Cheers to 31 Years! CDI 2017

CDI 2017 was held July 31 through August 4 at the University of Central Arkansas, and was themed “Your Journey to Success Starts Here.” Over 130 community leaders from Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas attended. A record number of 47 scholarships were given at this year’s CDI.

Highlights from CDI include Keynote Speaker Ben Muldrow’s presentation on “The Power of Place: Empowering People to Shape Their Place,” tours of the Ministry Center in Conway, Hendrix Village, South Main Street in Little Rock, and the Innovation Hub in North Little Rock, and various simulations that pushed participants to think about the development of their communities.

Our 31st Annual CDI concluded with a special graduation and awards ceremony. Twenty-three community leaders from Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas graduated from CDI. Brad Lacy, President and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, received the Bill Miller Award as recognition for his longstanding leadership and support of CDI, which includes many years of service as an instructor and sponsor. Central Arkansas Planning and Development District (CAPDD) and the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District (WAPDD) were honored with the Friend of Community Development Award, offered each year to an individual or organization that demonstrates strong support for community development and CDI. CAPDD’s Conya Spencer and WAPDD’s Sasha Grist (CDI Board Member) accepted the awards on behalf of the organizations. Tiffny Calloway of the Delta Regional Authority was selected by her peers to receive the Ernest Whitelaw Award. The Whitelaw award recipient is someone who has demonstrated dedication to professional community development practice, a willingness to assume leadership roles, and a spirit of caring and inclusion, along with strong personal integrity.

Year 1 and Year 2 Champions were also chosen by their peers: Dr. Rhonda McClellan (CDI Advisory Board Member) was selected for Year 1 and Don Clark for Year 2.

Our team at CDI would like to thank our sponsors, scholarship contributors, and Advisory Board Members for their support of our 2017 Institute! Without the support of these wonderful organizations and individuals, CDI would not have the vast impact on Mid-South communities it has today.

For pictures of the Institute, please visit:

Registration is now open for CDI 2018! The 32nd Annual Institute will be held July 30 – August 3, 2018. Register before December 15 for the early bird registration rate of $550!

Register today: