Community Development Society

News and Information

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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How We’re Reinventing Professional Networking for People who Improve Cities

By: Katie Rispoli Keaotamai, CEO, Ticco

            Our communities are facing tremendous challenges. Drastic changes in population, a lack of affordable housing, homelessness, public health crises, declining investment in infrastructure, and a loss of historic character are just a few. As community development professionals, we aim to enhance the quality of life in our communities through revitalization, services, and community programs.

            I’ve worked alongside professionals in community development for several years—most recently as a result of my collaborations with real estate developers and property owners looking to reinvest in downtown areas. In my experience, professionals in the community development space are both caring and passionate—and I want to further their impact.

            I’m proud to be introducing Ticco, a new online community for early-career professionals who are improving cities across the United States. At Ticco, we understand that in order to collectively prepare our communities for the challenges that lie ahead and address today’s obstacles, collaboration and knowledge-building is key.

            With Ticco we invite early-career professionals in fields like community development to take their networking to the next level. By reviewing applicants and only admitting individuals whose work aims to enhance life in our communities, Ticco is cultivating a network of professionals who share passions and priorities. As a result, Ticco’s network enables the next generation of leaders in community development to easily identify and collaborate with their peers across disciplines in cities nationwide.

            For example, Ticco’s functionality offers the most effective search available for professionals who work with cities and the built environment. With over 20 intersecting professions (design fields, urban planning, and historic preservation for instance) represented, Ticco allows members to search the network, filtering by name, location, profession, specialty, and personal interest. We want our members to build real relationships on Ticco—and not just collect “connections” that are superficial in nature.

            Ticco members get to know each other through Discussions, an area of the platform where our editorial team takes input from members and creates prompts which ignite thoughtful conversation and debate. Through Discussions, participants are able to truly dive into the challenges their communities are facing, and identify peers who share and expand their perspective. In addition to Discussions, Ticco plans to roll out engaging in-person gatherings—like outdoor adventures and urban explorations—for members within the year.

            With rapid technological shifts and other impending challenges, our communities will require great leadership and advocacy to succeed in the decades ahead. At Ticco, we know that it’s critical that we help today’s up-and-coming practitioners develop the skills and relationships they’ll need to lead going forward. We hope you’ll consider becoming a part of this community so we can support you in your professional journey.

Applying to Ticco

            If you have between 2 and 15 years of experience and are working in the United States, we encourage you to apply to Ticco and take advantage of our unique, cross-disciplinary networking opportunities to help form a foundation for your successful career. We’re happy to offer Community Development Society members the opportunity to apply directly by using code “SpringCDS” when prompted in our 15-minute online application through May 15, 2019.

About the Author

Katie Rispoli Keaotamai is the Founder and CEO of Ticco. Katie has spent the last seven years completing work that intersects with construction, historic preservation, urban planning, and placemaking. She has managed large-scale, complex projects and in all of her work has focused on the importance of community participation.

Prior to becoming CEO of Ticco, Katie served as Executive Director of We Are the Next where she provided programs that introduced teens and young adults to cities and the built environment. She holds a BA in Art History from California State University, Long Beach and a Master of Heritage Conservation from the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California.

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Chair's Update - Lions and Lambs

I've been reflecting on the old addage for March, "In like a lion, out like a lamb." March certainly has been a lion for many places around the US this year and I'm sure we're all hoping that the month ends in a more gentle, lamb-like fashion. This is particularly true to ease the burden of our friends and neighbors suffering through extreme temperature swings and flooding this season.

Since I live in Florida, I have the pleasure of a constant stream of northern guests through the month of March. It's wonderful to connect with family and friends and bring them a literal dose of sunshine during the deary late winter months. I'm very fortunate to have so many lifelong friends and close family members that make the trip. These connections, our own social captial, are the building blocks of communities and what we as practitioners of community development seek to build and support in the areas we serve.

