UCA presents Community Development Institute awards

The University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development presented awards at the 32nd annual Community Development Institute, which offers community and economic development training.

CDI is a three-year program that features a weeklong training each year. This year’s institute, held July 30 through Aug. 3, welcomed more than 140 community leaders from across the mid-South and also graduated 40 third-year participants.

Duane Bullard, retired community and economic developer from Blue Mountain, Mississippi, was recognized with the Bill Miller Award for his long-standing leadership and support of CDI, which includes many years of service as a CDI Advisory Board member, CDI class director and advocate.

“I love the Community Development Institute. I have had the opportunity to go to many training programs over my career, but CDI has been the best program I have attended because it had exactly what my community needed. Thank you for this award, and I look forward to continuing to support CDI,” Bullard said.

The Arkansas Municipal League was honored with the Friend of the Community Development Institute Award, offered each year to an individual or organization that demonstrates strong support for community development and CDI.

“The Community Development Institute is an incredible training program, and I think it is one of the best in the country of its kind. CDI is an amazing opportunity for Arkansas,” said Mark Hayes, general counsel for the Arkansas Municipal League. “I love the fact that the Arkansas Municipal League has a great partnership with CDI, and I want that partnership to continue to grow. Thank you for this award on behalf of our organization.”

Amy Whitehead, assistant vice president for Outreach and Community Engagement at UCA, said, “On behalf of UCA and the CDI Advisory Board, I am pleased to recognize Duane Bullard and the Arkansas Municipal League for their consistent support of UCA’s community and economic development training and technical assistance efforts. Their involvement in our work has been a tremendous asset, and we look forward to many more years of partnership.”

In addition to the awards ceremony, the week’s activities featured Charles “Chuck” Marohn, founder and president of community-development nonprofit organization Strong Towns, as the keynote speaker, along with tours and simulations that took participants throughout central Arkansas.

Members of the CDI’s optional Advanced Year class, who apply their training in local communities after their graduation, worked directly with the city of Sheridan to assist in its future community and economic development efforts.

For more information about CDI, visit uca.edu/cdi, or contact Shelby Fiegel at (501) 450-5269 or sfiegel@uca.edu.