Page Last Updated: December 2023 

Economic Development Districts (EDDs) are multi-jurisdictional planning and economic development agencies federally designated by EDA. There are over 400 EDDs across the country that encourage economic development planning and project implementation in distressed urban, suburban, and rural regions.  EDDs open the door for local communities to grant and loan funding opportunities, administrative and technical assistance, and access to data and technology resources.

With the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the NADO Research Foundation (NADO RF) manages the Economic Development District Community of Practice (EDD CoP).  Through the EDD CoP, NADO RF and its partners provide tools, resources, and networking opportunities for EDD staff to strengthen organizational capacity and better guide regions towards becoming more competitive, resilient, and equitable.

The EDD CoP provides a forum for EDD leadership and staff to access the latest information, best practices, resources, and data to ensure districts are well-positioned to lead their regions in supporting with pandemic recovery and building long-term resilience to other shocks, stresses, and disruptions.  Through this program, NADO RF delivers in-person and virtual training, capacity building, and networking opportunities for EDD staff to learn from each other, federal partners, and subject matter experts.  Programming offers useful and responsive resources through a mix of educational platforms and delivers up-to-date training and networking services to EDDs, guiding them on a path to support regional recovery and prosperity.

Economic Development District Interactive Map

As part of the EDD CoP, NADO RF has created this interactive EDD map that provides information about each EDD’s service area, website, contact information, CEDS link, and EDA regional office.  It also includes two search functions:  one that allows the user to quickly identify which EDD serves any address or location and one to search the map by the name of the EDD. Click here to access the map.

CEDS Resources

Webinar Briefing: The State of the EDDs and CEDS Content Guidelines Updates
In the spring of 2023, the U.S. EDA  designated its 400th Economic Development District and also released updates to its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Content Guidelines.  This webinar briefing provides a reflection on the state of the national network of EDDs and information about the updated CEDS Content Guidelines that highlight equity, climate resilience, and workforce development.  Click here to view the recording and download presentation slides.

Build Innovation and Entrepreneurship into the CEDS 
SSTI and NADO RF jointly sponsored this webinar that explored how EDDs can better incorporated tech-based economic development (TBED) into the CEDS and other regional economic development efforts.  The webinar included background information on the CEDS from EDA staff, and included examples from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and TBED partner Rev1 Ventures.  Click here to view the recording and download presentation slides.  

Integrating CEDS and Hazard Mitigation Planning 
Integrating CEDS and hazard mitigation plans can ease plan “silo-ing” between EDD departments, make identified strategies easier to implement, reduce uncertainty around economic downturns, and, most importantly, make your region more resilient and responsive to hazardous events.  Learn basic practices and more from our webinar recording, tip sheet, and tips from a planner resources.  

CEDS Resource Handbook
NADO RF has created an online CEDS Update Resource Handbook with resources and examples to support Economic Development Districts as they engage with stakeholders in their regions around the new topic areas added to the CEDS Content Guidelines.  Click here to access the Handbook.

CEDS Central 
CEDS Central is a free resource curated by the NADO Research Foundation to share resources and information including reports, case studies, videos, webinars, and presentation materials on planning, developing, and implementing the CEDS.  Click here to access CEDS Central.  

EDDs in Action Case Studies Series

The EDDs in Action Case Studies Series demonstrates the wide breadth of programs, projects, and initiatives EDDs support and implement to improve their regions, making them more resilient, prosperous, and better prepared for the future.  Click here to access the growing library of short case studies, written to inspire and show the possibilities for how EDDs can leverage federal and state funding to support a variety of initiatives across the regions they serve.

Reports & Briefs

Solving the Housing Puzzle: EDDs As Regional Housing Changemakers 
This online resource highlights how EDDs have identified regional and local housing challenges and established what role they can play in improving housing outcomes in their region.  It showcases EDD best practices from across the country in a variety of regional market contexts and provides implementable strategies for different roles that EDDs have taken including Planner, Financier, Land Manager, and Developer.  Click here to view the report.

Investing in Rural Downtowns:  What Role are EDDs Playing?
This report explores what it means to be investment ready for engaging in downtown development and showcases the varied downtown revitalization work that EDDs are doing in their communities.  It highlights EDD best practices from across the country in a variety of geographies and provides an idea of the types of roles that EDDs have taken including: Downtown Planning, Brownfields, Facilitation, Funding and Implementation, and EDD-produced Resources.  Click here to view the report

Wealth Creation Resources for EDDs
A special wealth creation page for EDDs now hosts training materials, reports, blog posts, and other resources all in one location. Specific resources to note are a Wealth Creation Primer, Looking Through the Lens of Wealth Creation, Focusing on Regional Assets Using the Wealth Creation Approach, blog posts from mobile workshops during NADO’s Annual Training Conference, and a variety of wealth creation training materialsClick here to view the page.   