Lions and lambs also convey symbolism of the weak and the strong, specifically of the weak becoming strong. For me, this also has relevenace to our shared work as so many of us are working with disempowered people - helping to bring out the voice of the lambs to stand toe to toe with the lions. We are often working to develop a community's social capital to enable their self determination - rise and rise again until lambs become lions. 

Board Activities Update

The board and it's committeess have been working together to continue the necessary transitions required with the now formally adopted bylaws, including shifts in scope and consolidation. Committees are working to further develop policies aligned with the new bylaws and further streamline our organization. 

The board approved the scholarship amounts.

2019 conference planning is underway. Accespted session proposals have been sent out, keynotes have been planned, mobile learning workshop development is moving along, and fundrasising is rocking and rolling!

2020 conference proposal for South Dakota was submitted to the board.

Staff search is underway.  

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President's Update - Love is

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"To bow to the fact of our life's sorrows and betrayals is to accept them and from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable. As we learn to bow, we discover that the heart holds more freedom and compassion than we could imagine"

-Jack Kornfield

Writing this update on Valentine's Day forces a reflection on love and what it means to love. I came to the field of community development out of love. Love for people. A deep rooted desire to ensure all people in a community are loved and valued. This love may have also brought you here.

This desire, however, is not so simple. As we learn in all of our relationships, loving people is complicated. The ones we love can sometimes let us down, betray us, dismiss us, hurt us. Sometimes with intent and sometimes not. The trick for lasting relationships, the trick to community cohesion, the trick to love is to continue to engage with compassion.

Love is the essence of our work. Love pushes us forward. Love builds community.

Board activities update

In an effort to make continued change for the betterment of our organization, your board has been meeting once a month. In January, the board approved sweeping changes to the bylaws, which are included in the February Vanguard for your review. With their publication in the Vanguard, these become our current operating documents. The Policy and Governance Committee, chaired by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., crafted the bylaws and will continue to work on related policy updates. The board also approved the shifting of some board and officer terms to accommodate structural changes in the new bylaws.

There are many changes afoot with the CDS business office. There is currently an RFP for IT services related to our website and our current Managing Director, Justin Fallon-Dollard, will be departing in the coming months to take on a new opportunity. We very much appreciate the work Justin has done for our organization and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. 

The board approved the 2019 budget at the January board meeting. 

 

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President's Update - 50 looks good on you CDS!

President's Update - 50 looks good on you CDS!

Happy new year! Welcome 2019! What a joyous year for us here at CDS as it marks the official beginning of our 50th anniversary year celebrations! We have our homecoming conference, Coming Home to Cultivate the Future, coming up July 14-17 in Columbia, Missouri. What a perfect year to honor someone in our field who has made an outstanding contribution through an award (nominations due February 14)! I can't wait to see you in July and to see what the future has in store for us!

Meanwhile, your board has been busy working together to make sure our organization is ready to face the future. We have committees focused on revamping the bylaws and the structure of our organization, as well as preparing us a budget to ensure proper operations through our 50th year and beyond.

We are focused on growing our membership to reach those that have been with us over the years and the next generation of community developer. Our 50th anniversary and homecoming are the perfect time for outreach and we encourage our members to do the same. Will you commit to reaching out to one old colleague and one new to tell them about our annual conference? Imagine how robust our network would be and how lively our conference would be if each and every one of us did this! I'll be making my calls today!

Finally, thank you for your commitment to our field and to our organization. Without dedicated members like you, we would not have made it 50 years - Thank you!! Give yourself a nice little pat on the back - 50 years looks good on you CDS. 

 

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President's update - Back to the Future

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As we are gearing up for our big 50th Anniversary celebration in Columbia, Missouri next July (be sure to get your proposals in by November 30!), this is an opportune time for reflection on our organization - who we are and where we want to go. Your board has been working on this, in particular revising our bylaws and considering the roles of officers, directors, and staff. Keep an eye out for your opportunity to weigh in on the process! In the meantime, please reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who are leading this process with any of your thoughts and concerns.

