Community Development Society

News and Information

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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Social innovation - engaging people who are marginalized and those with privilege

Hi folks,

Warm greetings from Nova Scotia.

I’m doing some work with a social innovation initiative.  As part of the work, organizers are bringing residents in a neighbourhood together to form a roundtable, and also ‘alignment’ tables to work on addressing community priorities. Poverty and poverty-related issues and racism are primary concerns in this neighbourhood.  Residents are interested and engaged and are keen to be at the tables.  Most who have come forward have direct or first-voice experience with the relevant issues.  A small number of residents who have come forward are much more privileged, and do not have a personal experience of the big issues faced by most residents, and genuinely want to address the issues and improve the lives of all residents.  

I am looking for some case studies or articles or examples of effectively engaging the more privileged residents in addressing the issues faced directly by folks with less privilege.  Does anyone have any suggestions or tools re: models of ally-ship or solidarity or support?  Or …? I’d appreciate any suggestions.

Many thanks,


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Community Complications

By: Dan Kahl, Virginia Stanard, Kris Hains

In October, a team of community development practitioners discussed the vexing question, What are the building blocks of community? From professional community developers the answers came quickly. Community is a shared identity. Community is shared place, interests, or practice. Community can be shared religion, culture, values, or belief systems. Overall, the building blocks of community are the connections that unify or bind a group of people together, establishing collective agency.

As a community developer, our role is to help a group of people identify those common bonds and to build relationships of trust from which the group can act.

The role of the community developer is to be purposeful, assess what the group values, and to help the group identify and communicate these shared values. The community developer helps groups build on their strengths while mitigating their weaknesses.

This would have been a good place to stop the conversation. At this point, I think we all felt pretty good about our role and the importance of our work. In isolation, and as a process, community development processes seemed clear. But the complications of community development crept in. If community development is such straightforward work, why is it so difficult to practice, teach, and even describe? If you are invited to a community to do business development, does the establishment of shared values even enter the conversation? What happens when you are simultaneously involved with multiple communities and they compete for your time, attention, or even conflict in their values? It was mentioned that rarely are we asked to come do community development but rather to facilitate a process and connect people. In fact, in some places around the world, the term development has negative connotations. 

This is where we turn to you. As community developers, what are you learning that you can share? What does community mean to you? Join the conversation as we identify and test better ways to strengthen community:


The CDS Fellows program is conducted by Dan Kahl and Kris Hains through the Community Innovation Lab at the University of Kentucky.

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Community Development Data Viz - October 2017

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Community Development Society - Leadership Transitions and Job Announcement

As many of you know, this past June our society had several leadership and leadership support transitions. We inducted a new officer team, new journal editors and several new board members. We also completed our contract with our business office of several years. While the synergy of the new team is extremely exciting, there have been several transitional and communicative hurdles to work through. I am pleased to say that our leadership team has navigated these hurdles with grace and elegance.

In the wake of the business office transition, we evaluated the current and future organizational support needs. This in-depth and insightful process allowed us to re-evaluate membership needs as well as officer and board member roles and responsibilities. This process culminated into a Managing Director position for the Community Development Society. This position will greatly enhance the society’s effectiveness and day to day operations. We highly encourage you to forward the position announcement to those who may be interested. We would like to hire someone as soon as November 1, 2017. Interested parties can contact V.P. Operations Dr. Craig Talmage at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Exciting things are happening and I am looking forward to working with our officers and board members as we meet for our annual board retreat in Detroit, MI. where we will be engaging in wonderful discussion and planning for our society as well as scoping out the location for our 2018 CDS Conference.


Bryan Hains

President, Community Development Society

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CDS Seeks New Managing Director (Part-Time, Paid Staff Position)

Community Development Society seeks qualified applicants to serve as Managing Director of our society. This is a part-time, paid position. Please forward on to interested parties. Information about the position and how to apply are available in the linked job description. Review of applications will start Friday, October 20th until the position is filled.

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We Need Your Help: Nominations and Leadership Committee

volunteer article header

Are you looking for an opportunity to shape the future of CDS? The Nominations and Leadership Committee is seeking new membership ahead of the upcoming elections for the Society. The current priorities of the committee are as follows:

  1. Recruitment of committee members – adding committee members will be necessary for outreach to potential nominees in the future and building a pipeline of interested members for leadership positions. The ideal composition of the committee will include students, scholars, and practitioners.

  2. Update the POG to reflect procedural changes – in practice, the election process has strayed from what is prescribed in the Society's Policies and Operational Guidelines. Once additional committee members are on board, the committee will review current guidance relevant to the nomination and election of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee Members. Any proposed changes will be submitted to the Executive Committee and full board for final recommendations and eventual approval.

  3. Mentorship – the committee will work with other Directors, Executive Committee members, and related committees to develop plans for critical mentorship opportunities in the Society. Establishing a more formal mentorship program could prove helpful to cultivate the future leaders of the Society and ideally make the slate of future candidates more robust.

If you are interested in serving on the Nominations and Leadership committee, and/or if you have additional questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. directly. Thanks for your consideration of helping with this important work!

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