Economic Development Districts & Military Installations: Partnerships for Future Planning and Community Cooperation
EDDs are well-suited to be the regional liaison with military installations across a wide variety of topic areas of mutual interest to military installations and their surrounding communities. This report examines some of the main challenges facing communities with military installations and offers how EDDs can best support these vital economic drivers in their regions. Throughout this report are examples from EDDs successfully managing these relationships and showcasing specific, replicable strategies that can be used at EDDs across the country serving regions home to military installations.  Click here to view the report.

Past Event Materials

2023 Annual Training Conference Presentation Materials
Nearly 30 sessions at NADO’s 2023 Annual Training Conference in Cleveland, OH were offered through the EDD CoP, covering a range of topics important to EDD staff and partners.  Below are links to a few featured sessions; click here to access all conference presentations.
    – Making it Count: Achieving, Measuring and Reporting Results with Data Analysis
    – Looking through the Lens of Wealth Creation: Doing Economic Development Differently
    – RDO and Tribal Partnerships
    – Equity and Inclusion Fundamentals
    – CEDS Content Guidelines and Best Practices

Wealth Creation Training 
In August 2023, Economic Development Districts, tribes, and others gathered in the Dakotas and Minnesota to attend the kickoff meetings for the USDA-funded North Central Regional Food Business Center led by Region Five Development Commission.  Melissa Levy, NADO Regional Development Researcher and wealth creation specialist, designed and developed the trainings as a way to share the wealth creation framework with participants.  Click here to access training materials and learn more.  

2023 Southwest Region Economic Development Association (SWREDA) Conference
Several EDD CoP sessions were offered at this May 2023 conference, which convened staff from EDDs, Tribal Planning Grantees, University Centers, Revolving Loan Funds, and others engaged in economic development across the five-state EDA Austin region.  Click here to access presentation materials.    

2023 Economic Development Conference for the EDA Denver Region
Several EDD CoP sessions were offered at this April 2023 conference, which convened staff from EDDs, Tribal Planning Grantees, University Centers, Revolving Loan Funds, and others engaged in economic development across the ten-state EDA Denver region.  Click here to access presentation materials. 

EDA Seattle EDD Regional Roundtable
The NADO Research Foundation and EDA Seattle Regional Office hosted an EDD Regional Roundtable in March 2023 that brought together EDD and EDA staff for training, networking, and sharing opportunities and challenges facing EDDs across the EDA Seattle region.  Click here to learn more and download the presentation slides.   

2023 An Afternoon with the Districts
This event in March 2023 brought together nearly 70 participants representing EDDs, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, EDA community of practice partners, and other national organizations for an afternoon of networking, training, and conversations that explored how best to position EDDs for success in achieving regional economic development and resilience. Click here to learn more and download the presentation slides.   

EDA and EDDs: Partners in Regional Economic Development
During this session at the 2023 NADO Washington Conference, EDA and EDD staff reflected on opportunities for collaboration, the latest updates on CEDS guidelines, and how EDDs can effectively engage with an array of federal partners and programs.  Click here to download the presentation slides.  

Webinar Recordings

Data Deep Dive for EDDs: A Closer Look at Argonne National Laboratory’s NERDE and EDCI Tools
This webinar demonstrated how the National Economic Resilience Data Explorer (NERDE) and the Economic Development Capacity Index (EDCI) tools can be utilized to support your CEDS and other regional planning efforts. Click here to view the webinar recording and download presentation slides.

American Connection Corps:  Opportunities for EDDs
The NADO Research Foundation co-hosted a webinar with the American Connection Corps (ACC) to demonstrate opportunities available to EDDs and other organization to host an ACC Member.  This webinar explained how ACC Members can provide valuable resources and expertise to EDDs and included a testimonial from the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission which serves as an ACC host.  Click here to view the recording and click here to learn more and apply to host a Member.   

Justice40 Initiative: Environmental Justice for the Nation’s Most Disadvantaged Communities 
In support of the EDD CoP, the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) hosted this webinar that featured federal officials and EDD staff who provided background information about Justice40’s goal for 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to flow to disadvantaged communities and what this effort means for EDDs and other regional organizations.  Click here to view the recording. 

