Wynne selected as pilot community

The University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) is partnering with Entergy Arkansas to assist five Arkansas communities with grassroots citizen engagement and technical assistance training through the Community Catalyst program.

Fully funded via a grant from Entergy, the goal of the program will be to develop small, actionable community and economic development goals to serve as a catalyst for longer-term economic development engagements and priorities in the selected communities.

The Community Catalyst program will utilize a process called Strategic Doing. Strategic Doing is an innovative community development tool that, unlike traditional strategic planning, focuses on immediate, impactful small wins and goals to create transformation in communities. Strategic Doing enables people to form collaborations quickly, guide them toward measurable outcomes and make adjustments along the way. CCED and Entergy will also partner with the Mississippi State University John C. Stennis Institute of Government to kickstart the Strategic Doing process in each community.

In addition to coordinating a Strategic Doing process, selected communities will receive follow-up assistance from the CCED and a $1,000 mini-grant to complete a community development project or event in their community.

“We believe the Community Catalyst program will serve as an avenue for communities to come together, create a shared vision and focus on ‘doing,’ instead of what can sometimes feel like an endless cycle of planning, said Shelby Fiegel, director of the CCED. “This program will give communities a tool they can use to create positive, immediate change.”

The pilot community for the Community Catalyst program will be Wynne, Arkansas. Wynne was identified as the pilot community because of its strong leadership, passionate citizens and potential to be a break-out community in the state of Arkansas. Four other communities will be selected by a competitive application process.

“Our community has always felt that Wynne has huge potential but we’ve struggled to create a pathway of how to realize that potential,” said Cody Slater, CEO of the Cross County Chamber of Commerce and Wynne Economic Development Corporation. “The Community Catalyst program is helping to create the community partnerships necessary to really elevate Wynne to the next level. We are very thankful that UCA and Entergy has selected us for this opportunity. We’re very much looking forward to completing the program and seeing what our community can achieve.”

“We know there are a lot of community leaders who are looking for just the right vehicle to help propel their communities forward, so this initiative should be a great opportunity for those selected to take some important steps forward. UCA has the right team and tools in place, and Wynne is primed to go,” said Danny Games, director of business and economic development for Entergy Arkansas.

To learn more about the Community Catalyst program, visit uca.edu/cced/community-catalyst.

About CCED
The Center for Community and Economic Development’s mission is to have a positive impact on communities by equipping leaders with economic tools and resources, building consensus to achieve community goals and bringing UCA resources and communities together. CCED envisions communities across Arkansas and the country with robust economies, a flourishing quality of life and diverse and engaged citizen leaders. CCED provides customized training and technical assistance to communities and their leaders and is part of UCA’s Division of Outreach and Community Engagement.

About CDI
The Community Development Institute, established in 1987 at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas, trains community and economic development professionals from Arkansas and surrounding states. The complete CDI experience is a three-year training program, with five days of training per year. Participants move through the program curriculum in cohorts and are exposed to a comprehensive, applied approach to the field of community and economic development.