Spoon River College Foundation Sponsors Two Local Community Leaders for WIU’s Community Development Institute
The Spoon River College Foundation is assisting the district’s economic development initiatives by providing scholarships to two area leaders who will be attending the Midwest Community Development Institute, hosted by Western Illinois University’s Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.
Due to a matching gift obtained via the Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development, the SRC Foundation has dedicated funds to be used for community and economic development throughout the college district. Missy Towery, the interim Executive Director of the Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development, and Heidi Wilner, President of the Canton Main Street program, are receiving the scholarships.
“These scholarships are an excellent use of the dedicated funds,” said Carol Davis, Executive Director of the Foundation and Vice President of Community Outreach at Spoon River College. “The knowledge gained and skills developed at the Institute will directly benefit the college district and our awardees have agreed to present what they’ve learned at several meetings upon their return.”
The Midwest Community Development Institute (CDI) takes place in Moline from August 6-9 and is an intensive, four-day training program in community and economic development designed for development professionals, community leaders, and elected officials.
“Every year, I am impressed with the participants, as much as the presenters,” says CDI Director John Gruidl. “The participants are remarkably talented and diverse, including local economic developers, community developers, mayors, city council members, city and village administrators, staff from state, regional and federal agencies, and community volunteers. These folks are on the front lines leading change in their communities”.
At CDI, participants are trained in the “how to” of community and economic development and learn techniques to bring positive change to their communities. CDI can also lead to a nationally-recognized certification as a Professional Community and Economic Developer, a valuable credential for development professionals.
“CDI is an invaluable experience for anyone involved in community and economic development. Whether it is your job or not, if you have a vested interest in seeing your community grow and improve, this is for you,” says Jim Carroll, past participant from Stewardson, Illinois. “The instructors, topics covered, and class time are great but what takes this to another level is the value that you get from networking with so many devoted and interesting people, hearing their stories and from learning from each other.”
CDI features presenters from across the country who are experts in community and economic development, such as Jennifer Tanner from Janus Economics, a consulting company. Ms. Tanner has decades of experience in helping businesses find desirable sites and leading strategic planning for communities. CDI also includes a reception at the new Western Illinois University riverfront campus, a field trip to a successful development project in the Quad Cities, and dinner at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa.