Identifying funding opportunities.  Writing and administrating grants.  Collecting and mapping data.  Producing community and regional economic development plans.  Convening and coordinating project partners.  

The work of Economic Development Districts in service to local communities is broad and comprehensive, yet often takes place out of the spotlight.  However, EDDs’ contributions to regional economic development are often crucial in ensuring projects get done and services are delivered, simultaneously improving the quality of life for residents and strengthening the local business community.  

One of the most important features of an EDD as an organization is its staff’s ability to work with partners to identify emerging trends and respond to new challenges facing the region.  Since 2015 all EDDs integrate economic resilience planning into their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) to better prepare regions to anticipate, withstand, and bounce back from any type of shock, disruption, or stress it may experience.  These shocks can include natural disasters, hazards, and the impacts of a changing climate, but also economic disruptions such as the closure of a region’s largest employer, the decline of a key industry, changing demographics, the effects of automation, and much more.  

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.  The short case studies below are meant 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.  

Stay tuned to this space for new case studies that will be posted on a regular basis.  If you have a project or story you would like to highlight here, please contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected].  

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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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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