Newsletter-Winter 2020

NACDEP Newsletter


Winter  Edition



2020 Winter NACDEP Newsletter

NACDEP Colleagues,

Greetings.  Here is our first newsletter of the decade.  As I look back on the previous years that I have been in the organization, I realize just how engaged our members are in a wide variety of topics in community development.  Entering the 2020's, we as an organization are well situated and prepared to help communities deal with their problems and reach their goals.  We have colleagues in the organization who specialize in virtually every dimension of community outreach.

Also, a big thank you to all of you who contribute to the newsletter.  You allow all of us to gain from an understanding of what you are doing.  And for those of you who have not made a submission to the newsletter before: consider doing so.  If you have doubts or have ideas but would like feedback, don't hesitate to get in touch with me.  You can email me or phone 330-466-7877.  Enjoy the January (Winter 2020) newsletter!

Thomas W. Blaine, PhD
Newsletter Editor


A Board with 2020 Vision

Submitted by NACDEP President, Susan Kelly


The references to a perfect vision are inevitable during the year 2020, but I think it is accurate to describe the NACDEP Board as having clarity and sharpness as we look toward the future of our organization.

Most of the vision that we have for NACDEP involves YOU, our members. We are seeking to create a professional association that engages you, challenges you, enhances your work and enriches your career. If you have been a member for some time, hopefully you are noticing some of the improvements that we are working toward in providing value for our members through increased communication and engagement opportunities.

Our NACDEP Board is boldly proclaiming a goal for 2020 to break the threshold of 400 members! Giving more attention to member recruitment has been a large part of our discussion this year and we hope you will help us by reaching out to your colleagues and inviting one person who has not been involved in NACDEP.  Imagine the power of each person inviting one new person! We would suddenly have more than 700 members!

We are interested in reaching people actively working in community development or working in other extension areas that could be enhanced by learning more about our discipline. We want to generate interest among our retired NACDEP members in staying engaged and sharing their vast experiences and knowledge with us. We want more members in every state; we want every Community Development Program Leader, every Extension Administrator to know about NACDEP and the value we bring to Extension.  If this brings someone to your mind, help us do the thing that only you can do - invite them personally. 

Now is the time to make that invitation to membership! Forward this newsletter to a colleague and ask them to become a member by visiting by February 28.  Make note of the webinar coming up next week, of the opportunity to participate in our next conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, of the opportunity to apply for one of our many awards. Most importantly the chance to meet and work with people who are doing inspiring ground-breaking work in Extension.

Help make our vision come true - 400 NACDEP Members in 2020! Renew your dues today!


January 2020

Provided by Brent Elrod

Happy New Year from Kansas City, MO! NIFA has been settling in to its temporary quarters since mid-September. We've been busy hiring new staff to fill the important roles left vacant due to the relocation from Washington, DC. As a result, many of us are carrying multiple acting responsibilities during the transition. In addition to my community & economic development program portfolio, I am currently Acting Division Director for the three divisions within the Institute of Youth, Family and Community: Community & Education; Family & Consumer Sciences; and Youth & 4-H.

The agency is currently vetting applications and candidates for the permanent Division Directors, National Program Leaders, and numerous other titles across both program and operations. In addition, new announcements will follow the onboarding and training of the most recent hires. For a list of current (and future) postings, bookmark The most up-to-date organizational chart is available at As you can ascertain, the situation will remain fluid for some time.

In addition to the hiring process, we are focusing on the backlog of awards that had funds withheld, while also moving forward with the release of FY20 Requests for Applications, and development of the FY21 budget. NIFA saw a 3.8% increase in the FY20 budget over FY19 numbers. The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), NIFA's flagship competitive research grant program, received a $10 million increase from FY 2019. The Regional Rural Development Centers held steady at $2M.

Land-grant faculty have repeatedly asked how they can help during this transition. When not a party to a proposal, consider serving as a panelist or panel manager. It increases your understanding of the panel process - and potentially the success of your own future submissions - while also benefiting the agency. This grant cycle, coordinate with your Deans or Directors to carve out time to allow your participation. Travel will not be an issue as most panels will be conducted virtually due to space and resource constraints. Huge props to those who've already offered their time and expertise. Your contributions help ensure the continuity of the quality and timeliness of the research, education, and extension awards our agency administers.

We expect the space and technological constraints to ease when NIFA finalizes the move to its permanent headquarters. The location selected at 805 Pennsylvania in downtown KC promises to provide a substantial upgrade. Consider joining us there as a guest - or as an employee! - as we complete the relocation process, now projected September 2020.

