Community Development Society

News and Information

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,

-KP-

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.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS!

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:

https://davidkorten.org/library/;

https://www.joannamacy.net/main#books;

https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5323/fire.2.1.0060#metadata_info_tab_contents

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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 https://growthandjustice.org/publication/Blueprint-online-F.pdf 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 https://www.comm-dev.org/networking/2020-conference.

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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 https://www.comm-dev.org/networking/2020-conference

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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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Call for Interest: Community Development Society Executive Leadership Fellow

Priority Consideration Deadline Extended to January 31st, 2020

The Community Development Society (CDS) seeks to support a part-time Executive Leadership Fellow for 2020-2022 who will provide fiduciary duty, membership recruitment and outreach, advocacy and coordination of research specific to its mission. The ideal candidate will possess leadership experience in the field of community development, demonstrated ability to manage organizations, national level advocacy skills, and a practice and/or research agenda aligned with the CDS Principles of Good Practice and the CDS mission. A terminal degree (PhD, JD, Masters) is preferred.

The CDS Board of Directors intend to transition the organization from a largely volunteer based organization to one supported by dedicated staff. The fellow will serve in the capacity of Executive Director and assist the board in this transition through recruiting members, sustaining and promoting membership, leading development efforts, supporting financial management, facilitating board governance, and coordinating and/or conducting research.

The fellow will serve a 2-year appointment (with an optional third year depending on available funding) and will be located remotely. However, the selected individual will need to establish a mailing address to receive CDS correspondence, use a mobile phone to access the CDS toll-free number, and able to regularly access the internet.  The fellow will receive a stipend of $4,000 per month, a WiFi enabled laptop with MS Office installed, and an allowance for travel to the CDS annual meeting and international conference and up to three additional related conferences annually with approval by the CDS Executive Committee. The fellow will report to the CDS Board Executive Committee with the Vice Chair of Operations providing direct supervision. The fellowship will remain open until the appointment is made. Therefore, qualifications should be submitted no later than January 31st, 2020 for full consideration.

Please see PDF associated with this post for additional information.

REV_Call-for-Interest-Community-Development-Society-Executive-Leadership-Fellow-12-23-19.pdf

Interested individuals should email cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, and references to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Jane's Jottings - Notes from the CDS Board Chair

HELP YOURSELF BY HELPING CDS

Dear Colleagues:

I'm trying again this month to generate responses to last month's blog about the Call to Serve -- service on the CDS Board, on committees, presenting at the annual conference, and other spots. We need you to volunteer your time to help your professional community maintain itself and help yourself grow in the process of that experience. If you have even a pinch of interest, call me -- at 651-303-5263 (USA), or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About a thousand years ago when I first joined CDS, at age 30 (I'm 62 now) I immediately felt at home. Why? Because my curiosity about many things having to do with community, economic, and rural development all resided in the people and ideas and experiences that populated the CDS community.

What was exciting then and is still amazing now is that we share ideas across disciplines. We learn from each other whether we come from the practitioner ranks, teaching ranks, research, students, and community members, too. We embrace a diversity of ideas and backgrounds because communities are diverse and issues interrelate. Solutions come from everywhere and everyone, working together for the common good. Read our values inherent in the CDS Principles of Good Practice. That's who we are.

And just as we can wax philosophical about our guiding values, we must also take our turns on the teams that keep the mechanics of our organization working, too. If you've served on the CDS Board in the past, consider running again this coming year. If you've had some committee experience, step up to run for the CDS Board.

We need experienced operators on the ride. We are especially in need of people to run for the Vice Chair of Operations, because that is always an open seat each year that begins the three-year commitment: 1st year Vice Chair of Operations; 2nd year Vice Chair of Programs, and 3rd year -- Chair of the CDS Board.

Elections will happen next spring, 2020, so there's still some time to mull it over. It's a commitment, no doubt. Having done that in my 30s, over 25 years ago, and now for my second (and hopefully last) time, I also know it's a deep honor and humbling to have front-row seats in an association, in a field, so relevant and critical to solving the challenges of our times.

