Growing Stronger in the Delta: Event Materials

Posted on: June 17th, 2013 by Brett Schwartz

Growing Stronger in the Delta, June 11-12, 2013, Memphis, TNOn June 11-12, 2013, the National Association of Development Organizations, in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (http://www NULL.naco, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (http://www NULL.hud, and the Delta Regional Authority (http://www NULL.dra, hosted the “Growing Stronger in the Delta” forum in Memphis, Tennessee.  This event provided training and peer learning opportunities for participants to learn how to grow stronger, healthier, and more equitable communities in the Delta, driven by economic development strategies based on unique competitive advantages.  Over the two-day event, 75 participants had an opportunity to share best practices, gain new skills and ideas, and engage with local, regional, and national experts on a variety of issues important to the region. 

This forum was organized as part of the NADO Research Foundation’s larger capacity building efforts to provide support and technical assistance to HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning and Community Challenge grantees (http://portal NULL.hud  Participants in this forum came from HUD Sustainable Communities projects working in the Delta; Delta Regional Authority Local Development Districts (http://www NULL.dra NULL.aspx); the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities (http://portal NULL.hud NULL.pdf); foundations; and other institutions. 

Below are links to the forum materials, including presentations, worksheets, and participant background information.  If you have any questions about this forum or NADO’s work as a capacity building team, please contact NADO Program Manager Brett Schwartz (bschwartz null@null nado

Workshop Materials / Participant Information

Growing Economic Competitiveness through Place-Based Strategies

  • John Zeanah, Program Manager, Mid-South Regional Greenprint & Sustainability Plan, Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability
  • Sarah Sieloff, Community Solutions Team Lead, SC2 Memphis
  • Melissa Rivers, Executive Director, East Arkansas Planning and Development District
  • Lois Erwin, Senior Community Development Officer, Southern Bancorp Community Partners
  • Moderator: Chris Beck, Senior Projects Advisor, Office of the Under-Secretary for Rural Development, USDA

New Approaches to Regional Economic Development Planning 

  • Bo Beaulieu, Director, Purdue Center for Regional Development
  • Gloria Santillan Casas, Regional Housing Value Chain Facilitator, Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (Texas)
  • Moderator: Kathy Nothstine, Program Director, National Association of Counties 

Cultivating Entrepreneurship and Building a Skilled Workforce

  • James Stapleton, Ph.D., Executive Director, Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Southeast Missouri State University

Community Development and Philanthropic Organizations:  Partnerships to Achieve Mutual Goals

  • Jill Arnold Blickhan, Executive Director, Community Foundation of the Quincy Area (Illinois)
  • Mary R. Hinde, President and CEO, Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri
  • Janie Dunning, Missouri State Director, USDA Rural Development
  • Moderator: Spencer Lucker, Digital Communications Manager, Delta Regional Authority

Communications Clinic:  Working with Funders and Other Partners 

  • Elisa Ortiz, Deputy Director of Government Affairs and Outreach, Smart Growth America
  • Flozell Daniels, Jr., CEO & President, Foundation for Louisiana
  • Diana Threadgill, President, Mississippi River Corridor – Tennessee

Coordinating with State Agencies and Philanthropic Organizations to Implement Change 

  • Bridget Jones, Executive Director, Cumberland Region Tomorrow
  • Joe Barker, Executive Director, Southwest Tennessee Development District


This workshop was organized by the NADO Research Foundation, in coordination with the National Association of Counties, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (No. DCSGP0003-11).  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed at this event do not necessarily reflect the views of HUD. 

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