Sustainable Communities Learning Network Video Series: GROWashington-Aroostook (Maine)

Video SeriesSince 2011, the NADO Research Foundation has participated in the Sustainable Communities Learning Network as one of the capacity building teams supporting communities and regions that received planning grants as part of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI).  Through this program, 143 communities and regions across the country conducted three-year locally-driven planning and visioning efforts to address critical issues such as housing and transportation, economic and workforce development, natural resource protection, education, and other important areas.

NADO RF has worked primarily with grantees hailing from rural regions and smaller towns by designing in-person workshops and peer exchanges, organizing webinars and conference calls, publishing case studies and best practices, and providing one-on-one technical assistance.  These efforts have forged networks and connections amongst grantees who are pursuing asset-based community and economic development strategies to set a course for a strong, prosperous future.




This past summer at NADO’s Annual Training Conference in Denver, Colorado, we sat down with representatives from a handful of the HUD SCI grantee projects who are also NADO members to find out more about the impact these grants have had on their regions by asking the following questions:

  • What do you love about your region?
  • How has the HUD grant changed the conversation about the future of your region?
  • Who has benefited from the planning process?
  • How have you moved forward with implementing the goals set in your final plan?
  • Where do you see your region in 20 years?

Over the next month, we’ll be posting a new interview each week with HUD SCI grantees from around the country that have explored a range of issues through their locally-driven planning processes, including economic and workforce development, affordable housing, transportation, renewable energy, education, health care, tourism, food systems, and many others.  Check back weekly for new interviews and learn more about the transformative work underway throughout the country to forge more prosperous and resilient rural regions and communities.


To learn more about NADO RF’s role as a capacity building team in the Sustainable Communities Learning Network, please contact Program Manager 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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