In October, the board discussed finances and staff to keep the organization running smoothly. We are very fortunate to have such a long-standing history of investment in our organization and so many members who care about the society. The discussion on these areas is ongoing and we can't wait to share with you how your leadership is taking this organization forward!

November is a month of thanks. I am very thankful for all our members. For the way that you contribute to our society. For the way that you work tirelessly to improve your communities. For the way that you lead our world. Thank you. Thank you for shining a light on community development and for lifting up us all.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit of timeline and explanation of events that happened over the past couple of years. There have been many transitions in our organization as we all work together to carry forward. Because of these changes, there have been many questions about when, why, and how things have happened. In an effort to help communicate to our members around these transitions, I am writing about some of those items here - to the best of my recollection and using our board minutes as a guide. Hopefully this will help - here we go!

  • October 2016 - Conference proposal for El Paso 2018 withdrawn because of difficulty with institutional support
  • December 2016 - Call for proposals for 2018 conference hosts, although there was some interest the call ended with no concrete host proposals
  • December 2016 - AOM submitted contract renewal to the board 15 days ahead of contract expiration with 25% increase in fees
  • April 2016 - I put forth Detroit as a potential host location for 2018 although there was only 1 other active member from Detroit who was able to support the proposal (no institutional support). This was done to avoid losing members by not having a conference because a large proportion of our annual memberships come from new members and renewals associated with the conference.
  • June 2017 - 2016-2017 Board of Directors approves conference in Detroit and signs contract committing the organization to approximately $150,000 in costs to the host hotel
  • June 2017 - AOM and CDS officially part ways after Big Sky conference
  • June - October 2017  - Julie White, formerly of AOM, serves as interim administrator as Vice President of Operations Talmage lead board through development of Managing Director position and staff search
  • October 2017 - Board retreat in Detroit, conference planning on track, board tentatively agrees to re-shape officer roles and committees through revision of POG and bylaws
  • November 2017 - Justin Fallon-Dollard hired as CDS Managing Director
  • November 2017 - President Hains indicates work on bylaws and POG forthcoming to Executive Committee
  • January 2018 - Vice President of Operations Talmage presents summary of proposed bylaws changes to Board of Directors with digital response requested afterwards
  • February 2018 - Proposed bylaws changes were voted on and passed by the board, I expressed interest to properly communicate changes to membership with President Hains and Director Williams agreeing to take responsibility for
  • March 2018 - President Hains and Vice President of Operations Talmage resign
  • April 2018 - Board of Directors agree to revert back to operating under 2004 bylaws because bylaw changes passed in February 2018 had not been published in Vanguard, as required for implementation according to 2004 bylaws
  • April 2018 - Vice President of Programs Cindy Banyai ascends to President as prescribed by 2004 bylaws and confirmed by Board of Directors
  • May 2018 - Jane Leonard appointed by Board of Directors to vacant Vice President of Operations position
  • July 2018 - Conference held at provisional location in Detroit

Although this may not be a comprehensive timeline, I hope that it helps to clarify the timing of events to bring a better understanding of our organization's leadership and management transitions. I am happy to continue discussing these or any other items of concern that our members may have. Please feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call/text (239) 464-6976. I'm listening.

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Meet the new Vanguard Editor - Lisa Gilchrist

While it has been my honor and my pleasure to serve as the Vanguard Editor for the past five years, the time has come to pass the torch to a new bearer. I am happy to announce that through inquiry, proposals, and interviews, the CDS Communications Committee in partnership with the CDS Secretary, Caitlin Bletscher, have reccomended Lisa Gilchrist, Director of Stony Plain Family and Community Support Services, to be the next Vanguard Editor. Lisa has some exciting ideas about how to improve Vanguard to ensure it continues to serve our members as the primary communications piece for our society. She and I have been working together over the past couple of months on this transition and she will take over as solo editor October 2018. Congratulations and welcome Lisa!