Every time I type or speak "2020," I think "clarity of vision." I've always had an affinity for the number because it also serves as the street address of my property in St. Petersburg, FL. Built in 1920, the Craftsman bungalow celebrates its centennial this year. While living there, my father humble bragged that he never needed glasses - to the day he died at age 76.

As we move through the days, weeks, and months ahead, it is my intent to view the world through eyes that seek knowledge coupled with deeper understanding, while reflecting greater compassion and appreciation. I hope to see each of you in 2020, either in person or through the stories you star in - knowing the clarity of your individual and collective NACDEP vision has lifted hearts, strengthened lives, and improved communities. I'll let Johnny Nash supply the soundtrack:!

Keynote Speaker for NACDEP 2020

Submitted by Shannon H. Rogers, Ph.D 

The NACDEP Host Committee is delighted to announce our keynote speaker for the NACDEP 2020 conference in Portsmouth, NH. Dr. Julian Agyeman will lead us in a discussion of sustainability and inclusion in our communities.  His talk will be titled "Just Sustainabilites in Policy, Planning and Practice." In his talk, Julian will outline the concept of just sustainabilities as a response to the 'equity deficit' of much sustainability thinking and practice. He will explore his contention that who can belong in our communities will ultimately determine what our communities can become. He will illustrate his ideas with examples from urban planning and design, urban agriculture and food justice, and the concept of sharing cities.

Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the originator of the increasingly influential concept of just sustainabilities, the intentional integration of social justice and environmental sustainability.

For a full biography please visit

National Extension Climate Initiative

Submitted by Paul Lachapelle

I think we can all agree that we can do a better job of coordinating climate education outreach throughout Extension.  I'm proposing a new effort, the "National Extension Climate Initiative" to link the work we are doing on climate change-related education and research across Extension program areas and Associations; This will build on, reinvigorate, and expand the work done by the ANREP Climate Science Initiative (thanks to Chris Jones and colleagues for starting this initiative).  This expanded effort, in partnership with the Western Rural Development Center, will be open to all extension professionals with the following objectives:  

  1. Communicate and share current and future work with a core group of self-selected faculty, staff and administrators representing all program areas of Extension who meet regularly via list serve, social media and video conference.
  2. Represent participating Land Grant Universities, Associations, and related committees and organizations (i.e. ECOP and JCEP).
  3. Meet annually via each Association conferences and affirm progress.
  4. Pursue grant funding collaboratively when convenient or supported.

I've created this draft web page for starters;

and this list serve: [email protected] 

Please contact me at [email protected] if you:

  1. Would like to be a part of this group.
  2. Would like me to subscribe you the list serve so you can stay posted on our progress.


Thanks all!

Five Reasons to Submit a NACDEP Awards Application Today

Submitted by Carroll Welte

#1 - You could win! You can't win, if you don't submit an application.

#2 - Become a standout! Listing awards on annual reports or promotion files grabs people's attention.

#3 - Strengthens teams and teamwork! Use this as a way to honor team members' contributions.

#4 - Exposure! Other states/members might say "We need that program! We need that curriculum."

#5 - It's a way to pat yourself on the back! Don't be humble! Members too often overlook the impact their programs have on people and communities.

Therefore...Toot your horn! Toot your team's horn! Promote the great work and impact successfully achieved in 2019 by submitting NACDEP awards applications. NACDEP's Awards web page and nomination portals are open for business; just go to From there you can download the 2020 Awards Descriptions & Application Link document, Sample Nomination Form and Cover Sheet Template. How can it be any easier????

For people who tend to procrastinate the deadline for submitting awards is February 28, 2020, 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Contact Rachel Welborn orCarroll Welte for more information or assistance.



Submitted by Katie Hoffman

The west will welcome the NACDEP 2021 Conference in May 15th- 19th. University of Idaho and Washington State University will host the conference at the beautiful Coeur d' Alene Resort in Coeur d'Alene Idaho. Truly a destination, the CDA Resort will serve as an amazing backdrop to the 2021 Conference nestled on Lake Coeur d' Alene. It's an easy flight into Spokane, Washington and a resort provided shuttle in to CDA. Mark your calendars and we hope to see you in the west next year!

For more information on the resort visit:


Civil Discourse Webinar

Submitted by Michael Dougherty, Chair
NACDEP Member Services Committee

The NACDEP Member Services Committee will be hosting the initial seminar in a new series of educational offerings for members.

