The CDS Board members enjoyed two productive days in Bloomington, Minnesota for the annual on-site fall board meeting. As is tradition, our meeting was held at the location of our upcoming conference—the 2016 CDS/IACD Joint Conference, which provided us the opportunity to tour the conference venue, discuss details with the hotel management, and meet with the local host committee. The Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Mall of America Hotel is going to be an outstanding location for our upcoming conference, with ample meeting space, excellent food, and comfortable sleeping rooms. The local host committee is very organized and is pulling out all the stops to make our conference experience a memorable one. Several mobile learning workshops are being planned, providing a wide variety of learning experiences. Both the local and the program planning committee are working to ensure that our theme of sustainability is highlighted throughout, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals are a central focus. The Call for Abstracts gives you the opportunity to propose a paper, panel, workshop, or poster around sustaining community change, so please look for the Call announcement via email and/or the CDS website and submit your proposal. Your participation is key to making the conference a valuable experience for you and other attendees.
Thank you to those of you who took the time to submit your evaluation of the 2015 Lexington conference. Your feedback provided some valuable information for us regarding what is working well as well as opportunities for improvement and enhancement. Each year, the program planning committee works diligently to provide the most valuable experience possible based on membership desires, but some suggestions or requests are just not feasible given our budget, impressive attendance numbers, and/or other constraints. However, Chris Marko, VP of Programs is working with the local and program planning committees to ensure we have additional opportunities for networking, adequate time for activities such as the poster sessions, enriching breakouts, a variety of food, among other details. The steady increase in membership and conference attendance over the past few years is due in part to the fact that the CDS conference just keeps getting better every year!
Due to the efforts and generosity of CDS leadership and membership over the past few years, CDS is in sound financial condition, which has facilitated development of the Community Development Strategic Initiatives Fund by the Finance Committee. The Strategic Initiatives Fund will give CDS the financial capacity to engage in new initiatives that will serve to broaden the scope and impact of the Society. During the most recent board meeting, we discussed possible opportunities for the future, and we look forward to sharing those developments with the membership as they evolve.
The Board is continuing to work on the process of streamlining the various committee responsibilities through a concerted effort to document tasks and provide guidance and information to newer committee members, chairs and Board officers. This will most likely take some time, but we are continuing to make impressive progress.
During last year’s fall board meeting, the board participated in a strategic planning process facilitated by Lori Garkovich. The strategic plan outlined several goals critical for the continued growth of the organization, and as community developers, we all recognize the importance of not just letting the strategic plan sit on the shelf. Thus, the Board is asking that all committees reflect upon the goals and provide an update in their committee reports at the conference business meeting regarding progress made towards the goals.