Community Development Society

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President's Update - Seasons of change

President's Update - Seasons of change

Hello Community Developpers! It's fall in North America and there seems to be an eagerness to push forward toward the hardiness of fall, shedding the carefree days of summer. Your board was fortunate enough to have some amazing fall weather at our annual retreat at the site of our 50th Annual International Conference at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The local host committee, represented by Mary Leuci and Anita Dunning, were fabulous hosts, even coordinating a potluck with local CDS members and friends - what a treat! We thank them for their hospitality and are very excited about our 2019 conference!

Program Chair, our Vice President of Programs, Jane Leonard, also spent time with the local host committee preparing for the conference. Thank you for your work ad leadership on this Jane! She noted that the proposal process is under preparation and will launch soon - stay tuned for that! 

Otherwise, the board hunkered down for a workshop that focused mostly on restructuring the roles and responsibilities of the officers  and committees and their conveyance with our recently hired staff. The board also agreed upon its regular meeting schedule - every third Friday of the month at 6:00pm eastern, starting on October 19. Agenda items, motions, proposals, and reports are due to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the first Friday of the month to be included in the meeting.

The board also mapped out priority areas and topics related to policy and governance for the meetings. Priority areas for October include staff contracts, the Taylor and Francis contract, and freeing up operational funding for CDS operations. November's focus areas are the FY2019 budget and voting on bylaw changes resulting from the board retreat workshop. 

The board also voted to formally approve Lisa Gilchrist as the Vanguard Editor and Kurt Mantonya to the board of directors to fill one of the two vacant seats. Lisa will also serve on the board of directors in an ex-officio capacity as outlined by our Policies and Operations Guidelines (POG). Welcome!

There remains one additional vacant seat on the CDS board of directors. At the retreat, the board voted to leave the remaining seat open until the elections in spring 2019.

Additionally, the board voted on the creation of ad hoc committees to make reccommendations to the board. The Policy Governance Committee is chaired by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Staff Search Committee is chaired by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please feel free to reach out to the committee chairs, if you wish to be involved.  As noted earlier, both of these topics are the focus of upcoming board meetings. In particular, the board directed the Policy and Governance Committee to update the bylaws, as per the discussion at the board meeting on Saturday, October 6, with the intention of voting on them in November and begin operating under them as of December after their full publication in the Vanguard. 

Thank you to the board for their focused work during the retreat!

As always, please feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.if you have any question or concerns. I'm listening.


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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 - Flying the plane together

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I read recently that flight instructors tell student pilots to “just fly the plane” when problems arise in the sky. They do this to remind the pilot to not become so distracted by problems that they crash the plane. I’m writing this President’s Update as your new pilot working to ensure our CDS plane does not crash. Although we have been through some turbulence, we are back to flying this plane together – our conference is on track, our leadership is strengthening, and our management is streamlining. Your Directors and Officers have re-committed themselves to working for the members, actively designing more and better processes for engagement. Here we go together!

We have launched the registration for our 49th annual international conference in Detroit (#CommDev18) with the help and support of our Conference Planning Committee, Local Host Committee, and dedicated staff and vendors. The conference includes an engaging line up of keynote speakers highlighting community development in Detroit, mobile learning workshops that will take us to see activities around the city, and an array of interactive and informative presentations. Details are being finalized, so keep an eye out for updates!

Recent leadership resignations left some temporary gaps. Following our current guiding documents, the bylaws enacted in 2004, and confirmed by our committees and board, I assumed to the presidency and will continue through my elected term ending July 2019. It is my honor to continue to serve CDS. I promise to bring to my presidency the same effort and commitment to our organization that has guided me thus far. I will work to improve our governance, organization development, and meaningful member engagement. I strive to listen to our members and work in the interest of our organization. Please feel free to reach out to me directly (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (239) 4654-6976) if you have any thoughts or concerns or see a role you can play to help us achieve these goals.

The Conference Planning Committee, with the support of the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, and the past presidents, is taking on the responsibility of stewarding our 2018 conference to success in lieu of appointing a Vice President of Programs. I will also continue to serve as conference chair to coordinate these collaborative efforts.

The Board has appointed Jane Leonard to serve as Vice President of Operations. She has accepted the appointment and is currently working with the Executive Committee and Board to ensure we have a conference location for 2020. She brings not only her professional experience as a “prac-ademic” to the role, but the experience of having been part of the CDS leadership in the past. She will no doubt add a bridging dimension to discussions on the advancement of our organization. I really appreciate Jane’s willingness to step up for our organization in a time of need.

Elections for new CDS leadership are coming up shortly. Please be on the lookout for the email containing your ballot information and vote for the candidates that you know can help lead our organization though our 50th year and beyond!