The webinar is entitled, "Shifting from Debate to Dialogue:  Let's Talk."

In today's world, the flames of discord are fueled by small sound bites, tweets and rapid-fire posts.  In the midst, we struggle with big issues that threaten to rip the fabric of our communities.  But what would happen if we transformed our interactions into meaningful dialogue?  What new insights and connections would we find to help us heal our communities and knit together our relationships?  And what could Extension do to foster these kinds of connections?

The 60-minute session will explore how dialogues help provide at atmosphere for healing and joint community action. The session will be Wednesday, January 22 at 3 p.m. ET (2 p.m. CT, 1 p.m. MT, 12 noon PT). 

The presenter is Rachel Welborn, the associate director of the Southern Rural Development Center.  Rachel has been a leader in the on-going Extension Committee on Operations and Policy-championed effort "Coming Together for Racial Understanding."

Information on how to join the webinar are below:

  • On PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android, visit the website:
  • Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +14086380968,6623255885# or +16465588656,6623255885#
  • Or Telephone: Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll). The Meeting ID is: 662 325 5885 



All Aboard

Submitted by Melinda Grismer, Community Development Specialist, Purdue Center for Regional Development (Comm Comm Chairperson & President-Elect of NACDEP)

When it comes to board diversity, most nonprofits receive a grade that's closer to failing than passing. In fact, a national study conducted by BoardSource ( showed that boards were only 2% more diverse in 2017 than they were 23 years ago (in 1994).1 We've done a whole lot of talking since then but produced very little action.

The truth is that most of us have the best of intentions. We are genuinely open to others, who hold dissimilar backgrounds or beliefs, coming on board and working alongside us toward a mission of joint interest and concern. However, we're not so "happy" when we have to change our board schedules or practices to accommodate the cultural differences that inherently come with an intentional move toward inclusion.

Boards often stop at stating their "openness" to diversity, falling short of recruiting new members, adjusting meeting times so employees in all lines of work can attend, and/or rethinking what meaningful social interaction looks like by generation.

I received this message from a colleague just today: "I've been trying for the past couple months to find a Hispanic representative for our nonprofit board. I wondered if you had any contacts. The bad thing is that nominations are due in two weeks, so whoever we get would have to be able to respond pretty quickly. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!"

Obviously, there are lots of issues with this situation: Has anyone from the board attempted to reach out to the Hispanic community in any meaningful way previous to this request? If so, how has the board membership opportunity been communicated to them? Beyond race and ethnicity, what expertise are they looking for this representative to bring to the board? How would the "Hispanic representative," or his/her community, benefit from joining the board?

It is possible there are legitimate answers to some of these questions, but overall the problem seems to boil down to "checking a box." Author Amy Neumann, writing for Thrive Global (, says "the overall effect of checking a box can still be homogenous. Therefore, diversity needs to include many different types of "lived experience"...age, physical ability, gender expression, socio-economic status, education, religion, political leaning, or body type."

Like every other aspect of board development, diversifying your board is based on relationship-building. If you and your fellow board members aren't out there networking with people who don't look like you, don't live in your neighborhood, or don't worship at your church, you're not going to know who to ask-and you certainly won't have the influence to convince them to join.

Most nonprofit boards have a plan for budgeting, programming, fundraising-to name a few examples. So, bottom line is, if your board has no "plan" for recruiting diverse audiences to succeed current members, you aren't serious about making it happen. If you aren't out in the community soliciting feedback from underserved, underrepresented audiences, you aren't serious about knowing what their needs are.

As a Boilermaker, I frequently hear the whistle blowing in the background. When it comes to board development, I always imagine the conductor calling out "All Aboard!" Think of board on which you serve. Who in your circle of influence have you told about the value of your organization's destination? Are they ready for you to extend a hand and pull them onto the platform? If no one comes to mind, it's not too late! Go out there and make it happen! It takes every member of a board to throw some coal on the fire. Don't let the diversity train pass you by!


1Anne Wallestad, President & CEO of BoardSource:

2017 Leading with Intent study found that we have made little progress when it comes to building more racially diverse boards. In 1994, the first year that BoardSource conducted a national study, we found that just 14 percent of board members were people of color. This year's study finds that 16 percent of board members are people of color and a full 27 percent of boards are 100 percent white.

2Amy Neumann, CEO & principal of Good Plus Tech: