Katie Ellis

Each year we invite you to reflect on the outstanding accomplishments made in the field of community development as we issue the call for award nominations.  The Society may present up to nine awards annualy that recognize long-standing service to the organization, outstanding and innovative research, teaching and programs, and the students, new professionals, and friends that help ensure our pracitce endures.  

The full call for award nominations and nomination form is available here.  Nominations are due by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 15, 2015.  Award recepients will be honored formally during the annual Awards and Recognition Banquet that will take place during the Annual International Conference that will be held on July 19-22, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky.  

Summaries of the awards presented by the Society are listed below. Please consider submitting a nomination to recognize the oustanding accomplishments of your colleagues and friends.

Duane L. Gibson Distinguished Service Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of superior and long-standing service to the field of community development, and, in particular, work for the advancement of the Society.  Current officers and Board members are not eligible for this award.

Ted K. Bradshaw Outstanding Research Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of a significant stream of superior research which exemplifies and positively impacts community development practice and represents a lasting contribution to the field. The award will recognize research which reflects the Principles of Good Practice throughout the research process. Only one Outstanding Research Award may be bestowed by the Society each year.

Community Development Achievement Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution to community development.  The person may be recognized for teaching, research, programming, administration or any combination of these roles.

Outstanding Program Award 

Presented to a CDS member or a group in recognition of completion of superior programming that exemplifies and positively influences community development practice.  The award will recognize a program that reflects the Principles of Good Practice throughout the implementation process.

Innovative Program Award

Presented to a CDS member or a group in recognition of a superior innovative program using the principles of good practice as adopted by the Society.

Donald W. Littrell New Professional Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of a superior contribution to the field of community development and the Society.

Current Research Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of a current research project(s) or product that represents an important contribution to the field of community development.

Student Recognition Award

Presented to a CDS member who is either an undergraduate or graduate student, in recognition of his or her contribution to community development through a paper, an article, a field project or internship, or other applied research.

Friend of Community Development Award

Presented to a person who is not a CDS member, but who has made a significant contribution to the field of community development.  This contribution could have been accomplished through his or her role as author, educator, administrator (public or private sector), community organizer, or elected or appointed official.

Each year we pause collectively as a Society to reflect on and celebrate the outstanding achievements of our members and friends. This year we had the honor and privilege of presenting six awards recognizing the contributions of six individuals and programs that have positively impacted the field and reflect the Society's Principles of Good Practice. Award recipients were nominated by their peers and selected by the CDS Awards and Recognition Committee. Awards presented by the Society this year include:

Community Development Achievement Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution to community development. The person may be recognized for teaching, research, programming, administration or any combination of these roles.

Richard Knopf
School of Community Resource and Development
Arizona State University

Richard Knopf has dedicated his career to community development instruction and practice. Peers at Arizona State University recognize him for his ability to bridge research and teaching among various departments and school. Richard has inspired, challenged, and equipped multiple cohorts of graduate students to enter the field of community development. Richard's ability to bridge gaps and inspire leaders does not end in academia. He serves as the advisor to critical cross sector projects as the director of ASU's Partnership for Community Development. Richard's commitment to community development is evident in both his professional and personal life; he is generous with his time and exemplifies the principles of good practice.

"As a doctoral candidate in the School of Community Resources and Development and his mentee, I have had the chance to work closely with Dr. Knopf since August 2010. He has greatly inspired my own work in the field of community development and has been a role model of active citizenship for me as well as of my colleagues at ASU." -

"I believe that Dr. Knopf truly exemplifies what it means to be a community developer. He is a renowned community leader, who works selflessly to better the life of communities in the Phoenix Metropolitan area." -

"His devotion to community development is clear in his teaching and mentoring activities as well. He supervises numerous doctoral students in community development studies, and funds them to attend the annual CDS conference! Rick is introducing a new generation of scholars to CDS and the importance of community development research and practice for both urban and rural settings. He is without doubt, one of the best colleagues I've had in many years in this profession – he is generous of his time and exemplifies the principles of good practice, giving and helping others." – Rhonda Phillips, Purdue University

Current Research Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of a current research project(s) or product that represents an important contribution to the field of community development.