Regional and State Coordination for Initial BEAD Allocation Proposals
In support of the EDD CoP, the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) hosted a webinar featuring perspectives from EDDs and regional organizations on how they are coordinating with their state broadband offices as they develop  initial proposals and future required plans for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.  The webinar also included broadband advice, resources, and programmatic opportunities from US EDA.  Click here to view the recording.  

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Webinar for EDDs 
In support of the EDD CoP, the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) hosted a webinar with Trent Frazier, Deputy Assistant Director for the Stakeholder Engagement Division of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). In the webinar, Frazier discussed what CISA resources and materials are available to EDDs. Click here to view the recording.

Strategic Tools for Bioeconomy Development
This webinar highlighted how EDDs and other regional organizations can assist local communities to better participate in the growing global bioeconomy.  It also featured information about the Bioeconomy Development Opportunity (BDO) Zone Initiative that enables economically distressed communities to powerfully leverage biomass assets to serve as anchors for revitalization.  Click here to view the webinar recording.

Plugging Into the Future of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure 
This webinar showcased available funding, capacity building opportunities, and resources available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) at the Department of Transportation and Department of Energy to support electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. Click here to view the webinar recording and download presentation slides.

Stay Up-to-Date with the EDD CoP Via NADO News

Sign-up for NADO News to stay up-to-date on the latest resources, training opportunities, and upcoming events available from the EDD CoP and our partner networks.  This free weekly newsletter is sent to your inbox every Thursday.    

Project Partners

The NADO Research Foundation has partnered with three organizations to deliver the EDD CoP, each bringing unique expertise and a valuable perspective to the field of regional economic development: National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), University Economic Development Association (UEDA), and First Nations Development Institute.

The EDD CoP is made possible through an award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce (ED22HDQ3070106).  The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the participants, trainers, and authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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Contact Joe D'Antonio

Regional Development Researcher Andrew Coker joined the NADO team in March of 2023 after spending two and a half years as the Regional Economic Resiliency Coordinator at West Central Arkansas Planning and Development District. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

At NADO, Andrew conducts research on the newest economic and community development best practices from Economic Development Districts across the country. He helps produce easily digestible information on complex regional issues through case studies, tip sheets, and research reports. Andrew also hosts training and professional development opportunities including conference sessions and virtual webinars for member regional development organizations.

Andrew is one of our Missouri-based team members and enjoys reading and training for his next triathlon.

Jack Morgan came to the NADO team in 2022 after seven years with the National Association of Counties (NACo) as a Program and Senior Program Manager. Prior to NACo, Jack was a Policy Analyst for Friends of Southwest Virginia. Jack holds a bachelor’s in geography from Emory & Henry College and a master’s in geography from Appalachian State University.

As a NADO Senior Program Manager, Jack leads capacity-building and peer-learning work supporting energy communities in economic transition, regional resilience, and recreation economies. He also helps with the EDA-Austin training program Emerging Leaders.

Jack is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is a member of the American Planning Association (APA) in the Regional & Intergovernmental Planning division. He also serves on the Emory & Henry College Alumni Board.

Taking road trips, reading non-fiction, and indulging in top-notch barbecue and coffee round out Jack’s days. He loves maps, mountains, and of course, all things sports.

Karron Grant joined the NADO team in 2023 as Administrative Specialist and is the first face (or voice) you’ll see or hear when reaching out to NADO. As Administrative Specialist, Karron manages our database and coordinates NADO event operations. He ensures members’ needs are met, contact information stays current, and NADO’s office is running efficiently.

Karron came to NADO after four years in the classroom teaching at The New Century School and Old Mill Middle North where he received the Patriot of the Year award. He attended Towson University and the University of Maryland Global Campus and holds a bachelor’s in international studies and humanities.

Visiting art galleries and museums, playing basketball and bowling, and taking in movies and music are some of Karron’s interests and hobbies.

Deputy Executive Director Laurie Thompson has been with NADO for 25 years. Laurie helps keep the NADO and NADO Research Foundation wheels turning through management of the daily operations of the Research Foundation, securing financial resources and overseeing grants management, and helping execute NADO’s Annual Training Conference each year.

Laurie holds a bachelor’s in public affairs and government from Mount Vernon College and a master’s in health services administration from The George Washington University. Prior to NADO, Laurie spent time as a Field Specialist and an Eagle Staff Fund Director at First Nations Development Institute.