The Board has also been exploring ways to update our guiding documents, including our bylaws and our Policies and Operations Guidelines (POG). Although some work has been done in this respect, the Board wanted to ensure that proper member engagement was part of this updating process, so a committee has been formed to design a process around updating our organizing documents. This will include interactive sessions to gather member input during the 2018 conference, a clear transition plan for any structural changes, and transparency and communication in relation to proposed changes. We look forward to including you in the process of updating and improving the functioning of our organization.

I am appreciative of the work of our new Managing Director, Justin Fallon-Dollard. He jumped right in supporting the conference proposal submissions, registration, and logistics, as well as processing memberships, working with our finances, and looking for ways to streamline and improve our administrative processes. Management transitions are not a simple undertaking and I want to acknowledge the commitment Justin has made to support CDS through all our recent transitions. The Executive Committee and the Board will continue to work with Justin to ensure that all the operations of our organization are running smoothly and improving moving forward.

This has been a challenging time for CDS and for me personally. I look at what has happened recently, and I can hardly believe what we have been through. I do know we learn from mistakes and we become stronger through challenge. The committed remain to drive us forward together. I am proud to be a part of CDS, where we have been and where we are going. It is an honor to serve our members and our field. Although I can’t promise to never make mistakes, I can promise to always work for the best interest of our organization and its members. This is as true today as it’s always been. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve. Let me know how I can better serve – I’m listening.

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President's Update - We Need YOU!

President's Update - We Need YOU!

By Dave. Lamie

Your Board of Directors just invested a couple of days in Lexington, Kentucky, carrying out the business of the organization and in a strategic planning activity designed to help us focus on priorities for the coming year and beyond. As we further refine our thinking we fully intend to engage the committees and broader membership in this process. I was very encouraged by how well we all worked together and how passionate each and every member is about the our shared vision and future success of YOUR organization. Stay tuned for more details and then join with us to help make CDS the global lifelong learning partner for CD professionals.

We heard from the Lexington-based Local Host Committee about their plans for the 2015 conference. I will leave those details to the Program Committee and or local hosts to provide. But, I have confidence in saying that "You will not want to miss this one!"

Now is the time to consider how you want to be involved in CDS. Do you want to work with a committee? Do you want to present at conference? Do you want to write an article? Do you want to serve as a reviewer? How about serving as a journal editor!? Do you want to run for office? Do you want to make a financial gift? Or, do you want to participate in some other way? Just let us know and we will help you.

Remember that CDS is a community unto itself and should serve as a bright example of how we hope the communities we serve will function. We will never be perfect in this regard  And one person's perfection is another's hell, but we should always be seeking to improve, to learn from our mistakes, to be inclusive of all voices, and to celebrate our achievements. We cannot pretend to be such an example unless and until we see our membership engaged at many levels, motivated not by guilt or shame, but by a true desire to participate in something bigger than self, something that reciprocates by providing the nourishment necessary to sustain you in your chosen profession of community development.

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President's Update: Reminder to Vote and Other CDS Related Information

President's Update: Reminder to Vote and Other CDS Related Information

By Bo Beaulieu

Let me begin this month’s column by urging our members to complete their online ballot for this year’s slate of officers and board members.  The deadline is May 1st. You will need your unique log-in information that was provided in the email sent to you by CDS Secretary Abbie Gaffey on February 17, 2014.  Please cast your vote today so your voice can be heard.

Another item I would like to bring to your attention is the request by the Community Change Resource Bank for your help in identifying and submitting key resources that can further enhance the value of this web-based site. Over the next few weeks, graduate students from South Dakota State University will be working with the Community Change Resource Bank organizing team to collect as many sources of data as possible in hopes that the online clearinghouse of community change practices, research, and resources will be ready for unveiling at the CDS conference in Dubuque, IA this coming July. 

The project, launched by members of the Community Change Network, has tapped the expertise and active involvement of a number of CDS members.  What I am pleased to note is that the countless hours of work they have devoted to this effort has resulted in the creation of an online network called RuralXChange.

I want to express my thanks to many of our key CDS leaders who have dedicated their time and expertise to the development of “The Resource Bank,” including past presidents Mary Emery, Connie Loden and Jane Leonard, CDS member Milan Wall, as well as Karen Fasimpaur who is guiding the creation of the RuralXChange and Community Change Resource Bank.  

I hope you will take the time to submit your ideas and relevant resource links here. If you have questions, please send an email to Jane Leonard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The 2014 annual meeting in Dubuque is fast approaching.  Our local host committee is putting together some exciting mobile learning workshops. Moreover, the program committee has communicated with all who have submitted proposals. If your proposal has been approved for the upcoming meeting, please make sure Dave Lamie knows of your plans to take part in the annual meeting. He’ll need this information in order to finalize the conference program. 


