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National Community Economic Development Resource Center
Developing an effective means of communication among community economic development practitioners is an ongoing challenge in the field. This report describes an alternative means of fostering communication among different components of CED on a national scale.

Excerpts from a Final Project Report Submitted by Charles E. Betterton
(Click Here for the Complete Report. Click Here for the Project Appendix)
(This item appears in the following Collection(s)
Community Economic Development Thesis Projects
Thesis Projects in Community Economic Development)

Like many of my classmates, my project has changed over the term of the CED program. In my initial project description, I indicated that my project would consist of the establishment of a prototype Community Economic Development Resource Center at the Illinois Diversatech Campus (IDC) in Manteno, Illinois designed to facilitate spiritual, personal, organizational and community empowerment.

In response to my project advisor's input, I scaled back the scope of my project to conducting a feasibility study on the establishment of a prototype CED Resource Center. Later, after further input from my project advisor, I scaled back the project scope to co-sponsoring with the Institute for Cooperative Community Development a three to five day CED Institute in the Chicago area.


Recent events have resulted in the expansion of the project statement to the title of this report, Promulgation of CED Principles and Practices. Given the positive response to the various CED initiatives, a group of individuals and organizations has evolved to carry out these individual projects within the larger context of a National CED Resource Center located at the IDC campus.

In addition to the CED Institute, the CEDRC is providing technical assistance to a collaborative partnership that is establishing a prototype local CEDRC in the city of Gary, Indiana. The CEDRC is also working with the ICCD and ICE to develop an expanded Joint capacity to provide technical assistance and consulting services.

While the scope and the statement of purpose has changed significantly throughout the term of this program, many of the components have remained the same. For example, the Definition of the Problem, Project Goals and Methods have essentially consisted of the statements presented in this final report.

In reviewing the interim project reports, it occurred to me that my project is really more accurately described as the Promulgation of CED Principles and Practices. Each of the previous project statements is in fact a Method for accomplishing the broader project objectives as discussed further in this paper.


Limited public awareness of, access to and practice of community economic development principles negatively impact the potential significant benefits that could be realized through their application.

While there are many resources available for furthering personal, organizational, community and economic development, these resources are not readily available at the local community level, particularly in low-income communities. The absence of a comprehensive means of collecting and disseminating this transformational information to individuals, organizations and communities precludes the successful implementation of this information in the areas of greatest need.

The history of the problem is complex, ranging from the fact that traditional economic development does not share the same values as CED to the present situation where the CED program has generated a wealth of information and resources that are not readily available to the organizations and communities in need.

I believe the root causes of the problem include the following factors:

1.    We are living in a society that has not yet focused on personal, spiritual or community empowerment.

2.    There are significant influences that produce miscommunication including different definitions of community, etc., diverse perspectives and values.

There is conflict and tension between CED and traditional economic development. For example, the CED Values can produce tension and conflict between CED and the predominant society as described below:  



Divergent perspectives/objectives
Societal emphasis on the individual

Human Development

Most people don't appreciate the significance
and potential of human development

Local Ownership

Suspicion/Who will own? Who will control?
Who will benefit?

Focusing on community
and the larger society

General lack of understanding
and experience of true community

Enabling People Through
Education and Long Term Planning

Focus on Betterment model rather than Enablement/Empowerment

Another aspect of the problem is the absence of a focused commitment to the promulgation of CED principles and practices beyond the scope of the CED Master's program and the activities of the Institute for Cooperative Community Development CICCD). Both of these programs have been constrained until recently by conflicting priorities and limited staff and financial resources.

During our class exercise considering the CED values and the causes of tension and conflict, we defined the role of CED practitioners as an educational process of helping people, organizations and communities discover and learn how to apply CED principles and practices through initiatives such as those inherent in this project.


 The project's goals have changed as the scope of the project itself. However, the overriding goals include the fallowing:

* Provide expanded access to information and resources on CED to community and economic development practitioners and non-profit community development organizations

 * Provide avenues for expanded communication and coordination among graduates of the CED Master's program

 * Establish an international network of local CED Resource Centers  


 Over the course of the project, the Methods have changed from time to time as the scope and goals evolved. However, the Methods have generally consisted of the following five major components:

 * Research on existing models of community resource centers

 * Development of educational programs such as the CED Institute to be held in the Fall of 199E in Chicago and to promote replication of the New Hampshire College CED Masters program through an institution of higher learning in Chicago

 * Development of a prototype local CED Resource Center

* Development of a vehicle for providing expanded CED technical assistance and consulting services

 * Utilize CED program classes where possible to obtain input from faculty and students