - Special Edition of Community Development

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Agitator, Innovator, or Orchestrator of Change?

By  Dan Kahl, Kris Hains, & Aaron Goodman


The Community Development Society (CDS) Fellows met in November to discuss the idea of innovation in community change projects. Reflecting on the article, “Should You Agitate, Innovate, or Orchestrate?” by Battilana and Kimsey[1], the fellows discussed the roles each of us play in initiating change and when different roles may be more effective.  

Often community development organizations find it necessary to shift between the different roles, depending the on the circumstances and what is needed to accomplish the desired community change. “In reality, the boundaries between these roles may blur, with some individuals and organizations playing multiple roles either at once or sequentially. Far from being linear, the social change process may require that change makers switch back and forth among the three roles”[2].  Recognizing that each of us are simultaneously involved in multiple community groups, the fellows identified a community they currently work with. The Fellows represent a variety of community initiatives including: the development of a stronger community of student and young professional groups in CDS; Improving the CDS experience for international members; exploring better partnerships with other associations (communities of practice) like the International Society of Quality of Life Studies (ISQUOLS); bringing effective (community of place) coalitions together like the Detroit Urban Initiative; and working to bring together and promote new communities of interest like the Community Change Network initiative.

Reflecting on these differing contexts of community encourages us to consider how the needs of the group and situation can dictate the approach to community change. Does the situation require social agitation to raise awareness? Communities may need a loud voice to bring injustice to the public stage, or to raise awareness of the need for change.  Leadership of social agitation may push for change and “clear space” for important conversations.  For example, the role of an agitator may be necessary in order to make some poor, underrepresented neighborhoods have equal voice in certain urban settings.

On another hand, would the community benefit from the leadership of an innovator (or multiple innovators) to design active solutions? Often communities get stuck in indecision or helplessness. The role of innovator helps to identify and design action strategies for the community to move forward.  Innovative leadership is often the bridge to overcome existing barriers. The Fellows group working with International groups, for example, realizes that community development work around the world shares both differences and commonalities. Bringing people together through CDS to learn together and share ideas requires innovative strategies to bridge culture, time, language and assumptions about community.

Finally, when does an orchestrated approach to change best serve a community? Acting as an orchestrator of change is the role of planning and leading a change adoption strategy. The CDS Fellows team working to develop effective ways to partner between associations (the ISQOLS team) is an example of a broader change orchestration. ISQOLS represents a professional association focused on quality of life that is interested in creating expanded partnerships with CDS. But orchestrating a relationship between associations can be tricky. How does one orchestrate the change to share resources without losing individual identify or lose the “value proposition” to association members?

Recognizing that each of these roles for creating change serves different purposes, the CDS Fellows discussed examples and applications of each approach within the context of their situation and community. After much discussion, it was determined that similar to what happens when asserting effective leadership, the situation, context, shared goals, and needs of the participants ultimately should guide what type of role is most appropriate.  

So are you an agitator, innovation or orchestrator? What role do you take on within your community?

The CDS Fellows project is coordinated through the Community Innovation Lab at the University of Kentucky.

[1]Battilana, J., & Kimsey, M., Should you Agitate, Innovate, or Orchestrate? Stanford Social Innovation Review, September 18, 2017.

[2] Ibid.


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Call for papers for a proposed special issue in Community Development focused on Polarized Communities

Recently, we have witnessed increased polarization on many levels and in a variety of contexts (e.g., politics, class, race, religion, environment, energy). This special issue aims to move communities beyond binary polarization and discover the more nuanced subtleties hidden within the fog of polarization. We hope this spurs practitioners and researchers to explore innovative spaces for finding common ground within a continuum of polarization. We invite authors to submit manuscripts that portray illustrative cases of polarization, explore and share alternative methodologies, advance theory around the construct of polarization, provide a comprehensive literature review, or unveil historical perspectives that inform contemporary practice and research in the field of community development.

In addition, and more broadly, we always encourage submissions of comprehensive reviews of the literature focusing on contemporary questions that help inform our field. Manuscripts of this nature may be submitted for any issue, at any time.