CDS needs you now to lead our CDS community and our evolving field into the future -- a future as bright as the leadership lights we can muster.

Please, answer the call to serve. You'll have great mentors along the way. The time you give will be returned a hundred-fold in experiences and support throughout your career. At least it did in mine. CDS was the constant in a long career as a CD practitioner that took me from one sector to the next, always with community as the foundation, and CDS colleagues I could count on for advice, friendship, and moral support.

Time for you to take up the baton! Connect with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - I can't wait for the conversation to begin!

--Jane Leonard, 2019-2020 CDS Board Chair

 

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Jane's Jottings: Notes from the CDS Chair

A Call to Serve in Our CDS Community

Dear Colleagues:

As I write this, I am thinking of my maternal grandparents, Hazel & Art Berg, who would have celebrated their 93rd wedding anniversary today (October 16). They imbued my cousins and me with an inspiring legacy of community service. I ask that you consider such inspiration yourself to serve our CDS community.

First & foremost, we need your help to spread the word about the Call for Proposals (and enter into the ring yourself) for "Global Challenges, Local Resilience” -- the CDS 2020 Annual International Conference, July 12-15, 2020 in Fargo, North Dakota, USA – the center of the North American continent!

CDS is requesting proposals for presentations and posters from researchers, practitioners, and others involved in community work.

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 climate change, refugee migration, workforce and trade disruption, and other challenges.

Check out the Call for Proposals and some basic conference info at https://www.comm-dev.org/networking/2020-conference.

CDS Vice Chair KP Williams is heading up the 2020 program committee, alongside local host committee co-chairs Bob Bertsch and Gary Goreham of North Dakota State University, USA, and a stellar local host team from around the region. If you would like to join the program committee, please contact KP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you would like to help on the local host team, contact Bob at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The CDS Board met on October 14 and in addition to discussing the annual conference preparations we also highlighted the need for CDS members to step up to join CDS committees and run for the CDS Board of Directors. We will especially need experienced CDS members as candidates for the Vice Chair of Operations, the first rung in the three-year ladder to becoming Chair of CDS. Board and committee service also provides great opportunities to network with other members and get engaged in the critical behind-the-scenes effort to keep CDS chugging along. Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in running for the CDS Board in 2020.

As for committee engagement, over the next few weeks, we are in the process of writing new job descriptions for both committee members and committee chairs, based on the Bylaws revisions that were approved this past year. Please consider where you might want to help on committees such as: Awards & Recognition, Nominations (for board elections), Stewardship, Membership, and Programs (which includes the annual conference). Contact Justin Dollard, Vice Chair of Operations at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if you are interested in serving on CDS committees and/or have questions.

CDS needs you! Please answer the call to serve our shared community.

Be well -- do good! 

--Jane

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Notes from the CDS Chair

By Jane Leonard

Two months have flown by since I arrived early and walked thru the 2019 annual conference details with Mary Simon Leuci and Janie Dunning (Local Host Committee co-chairs) at the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA.

In two short days, people would be arriving for the 50th anniversary celebration and 51st annual meeting of CDS. I was pretty much in awe during the entire time. We were following in the same footsteps of our founders – who began CDS in 1969 on that same campus.

The quality of the conference, the rich interconnections between people from around the world, and the spirit of celebration was a wonderful way to kick off the next 50 years of CDS. Being with Lee Cary, the first president of CDS, and all the other past-presidents on the Sunday evening opening reception was a highlight for me. Monieca West and I had been co-presidents during the 25th anniversary year of CDS; Monieca was kind enough to come back to organize that special Sunday celebration program.

Many thanks to Sharon Gulick and Tim Collins for their work on the CDS at 50 history book – photos, reflections, and more. The Local Host Team was crazy good! Love you all! They’re already helping the local host team in Fargo, North Dakota, USA, sharing know-how for the 2020 annual conference there (July 12-15, 2020).

I close with thanks to all who attended the conference and those who presented stories, research, and practice know-how. We form a community when we gather each year. We leave inspired to keep helping build community wherever we call home.

