NACDEP History


Since the National Extension Community Resource and Economic Development (CRED) Conference in Orlando in February 2002, activities and discussions have generated a growing momentum toward the establishment of a national CRED organization. These discussions and efforts were further advanced at the recent Galaxy Conference held in September of 2003. This update provides a review of the history and rationale for these developments as well as an update of current and future activities.

Background Information
At the February 2002 National Extension Community Resource and Economic Development (CRED) Conference in Orlando, hosted by the CRED Base Program Strategic Team, the concept of a national organization to support the efforts of CRED professionals across the system was discussed in considerable detail. While a number of organizational structures and affiliations were debated, a consensus emerged, that an organization most likely affiliated with the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP), and certainly designed along the lines of other JCEP affiliated organizations presents the greatest political, professional and organizational support possible.

Immediately following the conference in Orlando, the CRED Coordinating Team set about the task of working through the issues related to establishing a national organization and developing a plan for the bi-annual conference. In order to maximize scarce resources and maintain our current momentum, it was decided that the Galaxy Conference (held September 21-25 in Salt Lake City) provided us with the best opportunity to meet both these objectives.

In the intervening months, the CRED team spent considerable effort investigating the issues, costs, opportunities and challenges presented by various organizational efforts. In addition we have held discussions with countless CRED professionals, Extension Directors, CSREES partners, other JCEP affiliated associations and others across the country as we sought both input and guidance into the best options for establishing a national organization. These discussions have always been both supportive and informative.

Our discussions at the Galaxy conference, (and the communications before the conference with community development professionals leading to Galaxy) were designed to gather the input of CRED professionals from across the country regarding the potential, purpose, design, partnerships and structure of a national organization. These activities included:

Organizational Meeting (Sunday, September 21, 8-11 a.m.)
A discussion of the rationale, guidelines and logistics of forming a national JCEP-affiliated CRED organization and reviewing draft bylaws.

Regional CRED Meetings (Sunday, September 21, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.)
Chaired by the four respective Regional Rural Development Centers.

CRED Reception (Tuesday, September 23, 5-7 p.m.)
Sponsored by the four Regional Rural Development Centers.

CRED Working Breakfast (Thursday, September 25, 7:30-9:30 a.m.)
A chance to vote on the establishment of a CRED organization, revise bylaws and establish 2004 plan of activities. Attended by more than 80 professionals representing each region of the country, these discussions culminated in the unanimous decision to form a national organization and adopt bylaws. In addition, agreement was reached on a name for the organization (NACDEP), a plan of work for the coming 18 was established, a transition team was established and a conference team was formed. (A more complete review of these discussions can be found in the conference minutes.)

Purpose of NACDEP
It is widely recognized and documented (in among other places, Strengthening Communities: Strategic Directions for Community and Resources Economic Development Programs) that ensuring the viability of Extension's CRED research and programming efforts will depend upon our increasing ability to strengthen and coordinate the delivery of community and economic development programs and the resources necessary to develop them. As such, our future fiscal, political, and organizational viability is directly linked to our ability to enhance our visibility, and broaden our partnerships as a programming and research area within the national Cooperative Extension System, USDA and CSREES. More specifically, recently adopted bylaws outline several primary roles NACDEP can and should play.

To bring community and economic development extension professionals together to discuss issues, needs and opportunities of mutual interest; and to facilitate information sharing.

To promote cooperation on community development issues and educational and training efforts between the various states and regions, as well as between governmental agencies, private community development groups, related organizations and other community development professionals.

To discuss, develop, sponsor, and promote educational and training programs and activities that advance sound community development practices.

To provide support and promote activities and programs at the national level that advance community and economic development, education, training, and diversity in the work force.

To advance the professional status of community and economic development extension professionals by encouraging professional self-improvement.

To strengthen communication with Extension Administration.

To see expanded investments in applied social science research that is critical to the generation of knowledge needed to undergird the development of timely, high priority Extension community development education programs.

To promote the importance of community and economic development through education, advocacy, and coordination within the land grant system
The consensus that has emerged is that no other organizational framework provides us with these opportunities and fulfills these critical mandates. View the full document at: http://srdc.msstate.edu/cred/bylaws.pdf

Thus, NACDEP is intended primarily as the organizational vehicle by which we in Extension can strengthen the community and economic development program. Accordingly, it is not intended to proscribe what is "community development" program is but merely assist those of us who deliver and do research in these areas to acquire and maintain the financial, political, technical and organizational resources we need to meet our collective objectives.

View the Complete Background Document


Following ECOP's official dissolution of all base program strategic teams in early 2003, the CRED team added several new members and reconfigured itself as the "CRED Coordinating Team" in order to continue to meet the objectives that had been established.


February 24-27, 2002 - National Extension Community Resource and Economic Development Conference, Orlando, FL - Concept of a national organization for Extension professionals was discussed in detail. Consensus emerged that an organization affiliated with JCEP and designed along the lines of existing JCEP organizations made the most sense.

September 21-25, 2003 - Galaxy II, Salt Lake City, UT - Launched efforts to establish a national organization and gathered input from CRED professionals across the country regarding potential, purpose, design, partnerships, and structure.

February 15-18, 2005 - 1st Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV

February 13-16, 2006 - 2nd Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX

April 16-19, 2007 - 3rd Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA

2006 - Joined JCEP

June 26, 2007 - became 501c(3)

April 20-22, 2009 - Annual Conference, San Diego, CA

April 12-14, 2010 - Annual Conference, Bloomington, MN

March 7-9, 2011 - Annual Conference, Charleston, SC

May 20-23, 2012 - Annual Conference, Park City, UT

September 16-20, 2013 - Galaxy Conference, Pittsburgh, PA

June 22-25, 2014 - Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, MI