Maria Martinez-Cosio and Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell
Urban Studies and Planning Program
UC San Diego

For the past 15 years Maria Martinez-Cosio and Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell have researched the relationship between philanthropy and comprehensive community development. This research provides the first comprehensive analysis of the increasing prominence and impact of place-based philanthropy's role in supporting comprehensive community development in low-income, underserved, urban neighborhoods. Their findings were published in their co-authored book, Catalysts for Change: Twenty-first Century Philanthropy and Community Development, published by Routledge in 2013 as part of CDS's book series, Community Development and Research Practice, edited by Dr. Rhonda Phillips.

"Mirle and Maria's research provides beneficial findings for community development practice. Because private foundations and philanthropic community based initiatives can aid the public sector, these approaches to connect community development and philanthropy can bridge the gap in communities." – Rhonda Phillips, Purdue University

Donald W. Littrell New Professional Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of a superior contribution to the field of community development and the Society.

Kurt Mantonya
Senior Associate
Heartland Center for Leadership Development

Kurt Mantonya has served as a senior associate and community development specialist with the Heartland Center for Leadership Development. He is a creative visionary who integrates community development principles into his work. Kurt created a community vitality planning framework that used Appreciative Inquiry as a key to energizing community leaders to engage in visioning and action planning for community improvement. Kurt has also made significant contributions to the Society, serving as co-chair of the Communications committee and organizing the CDS webinar series.

"While he has worked less than 10 years in the field of community development, Kurt has proven a quick learner, a creative contributor to a variety of new programs and initiatives and a skilled practitioner with a strong commitment to the core values of the Community Development Society." – Milan Wall, Heartland Center for Leadership Development

"I know well the impact he has had on countless community projects; his approach is to actively promote participation by enabling all community members to meaningfully influence the decisions that affect their lives; to engage community members in learning about and understanding community issues; to incorporate diverse interests and cultures of the community in a process; and to enhance the leadership capacity of community members, leaders, and groups within the community." - Paul Lachappelle, Montana State University

Friend of Community Development Award

The Friend of Community Development Award is presented to a person who is not a CDS member, but who has made a significant contribution to the field of community development. This contribution could have been accomplished through his or her role as author, educator, administrator (public or private sector), community organizer, or elected or appointed official.

Tami Fischer
Executive Director
Metro West Housing Solutions

Tami Fischer has provided affordable housing and human services to low-income citizens for over 20 years. She has overseen the creation and preservation of more than 1,000 low- and moderate-income apartments along existing and emerging multi-modal transit corridors in the greater Denver area. Projects undertaken by Metro West Housing Solutions have been truly pioneering under Tami's leadership. Her work exemplifies her belief that a great community offers a range of housing types and costs to meet the needs of everyone.

"Tami links community development to affordable and mixed-income housing by creating safe, energy-efficient and quality housing. She has demonstrated that not only is housing a critical tool in community development, but also how important affordable housing is within the field. A great community offers a range of housing types and costs to meet the needs of everyone, who all play a role in making a great community."

"Under Tami's leadership, Metro West has become a national leader in affordable housing, due to her commitment to sustainability in design, providing residents with inspiring space, both indoors and outdoors, and engaging residents in a meaningful way when decisions are made that affect their living space and residential community." – Vickie Berkley, Colorado Center for Community Development

Innovative Program Award

Presented to a CDS member or a group in recognition of a superior innovative program using the principles of good practice as adopted by the Society.

Marketing Hometown America
University of Nebraska Extension
North Dakota State University Extension
South Dakota State University Extension

The Marketing Hometown America Program, a USDA NIFA funded research project, recognizes the uniqueness of small towns in Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota by facilitating local citizens in creating a plan that is designed to attract newcomers. The program was modeled on Everyday Democracy's Study Circle and explores the reasons why people move to rural areas and encourages citizens to identify and highlight unique assets present in their communities through the development of a marketing plan. It engages citizens in a community-wide discussion that marshals commitment and energy.

"Marketing Hometown America not only engages people in dialogue around community-wide issues but also provides a process which leads to successful action. This process mobilizes social capital that helps people make their communities a better place in which to live, work, and play." – Karla Trautman, SDSU Extension

"It empowers the community to work together toward their desired future – a powerful overarching principle of good practice for our profession." – David Olson, SDSU Extension

Innovative Program Award

Presented to a CDS member or a group in recognition of a superior innovative program using the principles of good practice as adopted by the Society.

Community Arts Program
University of Missouri Extension

The University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program is designed to provide expertise and support to promote and foster community and economic development through the arts to rural communities and small towns. The program, modeled after the Community Capitals Framework, weaves in arts and culture to build on existing community assets, connect to public issues, include broad participation and partner perspectives and develop effective leadership through education and training. The Community Arts Program team works diligently to position the creative economy alongside economic development in Missouri communities.

"The relevancy of art and culture to community wellbeing and ultimately its local economy has often been debated. This holistic approach to community development is often looked upon as a tertiary byproduct of more direct economic development efforts (or create jobs and the arts will come). The CAP program inverts this supposed relationship by positing that if you improve the quality of life through culture and the arts, economic development will come." - Timothy Borich, ISU Extension Community and Economic Development

"The Community Arts Program is focused on the arts as community and economic development. The arts are used to both build and express a community language, to help a community define who they are and plan where they want to be. The arts are woven into the plan as both strategy and methodology, resulting in a multi‐dimensional approach to community betterment. It's an uncommon approach to economic development, and yet it encompasses elements of proven methods, such as asset‐based community development and participatory planning." – Letitia Johnson, University of Missouri

 

Greetings CDS Friends –

We are pleased to announce that an old favorite of the annual conference, the Live and Silent Auction, will be back again this year!  Your donation of a locally made product and participation in the CDS auction is a great way to make a lasting contribution to the CDS Endowment and support the continued professional growth of our members. 

Several items have been donated for inclusion in the auction already and will be available for bidders near and far. 

CDS members and friends can bid on select items featured here by completing and returning a bidder registration form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wed., July 17.  You’ll be paired with a proxy and will connect by phone prior to (and during) the live auction at the conclusion of the awards banquet.  This is also a great way to involve your colleagues in supporting the auction and CDS endowment. 

You can get involved in the auction by:

Donating auction items.  We encourage you to donate unique auction items that reflect your local culture.  Please complete and return an auction item donation form and photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. prior to the conference or bring your donation(s) with you to the conference registration in Dubuque!  If you submit your donation in advance it may be featured online! 

Volunteering to assist with the auction.  We’re always glad to have volunteers assisting us with the silent and live auction during the conference.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more and to sign up for a timeslot. 

Purchasing items in the silent and live auctions.  All proceeds from the auction directly support the CDS Endowment and enable us to continue to provide scholarships and professional development opportunities to students and members. 

We are so appreciative of your contributions and support of the CDS Auction and Endowment each year.

Sincerely,

CDS Auction Sub-Committee and Finance Committee

Greetings CDS Friends –

Last year we made some exciting changes to the CDS Auction.  We’re pleased to announce that this years auction will build upon these changes and will include more ways for our members and friends to be involved.  The auction will be held at the end of the Annual Conference in Dubuque this July.  We encourage you to consider supporting the auction in some way and ask you to share these opportunities with your colleagues. 

Here are a few highlights for this year’s auction:

What’s New?

  • We’re continuing the online component.  Select auction items will be placed on the CDS blog early in July and will be made available for remote bidding through the conclusion of the silent and live auction.  You’ll receive information about this by email. 
  • You’ll be able to participate, even if you can’t join us in Dubuque this year.  We welcome donations of auction items and encourage you to participate in the online auction.  You’ll be paired with a proxy who will monitor and place bids on the items that you select. 
  • We’ll ship winning items to remote bidders following the conference.  Great news!  The CDS auction committee is glad to ship auction items to the high remote bidders following the conference. 
  • Donate unique auction items that exemplify your local culture. Be creative!  Select items that reflect your community and the local culture such as handmade crafts, artisan works, clothing, music, literature, and foods.  Simply complete and return an auction item donation form and photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Be sure to send these by early June 27 if you’d like your donation to be included in the auction. Don’t fret if you can’t make this timeline – you’re still welcome to bring your items onsite.
  • Support the online auction and share it with your colleagues who won’t be in attendance this year. Complete and return a brief bidder registration form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wed., July 17.  You’ll be paired with a proxy and will connect by phone prior to (and during) the live auction at the conclusion of the awards banquet.
  • Start a bidding war!  All funds raised through the auction support the CDS Endowment and make it possible to provide scholarships and other kinds of grants to support the professional development of CDS members.

How Can You Help?

Top Three Reasons to Participate in the CDS Auction

  1. It helps grow the CDS endowment and create a legacy
  2. I’m *a little* competitive
  3. I’m a fashionista.  Must.  Have.  Snail.  Tie.