Finally, the CDS Business Office should be releasing the online registration system in the next week or two. So, keep an eye on your email for information on how to register for the 2014 annual conference.  Take care




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President's Update: Looking forward in community development

President's Update: Looking forward in community development

By Bo Beaulieu

I just want to devote my column this month to share with you some brief highlights. First, the extended deadline date for submission of abstracts for the 2014 CDS annual meeting in Dubuque is quickly approaching. Please take a few minutes to submit your innovative ideas for presentations, posters sessions, panel discussions or workshops here.

Second, our contract with AOM, the association handling the business affairs of the CDS, has been expired for nearly two years and as such, we were operating on the basis of “good will” between the CDS and AOM.  I am pleased to inform you with the full consent of the CDS board, a one-year contract for 2014 with AOM has now been signed and is in place.  This provides both entities a legal contract in which we can carry out the business-related activities of the Society.

Third, a team of board members conducted a site visit to Lexington, KY last week for the purpose of exploring possible hotel venues for our 2015 annual meeting.  I was honestly blown away by the exciting things going on in Lexington and the mix of activities that await our conference participants.  The local host committee, constituted of colleagues from the University of Kentucky and other partner organizations and institutions located in or near the state of KY , are already doing some superb work in anticipation of the 2015 meeting.  I promise you that the Lexington, KY meeting is going to be a “must attend” conference for our CDS members and guests.

Finally, I have been hearing through the grapevine about the expanded investments being made by our higher education institutions in the community, economic, and regional development arena.  The number of new positions that have been announced or that are slated to be announced in the near future is exhilarating.  Simply put, the value and importance of what we do as a profession and discipline is gaining traction in several universities and colleges.  If you happen to be at a university, college, government agency, nonprofit organization, or other association that has hired new people engaged in community/economic development-related work, please urge them to become a member of the CDS.  It’s a great way to get them connected to a team of colleagues across the world that is doing innovative research, application, and technical assistance work that’s  resulting in positive improvements in the lives of people, communities and regions.

I wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day and look forward to sharing more exciting news with you in my March column.  Take care!!


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President's Update: Honoring and Engaging Our Past Presidents

By Bo Beaulieu

It is hard to believe that our annual meeting is only six months away.  If you’ve not done so yet, please take time to submit a proposal to be an active part of the 2014 meeting since the deadline date is quickly approaching.   I can tell you that the program planning committee has confirmed some exciting speakers to be part of our meeting, so I hope you will opt to attend and be a formal part of our 2014 conference.

I am pleased to inform you that we have established a CDS Past Presidents Committee and several previous presidents of our Society have agreed to be part of this new committee.  In a recent letter to the committee members, I outlined some of the important input and guidance that I am hoping the group will provide to both the Board and me.  This includes taking part in one or more panel sessions at the 2014 meeting, thus allowing some of our younger members to interact with some of the pillars of Society.  Moreover, past presidents will be asked to share their insights on how we can continue to grow our endowment and how they may wish to contribute to a special issue of the Community Development journal.  Other areas in which they would like to assist will be discussed as well.

Furthermore, in partnership with the 2014 program planning committee, we will be inviting our living past presidents to take part in this year’s meeting. We will honor these individuals as part of the opening reception.   It should be a special event and I can’t wait to say “thank you” to these individuals on behalf of the CDS. 

Let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to hearing from you.  Please feel free to email be at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Take care!

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President's Update - Dubuque: A True Renaissance City

President's Update - Dubuque: A True Renaissance City

By Bo Beaulieu

I had the opportunity to spend two days with the CDS Board Members in Dubuque, Iowa as part of our fall face-to-face meeting over the past weekend.  While we transacted a good share of business, we also took time to visit the hotel and conference facilities where our 2014 CDS Annual Meeting will take place.  I can tell you without hesitation that the hotel accommodations are excellent and the conference meeting facilities will blow you away. 

I am equally impressed by the tremendous progress the local arrangements committee has made in ensuring that your time in Dubuque will be well spent.  The mobile learning workshops being planned will truly showcase the hard work that local leaders, citizens, businesses, and organizations have undertaken to turn Dubuque from a city in decline to one that is a thriving, vibrant example.  You will have the opportunity to experience the richness of what this renaissance city has to offer to its visitors.

The program committee has just released the call for proposals for the 2014 meeting. Please plan to take an active part in the annual meeting.  The call has a variety of ways in which you can contribute to our conference.  Like last year, the poster session will be juried, a step the CDS has taken to make this a valuable and recognized component of our meeting.  I believe you will be pleased and impressed by the keynote speakers being lined for our annual conference.  All in all, the 2014 CDS meeting is shaping up to be another superb event for our members and guests. 

Let me close by stating that I am honored to be working with such an outstanding Board of Directors.  We made some important decisions and plans during our most recent Board meeting.  I will be highlighting some of these in the next month or so, once we’ve completed the fine tuning of the information associated with these actions items.