Please share your comments, thoughts, and ideas for CDS going forward into the next 50 years – write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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CDS Professional Services Contractor Request for Proposal

CDS Professional Services Contractor Request for Proposal

The CDS Board of Directors seeks qualified and motivated applicants for a professional services contract to manage the general operations of the Community Development Society during the 2019 operations year as CDS undergoes several transitions related to its revised bylaws and updated policies and governance of the organization. The contract professional will have an average hourly commitment of 10 to 15 hours per week; there may be additional hours on average leading up to and during the annual international conference in July. The contract will run for up to six months from the time the contract begins. The contract professional may apply for the Managing Director staff position when it is posted later this year.

The mission of the Community Development Society (CDS) is to strengthen community development practice, policy, learning, and scholarship through connecting, convening and collaborating. CDS provides leadership to professionals and citizens across the spectrum of community development.

Essential Functions of the Professional Services Contractor

The contract professional shall focus on the following essential functions:

  • Provide leadership in developing program, organizational and financial plans with the Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers, and carry out plans and policies authorized by the Board.
  • Maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
  • See that the board is kept fully informed, in a timely and accurate manner, on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it.
  • Attend and participate in all general and executive level board meetings and annual board retreat.
  • Publicize the activities of the organization, its programs, and goals.
  • Be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices.
  • Work with the Stewardship Committee and the Board in preparing a budget; see that the organization operates within budget guidelines.
  • Ensure that adequate funds are available to permit the organization to carry out its work.
  • Process invoices for accounts receivable and accounts payable within a bookkeeping system approved by the treasurer.
  • Submit quarterly reconciliations of finances and endowment funds in coordination with a third party CPA to the Treasurer and Stewardship Committee.
  • Provide administrative and technical support for all volunteer-led fundraising efforts, including giving campaigns and the annual auction.
  • Jointly, with the Chair and Secretary of the Board of Directors, conduct official correspondence of the organization, and jointly, with designated officers, execute legal documents.
  • Attend and provide logistical support to the annual international meeting and conference.
  • Provide technical support for membership management including subscriptions, records, and website access. Produce monthly updates for the Vice Chair for operations and the Membership Committee.

Additional Information

  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s preferred
  • Contract Rate: $20,000 annually
  • Non-benefits eligible
  • Starting Date: June 1, 2019, or earlier
  • The contractor reports to the Board of Directors while working most closely with the Vice Chair of Operations and Treasurer
  • The professional services contractor may be eligible for hire, pending board approval

Applications Instructions

Interested parties are instructed to submit the following documents catered to the essential functions above:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Contact information for three professional references, including names, relationship, email, and phone number

Please submit application documents and any additional inquiries to KP Williams, Vice Chair of Operations at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject CDS Interim Director. Application review will begin immediately and continue until the position has been filled. Applications received on or before 6pm PST May 28, 2019 will receive priority consideration.

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Flashback to 1969

Submitted by Monieca West

1969

Close your eyes and think 1969. Slaughterhouse-Five is published and the Jackson Five debuts.

The National Women’s Hall of Fame opens and Hillary Rodham Clinton graduates from high school. The Cuyahoga River ignites and is the catalyst for the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Chappaquiddick Bridge incident all but extinguishes a presidential possibility. Two men walk on the moon and 400,000 souls stagger through Woodstock. The public is grief-stricken as Hurricane Camille devastates the Gulf Coast and outraged at the government cover-up of the My Lai Massacre.

1969. The year it all began for CDS amid these and other social, political and cultural concerns. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the opening reception on Sunday night is all about our past and will feature the debut of a historical video and book, recognition of various key leadership groups and will culminate with a number of past presidents sharing memories and telling the CDS stories. How did the scholarship fund get started? How did CDS react to the push for certification? When did all those private sector people show up? How has CDS developed international membership? What was it like when there were only print communications? Remember Duane Gibson and his camera? Who crashed the first Soapbox Sermon? And just how much fun was that conference in Australia? All will be made clear at the reception so don’t miss it!

So, come on home for a family reunion on Sunday, July 14. There will be music from the 60s and 70s and, for those of you who are fun-loving and a bit daring, go ahead and pull some vintage looks out of the closet and show us what 1969 was really like!