More about Lisa

Lisa Gilchrist has been Director of Stony Plain Family and Community Support Services since May 2016. Her team’s community development efforts center on preventing and reducing poverty, ending family violence, supporting positive mental health, and enhancing inclusion and diversity with a focus on volunteers, seniors, and youth. Stony Plain is located in Alberta, Canada just west of the provincial capital of Edmonton. Previously, Lisa spent fourteen years in leadership with the federal government at Service Canada to deliver employment programs for youth, people with disabilities, unemployed workers, and in community engagement with the temporary foreign worker program.
Lisa completed a Bachelor of Arts at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada and a Masters of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania State University. She has been a member of the Community Development Society since 2015.
Lisa has two stepsons in their early twenties who are slowly moving into careers with the military and as a welder/ranch hand. Lisa and her husband John share their rural home with three Labrador Retrievers, three barn cats, and two horses.

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President's Update - Coming together, moving ahead

Our annual time of gathering nears. It is the time that we take to learn, share, and become enriched with like-minded collegaues and friends in community development. We honor the outstanding in our field. We discuss our work and listen to that of others. We also come together to think and consider the future of our field and organization, engaging in the critical dialogue necessary to make each other better. I cannot wait to see you.

We will celebrate during our awards ceremony and honor traditions during our lively auction. We also celebrate our new members and students, as well as our international students and past presidents in a special reception ahead of the conference opening. Things like member and IACD President Paul Lachapelle giving his raffle-won hotel room to a student volunteer, Janna Parke, (who won a random draw among student volunteers) fill us with hopefulness and comradiere as we connect across fields and generations.

Members have been engaged in honest thought and reflection on proposed changes to our bylaws. We will continue this dialogue during our conference, in a special workshop and during out business meeting. I am confident that we will find the best path forward for us through this process. 

We have colleagues and leaders that will be joining us and those that will departing us. There are those that wished they could be with us, but cannot - like our dear departed colleage Karen Tinsley from the University of Georgia who itended to shared with us her work on data and community, but lost her life in a truck-bicycle crash earlier this year. Together we will make memories and share those from years past. 

Renaissance is upon us. Our annual time together of renewal. I cannot wait to see what we will become.  

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President's Update - Detroit here we come!

President's Update - Detroit here we come!

We are rocking and rolling preparing for our annual conference coming up in Detroit July 21-25. I am excited to share with you that our night out event will be held at the Detroit Historical Musem, an amazing venue! We also have secured some wonderful musical acts to demonstrate the arts and local talents in our host city, including the very special Daybreaker Rave and Fitness event featuring the Godmother of House Music, DJ Hotwaxx Stacey Hale. Early bird registration ends June 15, so get those registrations in!

Your leadership has also been working on the elections and planning for the transition of new directors and officers. Be sure to join us at the Business Meeting luncheon on Tuesday, July 24 for their installation.

In order to continue to improve our organization, a committee was formed to review our current bylaws. The group is working on a document to share and crafting interactive discussions at the conference to get your input and feedback and proposed changes. We hope you can get involved!

Thanks again to all our wonderful members for the work you do in our communities! I look forward to seeing you in Detroit!

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Call for Papers for Edited Research Volume - Community Supported Enterprises

By Norm Walzer

Stagnant economies and population declines combined with an aging population including retiring business owners has seriously affected the ability of many rural areas to retain access to vital enterprises such as grocery stores, restaurants, and social services that affect social capital and the quality of life. In response, community leaders have organized groups of residents to pool their funds and invest in businesses they consider adding to essential to quality of life. These enterprises become self-supporting with residents donating time and efforts into related management activities. Community Supported Enterprises (CSEs) have a social purpose and add to social capital but operate with a business model intended to be self-sustaining without continued financial contributions by local investors.