While it is hard to believe we are in the month of November, so let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  Take care! 


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President's Update - Hopes for Congressional Lemonade

President's Update - Hopes for Congressional Lemonade

I write this note at a time when our country is facing some serious challenges.  As a result of ideological differences in Congress most federal agencies are closed and the debate about the raising of our national debt continues strong.  While I do not intend to enter into the political fray over the 2014 federal budget or the debt ceiling, I do believe what we represent in CDS is the antithesis of what we see happening in Washington, DC.   Certainly, many of us have worked in communities where deep-seeded differences among local factions have paralyzed the capacity of communities to act on key priorities.  But our training and experiences have provided us with skills and processes to help local people find common ground – to realize the great heights that communities can achieve when people and groups decide to work together to advance the long-term well-being of their communities.   I often think of the work that Ron Hustedde and his colleagues pursued several years ago titled “Turning Lemons into Lemonade” that was intended to help mediate community conflicts.   Let’s hope Congress soon will begin to produce lemonade!

On a less serious note, I would like to let you know that under the leadership of Tony Gauvin and his committee, we are finalizing the contract with the firm that will be revising our CDS website.  I want to thank Tony and his CDS committee members for the many hours they spent securing and reviewing applications and for finalizing the contract with the firm that was chosen. You will see the fruits of their labor in the next few months as major improvements in the CDS website are realized. 

Finally, the “Save the Date” information regarding the 2014 CDS annual conference is now posted on the CDS website.  Please make plans to join us on July 20-23 in Dubuque, IA to take part in an exciting program.  Keep an eye on the website since the “call for proposals” for participation in the meeting is slated to be released soon.  Please let me know if you have anything you would like to have the CDS Board address at its upcoming fall face-to-face meeting scheduled for November 8-9.  My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Thanks!!



Bo Beaulieu

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President's Update - Reducing Income Inequality: The Important Work of CDS Professionals

President's Update - Reducing Income Inequality: The Important Work of CDS Professionals

I was struck by a study that was released just a few days ago that noted the wealth gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent is now the highest it has been in several decades.  The gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has been on an upward trajectory for some time, so the most recent study adds more fuel to the perplexing problem that many communities in the U.S. are attempting to tackle today – be they located in urban, suburban or rural settings.  How can we place the socioeconomic well-being of people in communities on an upward track?  

No question about it, closing the gap in income inequality will require a long-term sustained effort.  However, it occurs to me that our CDS professionals are one of the best resources available to guide community activities and investments that seek to advance the well-being of all residents.  We do so, in part, by introducing and supporting economic development efforts that bring value and benefit to the entire community.  Moreover, we work to ensure that the voices of all people are honored when decisions about jobs and economic development strategies are decided.  No doubt about it, CDS members – researchers, Extension educators, practitioners, or policy analysts – are the right people to have at the table when it comes to pursuing evidenced-based approaches that serve as a roadmap on how to create wealth opportunities for the full array of people and communities in America. 

My hope is that some of these innovative, creative strategies will be showcased at our 2014 CDS annual meeting.  If you are a CDS member who has been engaged in efforts to reduce income inequality, please share your efforts with us.  Use the CDS blog to inform us of the good work you are doing.  In addition, plan to showcase your work at our annual meeting next July.  Take care!

Bo Beaulieu


Edited by Cindy Banyai





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President's Update - Build on the Momentum

President's Update - Build on the Momentum

It was a genuine pleasure to witness the energy and enthusiasm of those taking part in the CDS annual meeting in Charleston, SC just a few weeks ago.  The number of registrants was exceptional and the large array of quality presentations was nothing short of impressive.  Everything seemed to work so well during the course of the week – thanks to the hard work of so many people. 

The poster session attracted a record number of entries.  Our three keynote speakers, Erik Pages, Ed Feser and Bernie Mazyck, offered unique and valuable insights on our conference theme, "Regional Innovation through Regional Collaboration."  The mobile workshops, the awards banquet, silent auction/endowment fundraising, registration process, hotel accommodations, food, and the Greater Charleston community were highlights of the conference that I will remember for years to come.   I must tell you that I left Charleston with a genuine feeling that CDS is on solid footing and that the opportunity to elevate CDS to new heights is within reach.  We can build on the momentum.  We need YOU to be an active part of our professional organization.    

As your new CDS president, I am honored to be working with a talented team of officers, Board/committee representatives and members like who are committed to expanding the visibility, effectiveness and impact of the CDS.  In the coming months, I hope you will see evidence of our commitment to improve the value of the CDS to you.  I welcome your thoughts regarding the important work we have ahead of us in the coming year and the role you would like to play keeping the momentum going.  Please send your thoughts to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Take care!!

Bo Beaulieu


Edited by Cindy Banyai

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