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"Show Me" Pre-Conference Workshops

Submitted by Jane Leonard

 

Show Me the Pre-Conference Workshops!

They call Missouri the “Show Me State” so to follow our host’s advice, we want to Show You some amazing highlights of the Pre-Conference Workshops on Sunday July 14.

First, a quick reminder that the deadline to register for pre-conference workshops is by 11:59 p.m. (GMT5), June 10, 2019. For details about the conference, venue and to register, go to: https://www.comm-dev.org/networking/2019-conference

  • They will be held Sunday, July 14th at the Bond Life Sciences Center (the conference main venue) or in adjacent classrooms. Register for a workshop when you register for the conference.
  • Pre-Conference Workshops are optional and require an additional fee at registration. Register by 11:59 p.m., June 10, 2019. 
  • Four workshops are half-day long, and two are full day and include lunch.

And now, Show Me the cavalcade of 2019 CDS Pre-Conference Workshops:

Take some deep dives into leadership development, social network analysis, workforce development, arts & culture to increase community capacity, design & community development, and assessing university & community partnerships.

Your Show Me guides are folks with deep experience in their topics and deep excitement that you might join in the Sunday journey with colleagues from near and far.

Taking People With You: A Strategic Communication Approach to Leadership (1-4 p.m, $40)

This interactive workshop draws on David Novak's insight-driven approach to leadership that ultimately led to his rise to Chairman of YUM! Brands. Participants will learn to: identify their big goal; use step-change and a people map to design a plan to achieve it; implement strategy, structure and culture to realize the plan; and follow through to get results. Presented by Jeannette H. Porter, Novak Leadership Institute, University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Using social network analysis to measure social capital(1-4 p.m, $40)

Participants will learn how to use social network analysis (SNA) as a tool for measuring social capital, compare and contrast the methods and practices of two different networks, and discuss how measuring social capital with an SNA might lead to stronger network connections. Presented by Bob Bertsch, North Dakota State University

Workforce Development: How Do We Scale to Meet This Need? (1-4 p.m, $40)

How do you systematically engage in building meaningful interventions in workforce development and challenges faced when addressing the multifaceted workforce issues in the 21st century? This workshop holds the key. Presented by Robert Russell, University of Missouri Extension

Preparing Place: Can Arts and Culture Save Rural America? (1-4 p.m, $40)

Explore the role of arts and culture in the development of institutional and community capacity in rural communities while discussing strategies that demonstrate how the thoughtful inclusion of arts and culture helps bridge existing community gaps. Presented by John Robert 'Bob' Reeder, Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

New Dimensions in Community Development (10 am.-4 p.m. includes lunch, $60)

Community development processes often struggle to give physical form to community goals and projects while intensive charrettes often generate high levels of community involvement and design ideas, but can be fleeting jolts of energy. This full day workshop offers participants a synthesis of theoretical and practical knowledge of participatory community design and shows its value for the field of community development. Presented by Todd Johnson, University of Wisconsin - River Falls (Extension)

Assessing University-Community Partnerships (10 am.-3 p.m. includes working lunch, $60)

Participants will assess the depth to which aspirations for equity, social justice, democratic practice, mutual respect, shared authority, and co-creation are realized in university-community partnerships in this full day workshop. Presented by Margaret Stout, West Virginia University

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Why Mobile Workshops?

Submitted by:
Letitia Johnson
University of Missouri Extension
CDS 50th Anniversary Conference - Local Arrangements Committee

 

I’ve been attending CDS conferences for over 20 years, and have delighted in every single one -- I’ve been enlightened by keynote speakers, inspired by workshop leaders, intrigued by paper presentations, and enjoyed more good food, music and friendship than any person has a right to. But, without a doubt, the event I look forward to the most at any CDS conference is the mobile workshop. From touring the home of MLK in urban Atlanta to learning about wild “green rice” on the Leech Lake Ojibwe reservation in rural Minnesota, I’ve been enriched by every experience.