When she’s taking a rare reprieve from her NADO work, Laurie enjoys traveling domestically and internationally to visit friends and family.

Jamie McCormick joined the NADO team as a Policy Fellow first in 2019, then moved into her current role as Legislative Associate in 2021. As Legislative Associate, Jamie keeps NADO members apprised of any policy and regulatory issues and communicates NADO’s policy priorities to federal stakeholders and partner organizations. She is also the first stop for members with inquiries on policy issues. The planning and execution of NADO & DDAA’s annual Washington Conference is also managed by Jamie.

Jamie holds a dual bachelor’s in political science and international relations from The State University of New York College at Geneseo and a master’s in international development studies from The George Washington University. In addition to her roles at NADO, Jamie also worked as a Legislative Assistant for the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association.

Outside of her NADO work, Jamie is an active volunteer with the VOLO Kids Foundation and a fundraiser for YMCA youth programs. She is also NADO’s resident baker regularly providing treats for those in NADO’s D.C. office. Traveling, taking her pup on walks, and hiking in the northeast keep Jamie busy. 

Brett Schwartz began at NADO in 2012 as a Research Fellow after earning his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. The following year, he was promoted to Program Manager and has now been leading as an Associate Director since 2018. Brett is responsible for managing NADO’s Economic Development District Community of Practice (EDD CoP), as well as researching and monitoring the latest trends in regional economic development and resilience, including best practices for the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). With more than a decade of experience on the NADO team, Brett is a dynamic relationship builder helping connect and build capacity among the national network of regional development organizations.

Brett also holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s from Trinity College Dublin, as well as a certificate in mediation training. He’s a member of Catalyst Grantmakers of San Diego and Imperial Counties and was a participant in the 2021-22 Field Trips to the Future Cohort.

Brett is one of NADO’s West Coast team members residing in San Diego, CA where he enjoys spending time outdoors, attending concerts and festivals, and soaking up life as a parent of two young children.  

Communications Manager Katie Allison joined the team in 2023 to lead the strategic communication efforts of NADO. Katie creates and develops print and online materials, communicates NADO’s updates to members via weekly emails, and maintains content for nado.org and NADO’s social media channels. She also works with different departments to generate new ideas and strategies to effectively describe and promote the important work NADO is doing for EDDs and RDOs across the country.

An experienced nonprofit communications professional, Katie has worked for organizations in western North Carolina for nearly a decade. She holds a bachelor’s in communications from Wingate University where she was a four-year student athlete. Katie has also completed Vision Henderson County, a comprehensive leadership development program that promotes informed and committed civic volunteerism.

Katie stays busy trying to keep up with her two young sons whom she enjoys exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains with. Traveling to new and favorite places and cheering on the Atlanta Braves are some of her family’s favorite pastimes.

Senior Program Manager Ciara Ristig has been a member of the NADO team since 2021, and helps with NADO’s EDD Community of Practice, EDD staff capacity building and other grants on a range of subjects, including equity and solar energy. Before NADO, Ciara worked as a Planner for the County of Santa Barbara and an Assistant Project Manager for REM Consult. Ciara holds a bachelor’s in urban studies and French from Bryn Mawr and a master’s in urban studies from Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris.

When she’s not traveling, you can find her outrigger paddling and serving on the board of the Blue Sky Center in New Cuyama, CA, near her home base of Santa Barbara.

Carrie Kissel has been a member of the NADO team since 2005 when she began as a Research Fellow. She later moved into the roles of Program Manager in 2006, and then Associate Director in 2011. Carrie holds a bachelor’s in anthropology from Ball State University and a master’s in public anthropology from American University. As Associate Director, Carrie oversees NADO’s work in rural transportation and rural wealth creation. She provides technical assistance and support to rural regions on transportation and economic development issues and develops training and peer exchange events on transportation issues and rural wealth creation as an economic development strategy.

Carrie is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and secretary of TRB’s Rural Transportation Issues Coordinating Council. She is also a member of the American Anthropological Association and the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology.

Reading, gardening, hiking, and kayaking are a few of Carrie’s hobbies, and she organizes and facilitates a DEI/social justice-focused book club in her community.

Melissa Levy has worked at NADO as a Regional Development Researcher since February 2023 and is the Principal Consultant at her own firm specializing in wealth-based economic development consulting. With a career spanning nearly 30 years, Melissa brings a breadth of knowledge to her role as a Regional Development Researcher. Melissa provides in-depth research, coaching, and training on regional economic resilience, rural wealth creation strategies, and economic development.