Please contact us if you are interested in contributing to this special issue.
Manuscripts will be due by April 15, 2018.

Leanne M. Avery & John W. Sipple
Co-Editors, Community Development
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Free Webinar - December 8th: What does Intentional Communities got to do with Quality-of-Life?

FREE Webinar: December 8th! What does Intentional Communities got to do with Quality-of-Life? A talk connecting the dots between the human brain, happiness and how we choose to live together.

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Explore Detroit at #CommDev18

I am so excited that we will be meeting in my hometown of Detroit for #CommDev18! Detroit has been nothing short of a hotbed of innovation in community development and revitalization. Holding our annual international conference there will ebable us to learn and explore community development alongside our local counterparts -- engaging with urban agriculture, equity activists, and planners to see how people and neighborhoods in Detroit continue their renaissance. 

As Chair of the Conference Committee, I am happy to be leading the process of engaging membership and local stakeholders to make this conference a success. Our first round of proposals has closed and the Scholarly Activities Committee and other reviewers are hard at work vetting proposals to make sure we have the highest quality presentations for #CommDev18.

We recieved an amazing number of formal presentation and poster proposals, but also a trove of the newly concieved Roundtables, Think Tanks, and Birds of  Feather proposals. Be sure to check them out as the program takes shape early next year! For now though, you can check out the schedule at a glance here

You can still be actively involved in the conference by signing up to be a student volunteer or part of the new CDS Mentor Program (mentor, mentee). All student volunteers will be put into a drawing for a free stay at the conference hotel during the conference -- what a deal! All senior Society members are encourages to sign up to be mentors to students and newer members of our organization to help them connect during the conference and grow in their careers in community development. We need you!

We have some great Mobile Learning Workshops taking shape, including the Dequindre Cut Bike Tour, Henry Ford Museum, and more! We will be partnering with Visit Detroit to help coordinate some of these tours. Also, be sure to check them out to find out about other great things to do and see during your trip! 

This year, we are truly getting back to our roots by coordinating service events in our host city ahead of the conference. So, plan on getting in and getting to work on July 21 with one of our service project locations, including farmwork with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network or blight removal with Life Remodeled. More opportunities may become available, depending on interest, so stay tuned and be sure to sign up to serve when you register! 

There's so much more underway, -- including amazing keynotes, sponsors, events -- but I'll end here for now. Keep an eye on our website for more! Registration will be here soon!

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Community Development Data Viz - November 2017

Thanks for tuning in! This month's selection of interesting data visualizations focus on gender-based violence with a special look at transgender issues, and sexual harrassment. 

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Introducing CDS’ New Managing Director

Friends, I am very excited to write this month’s update! As you are aware, there have been several leadership transitions this year. While some face such transition with uncertainty, I have found great optimism, excitement and synergy working with our outstanding leadership team. I must say, I am extremely fortunate to work beside such great leaders.

In October, board members convened for our fall retreat in Detroit, Michigan - future home of the 2018 Community Development Society’s annual conference. I had never been to Detroit and let me tell you, it is absolutely amazing! Community development is happening throughout the city and will be an outstanding place for us to learn and exchange ideas.

As part of our retreat, we were fortunate to hire our new Managing Director, Mr. Justin Fallon Dollard. Justin and his family recently relocated across the country from Oregon to New York where they are now settling in. Mr. Dollard recently worked for Portland Public Schools District (PPS) as a senior project manager. PPS is the largest school by enrollment in the state of Oregon with over 49,000 students. His role at PPS included strategic planning, capital project management, data and policy analysis, public engagement and stakeholder facilitation, and grant writing. At PPS, he led a district-wide active transportation planning effort in partnership with the nonprofit Oregon Walks and the City of Portland. This planning effort was funded in part by a regional government grant that he secured and managed.

Prior to working at PPS, Justin served as a City Planner for the City of Portland, Oregon and as the Vice President for the City of Portland Professional Employees Association. Mr. Dollard possesses graduate level professional training in public administration (Villanova University) and architectural design (University of Oregon) and received an undergraduate liberal arts education from The Evergreen State College.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Dollard to the Community Development Society. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



President – Community Development Society

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