            While some successful CSEs have been documented and studied already (http://cgs.niu.edu/Reports/Emergence-and-Growth-of-Community-Supported-Enterprises.pdf), more information about their motivations, purposes, and keys to success in both rural and urban neighborhoods is needed to systematically analyze their full potential. Especially important is to understand their applicability in other domestic and international locations. Key is to understand types of investors, desired outcomes, organizational structures, and successful management practices under different environments and social systems.

            To obtain a more complete picture of how CSEs developed, operate, and were effective in helping improve the potential of communities, Norman Walzer is organizing an edited research volume on these issues. Contributions should include analyses of important factors, rather than only describe case studies with limited ability to determine ways to generalize or apply successful experiences in other areas. The main topics of interest include (but not limited):

            a. conditions in which CSEs were organized;

            b. organization patterns, e.g. nonprofits, cooperatives, for profits;

            c. groups that have been involved in these enterprises;

            d. state and local assistance or direction for CSE efforts;

            e. reasons for successes and best practices; and

            f. implications for use of CSEs in other places.

            The chapters (not more than 30 double-space pages inclusive) will be refereed prior to acceptance. Authors interested in contributing chapters to this research volume should send an abstract (not more than 500 words) preferably before July 1, 2018 to:

                        Norman Walzer

                        Senior Research Scholar

                        NIU Center for Governmental Studies

                        148 N. Third Street

                        DeKalb, IL 60115

                        815-753-0933

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

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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. 

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Community Development Data Viz - October 2017

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Community in Disaster

Disasters have a unique way of bringing people together. I first got to experience this as a graduate student studying the concept of "gotong royong" in Indonesia. This "spirit of community helping" was in full swing in the area I was researching with, the villages in and around Jogykarta, while they were rebuiling after an earthquake that flattened homes and killed over 10,000 people in 2006. Hurricane Irma was not nearly as devastating, but it was the first time that I was the one responsible for taking care of my family and home in the face of disaster.

I ran. I ran because I could. I was lucky. I have a wonderful network of friends across the country that helped me and my family get out of the narrow galley of Florida and into safety without being stranded on the side of a highway without a place to stay or gas to get there. I was also able to help my friend and her family, which helped eased my concience for running when I knew others could not. This is not quite community, but priviliege and social capital in action to say the least.

We returned to a minimally damaged home and a city that looked like all the trees exploded. We were all lucky in Southwest Florida that the eye came in and the strength was weakened when it got to us. Storm surge was small and flooding was minimal in most areas, although places that were hard hit in heavy rains a few weeks earlier were again affected - mostly modestly priced areas that happen to be in flood plains (or purposfully, depending on how much control you think engineers have of watershed and drainage control in high-end gated golf communities). 

Then we took care of our house. Folks cleaned out the rotting food from the refrigerators (there had not been power for several days and hundreds of thousands across the state would go without for more than a week). We piled branches and debris in front of our house waiting for cleaning crews to take it away (and weigh it for FEMA). We sweltered in our hot homes, relieved the storm had passed, but worried about what to do next. 

During the aftermath, a beautiful thing happened - community came. Neighbors were outside their homes lending assistance in clearing trees and debris, offering cold drinks if they still had power, and equipment if they had it. Kids were off school (many buildings were damaged, many were without power, and others still had displaced people sheltering there) and many businesses were closed, so people pitched in to help. They served food at shelters or public places. They helped nonprofits clean up their grounds and make repairs. They searched by boat for people and animals stranded in high flood waters. When night came, neighbors gathered together to chat, sing, drink beer, and scheme on how to get power from the one working street lamp. 

I'm eternally grateful that Irma did not physically destroy my community beyond repair. I am also grateful to have witnessed this very special sense of community develop from this event. I'm hoping it's something we can continue to build. 

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Community Development Data Viz - August 2017

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Community Development Data Viz - April 2017

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Community Development Data Viz - March2017

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Community Development Data Viz - January 2017

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Community Development Data Viz November 2016

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Community Development Data Viz October 2016

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Community Development Data Viz September 2016

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