For the 50th Anniversary Conference, we want you to have a similarly insightful and enjoyable experience. We talked to a number of people about their favorite mobile learning workshop experiences and turned it into a list of criteria for evaluating the many options in mid-Missouri. We understand that some of you are interested in the unusual, like the Missouri Penitentiary, others are looking for responses to emerging community concerns, such as innovations in local food systems. Looking to get your hands “dirty?” Pick up a paintbrush and work on a mural on the community arts MLW. Maybe you’re a history buff who wants to gain a deeper understanding in how one of our nation’s largest rivers has impacted communities and the environment. Or perhaps you’re something of a futurist who wants to explore new ideas for cultivating dynamic entrepreneurial cultures. Whatever your interest, whatever makes your community development heart beat a little faster – this year’s conference will have a mobile learning workshop for you.

The bar is set high, last year I attended the mobile workshop with the storyteller about Detroit’s Black History; it was moving and profound. We learned from that experience, and have incorporated storytellers into some of this year’s workshops. We want every year’s CDS conference to be your best conference experience ever.

Not sure which mobile learning workshop is for you? Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  I can help you find the best fit!

Letitia “Tish” Johnson

 

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Chair's Update - Evaluator's Dilemma

People sometimes think I am wild and crazy. Maybe it's because I love adventure and take opportunities as they arise. Maybe it's because I lived abroad for so many years. Maybe it's because I am a good dancer and like to have fun. What's funny to me about all of these perceptions is that they beguile my typically dogged commitment to process and facts. There have been many times in my personal and professional life over the years where I have found myself saying "...but this may cause problems..." or "...this shows we should change course..." I think it's the evaluator in me, but almost as sure as I am to take on opportunity (like going to Ghana next week!), I also raise questions and concerns where needed to adhere to process, ethics, and facts. 

I've tried my best to uphold those principles in my work for CDS. I truly believe that compassionate and critical dialogue on the activities of our organization are necessary for our continued growth and development. This is one of the reasons the board chose to move to monthly meetings of the full board and ad-hoc meetings of the Executive Committee last fall. These regular meetings encourage exchange of ideas among board members and dissuade the out-of-the-light-of-day decisions that can get an organization into trouble.

I continue to commit to you, the members, that I will work hard to uphold our shared values and to name potential threats to our organization so the board can work to avoid them. Because my leadership here has never been about me, but about you, the member, and our professional home and beloved field of community development. As a leadership volunteer and an independent consultant who self-financed every meeting and conference (except one), including my 6 years of leadership to the organization, you could say that I put my money where my mouth is in terms of commitment - a commitment to our field and our home. For you. For us. So we can stay strong and stay together into our 50th and beyond!

Let me know your thoughts. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Board Update:

The May board meeting has been cancelled because of scheduling conflicts that would result in not having a quorum. 

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CDS 50th SUPER SUNDAY, JULY 14!

Sumbitted by Jane Leonard

Join your fellow members and guests to kickoff CDS 50th anniversary festivities at the opening reception of the 2019 Annual International Conference!

To begin the official CDS 50th anniversary celebration, don’t miss the opening Sunday night reception, July 14, part golden homage to our 1969 creation year and part informal reflection on how far we’ve come (or not!) in 50 years! We’ll honor our past leaders and Founding/Charter members, have an informal dialogue on the importance, whys, and hows of CDS with past-presidents from across the decades, and leave plenty of time and opportunity to connect with new and old friends.

CDS Past-Presidents Monieca West and Jane Leonard (who shared the CDS presidency for the 25th anniversary year—there’s a story for you!) are organizing this fun and engaging program, alongside Past President Sharon Gulick who has been heading up the creation of the 50th anniversary history book on CDS (authored by CDS member Tim Collins) and the 50th anniversary video.

All shall be revealed from 6 to 8 p.m. at the conference venue – Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri campus. Find some bell-bottoms & join the fun! (Levi Strauss added bell-bottoms to their jean lineup on March 11, 1969, just in time for Woodstock – also celebrating 50 years in 2019.)

Find out more about the conference at: https://www.comm-dev.org/networking/2019-conference -- and please forward this info to past members, retirees, etc. There is a special rate in the registration fee info for Sunday night-only guests, to entice our retirees to come celebrate!

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