Your donation of a locally made product and participation in the CDS auction is a great way to make a lasting contribution to the CDS Endowment and support the continued professional growth of our members.  The CDS Auction Sub-Committee thanks you for your support!

Sincerely,

CDS Auction Sub-Committee

Each year the Society has the privilege of recognizing the achievements of outstanding leaders, organizations, and champions in the field of community development.  We pause collectively for an evening during the Annual Meeting of the Community Development Society to reflect, celebrate success, and express gratitude for the contributions being made in the field. In 2013, eight awards were presented by the Society.  Sharon Gulick, 2012-2013 Community Development Society President, is pictured below presenting each of these awards.  The face of community development and the Society would look vastly different without the contributions of each of these individuals and programs.  

 

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Donald W. Littrell New Professional Award, presentedto Whitney McIntyre Miller, PhD, Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership with Northern Kentucky University

 

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Current Research Award, presented to Edward “Ted” Jackson, PhD, Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University

 

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Community Development Achievement Award, presented to Milan Wall, Co-Director of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development

 

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Duane L. Gibson Distinguished Service Award, presented to Jane Leonard, Community Vitality Advisor

 

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Innovative Program Award, presented to The Great Community Book Read, a collaborative effort between the South Dakota State University Department of Sociology and Rural Studies, Department of Political Science and Extension

 

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Outstanding Program Award, presented to the Stronger Economies Together (SET) Program, led by Bo Beaulieu, Rachel Welborn, Dave Sears, and Suzzette Agans

 

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Outstanding Student Award, presented to Mark Porth, Intern, The University of Missouri Extension’s Community and Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED) Program

 

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Friend of Community Development Award, presented to Ed Levy, Director of Architecture and a Principal with Cromwell Architects Engineers

More information regarding the Awards presented by the Society is available here.  Nominations for award recipients are solicited from the membership each Spring. 


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A CDS tradition – the silent and live auction - lived on during the annual CDS Conference in Charleston thanks to generosity of many of our members.  We’re pleased to report that auction proceeds reached a record-breaking high of $3,561 in support of the CDS Endowment! 

This year’s auction included 52 items, 21 of which were featured in our first-ever online auction.  Thirty members donated locally-made foods, regional wines, handmade goods, writings, and snail memorabilia to the auction and nearly 40 members were high-bidder on these items!  In addition, ten members made contributions to the endowment through the Past President’s Challenge and donations to specific funds throughout the conference.  This level of support of the auction and the CDS endowment couldn’t have been achieved without the generosity of time, resources, and energy of many of our members. 

This year’s auction brought us another step closer to our goal of growing the CDS endowment to $200,000 by the 2014 CDS Conference in Dubuque.  Let’s keep the momentum going!   Your continued support of the CDS endowment will help us reach this next milestone and will allow the Society to allocate more financial resources in support of scholarships, plenary speakers, community development resource materials, and other mission-related activities. 

Learn more about ways to contribute to the CDS endowment online here.  We are continually amazed at the generosity of our members and their desire to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to the field.  We look forward to continuing the tradition of the auction next year and expanding and improving upon our online component.  We believe that all members and champions of the Society should be able to join in the fun of this tradition and continue to support the organization. 

For now, we leave you with the story of the snail tie – one of the most popular auction items each year - as a means of better understanding our past and looking toward our future.  Perhaps it’s time for a new generation of ‘young turks’ to embrace the snail tie and all that it embodies as we serve Society. 

What does the snail signify in CDS? The story goes back to the 1970’s. Some up-and-coming professionals in the organization were impatient with the slow pace of change in established CDS policies and culture. Noticing the similarity of our CDS logo to this slow-moving mollusk, they adopted the snail as a sly, irreverent commentary on the organization. Many in this group of ‘young turks’ have gone on to serve in leadership positions in CDS, thus ironically becoming the establishment. The snail remains as a cherished symbol of the days when they teased the establishment for being so slow to get with the times.

Let’s build a legacy.  Challenge accepted?  


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Each year the Society has the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of its members and friends.  We encourage you to recognize the work of your colleagues in the field by submitting a nomination on their behalf.  

Awards presented by the Society include the:

Download a complete summary of the awardsand nomination form here.  Please direct questions to Awards & Recognition Committee Co-Chairs Katie Ellis and Craig Talmage at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Nominations must be received by March 15, 2014 in order to be considered.  Awards will be presented at the 2014 Community Development Society (CDS) Conference in Dubuque, IA in July.