Community Development Society

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Jane's Jottings - Notes from the CDS Board Chair


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

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! 


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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


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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