Melissa is a North American Food Systems Network trained AgriCluster Resilience and Expansion (ACRE) facilitator and a WealthWorks coach, facilitator, and trainer. In addition to her professional work, Melissa serves on the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council, on the board of the Hinesburg Community Resource Center, and on the Hinesburg Economic Development Committee.

A true outdoorswoman, Melissa enjoys cross country and downhill skiing, paddleboarding, hiking, biking, and kayaking, as well as yoga, and teaching Tai Chi.

Program Manager Krishna Kunapareddy began her role with NADO in February of 2023 after 14 years of service at Boonslick Regional Planning Commission in Missouri. Krishna manages NADO Research Foundation’s Planning and Environmental Linkages and Center for Environmental Excellence projects. In addition to researching and writing, Krishna also conducts virtual workshops on innovative tools and techniques related to transportation planning.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Andhra University and a master’s from JNT University in India, as well as a master’s in city and regional planning from the University of Texas at Arlington. Krishna is also a certified Smart Cities Academy Practitioner and holds the Location Advantage certificate from geographic information system software company ESRI.

In her spare time, Krishna volunteers with Mentors4College helping high schoolers better plan for their post-high school paths. She is also a dedicated advocate for documented H4 Dreamers.

Krystal DeLeon joined the NADO team in October of 2020 as Database & Grants Manger, but in January of 2022 transitioned to her current role as Operations Manager. Krystal keeps NADO running through behind the scenes work of invoicing, solving any database issues that may arise, producing membership reports, and much more. Her organizational skills and thorough knowledge help the NADO team operate more efficiently across all departments.

Prior to NADO, Krystal was the Conference Services Coordinator for State Services Organization. She is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), a licensed realtor, and holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Liberty University. When she’s not keeping NADO’s operations in order, Krystal enjoys running and rock climbing, and adventuring with her husband and son.

Senior Program Manager Bret Allphin joined NADO in April of 2022 bringing with him a wealth of knowledge after a 20-year career with Buckeye Hills Regional Council in Marietta, Ohio. In addition to his bachelor’s in political science and master’s in public affairs, Bret is licensed Geographical Information Systems Professional (GISP). He is NADO’s go-to team member for all things mapping while also supporting members with transportation and economic development technical assistance services.

An avid sports aficionado and former collegiate athlete, Bret enjoys cheering on his Cincinnati Reds, hitting the trails on his mountain bike, and improving his golf game whenever possible. Bret is an involved community member in Marietta dedicating much of his spare time to serving on local nonprofit boards.

Contact Karron Grant

Applications cannot be saved and returned to at a later time. It is recommended you compile all of your information in advance in a word processor and cut and paste into the application below.

2023 Impact Awards

The primary applicant must be a NADO member. Project partners, both NADO and non-members, can be recognized under "Project Partners" below.

Primary Project Contact:
This person will be the designated point of contact for all future awards-related correspondence.

Organization Address

Project Location (if different from Organization Address)

Executive Director

Additional Organizational Information
Please upload your organization's logo which will be included on the winning project award certificate.

Project Information
This title will be printed on the award certificate for winning projects and in all 2022 NADO Impact Award materials and cannot be changed.

Project Summary & Questions
Please craft clear, thoughtful, and engaging responses to the following questions. Use the following sections to tell us how your project has made an impact, such as its use of creative funding mechanisms, efforts to create efficiencies or reduce costs, unique partnership models, and emphasis on building resilience and/or enhancing your region's quality of life.

For award-winning projects, the information provided below may be used verbatim to inform project descriptions that will be published in the 2023 NADO Impact Awards materials and included on the NADO website.

Please submit at least one photo showing your project in action. Please keep file size to a minimum (<2Mb) and use JPEG format. If uploading multiple files, ZIP files prior to submitting. If you have trouble uploading images they can be directly emailed to Brett Schwartz at [email protected]. Include the project title they correspond to in the subject line of your email.

Note: Submitted photos may be used in NADO Impact Awards materials and in other NADO published materials with credit to your organization. Please also consider submitting photos for NADO's 2023 Photo Contest, which will be held this summer.


CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO SUBMIT THE APPLICATION - PLEASE BE PATIENT! IF YOU DO NOT SEE A CONFIRMATION, YOUR APPLICATION WAS NOT RECEIVED.
Your application is not submitted until you are directed to a confirmation page. If you have any questions or are unsure if your application has been submitted, please contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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