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University of Michigan

Welcome to the Community & Economic Development Toolbox

The purpose of this toolbox is to provide accessible tools to local community and economic development (CED) practitioners, such as community leaders, newly elected officials, extension educators, and community technical assistance providers, so that they are more knowledgeable about basic CED issues and are better equipped to assist in decision making and determining the future of their communities.

While it is primarily intended for rural communities of New York and Pennsylvania, we believe that these tools will be of help to anyone interested in community development. By using these community and economic development tools, communities can be empowered to improve residents' economic opportunity and quality of life.

In many communities decision-making is constrained by limited understanding of the problems facing them, their information needs and the potential solutions for meeting community goals. And in many communities, the breadth of problems faced eclipses the training, knowledge, or experience of most local officials. Often times, rural isolation exacerbates the difficulties of meeting CED needs where staff, training, and resources can be especially limited.

About the Toolbox

This web site is a joint collaboration between Cornell University and Penn State University and is maintained by the Community and Rural Development Institute (CaRDI) located at Cornell University. Funding for this project has been provided by a grant from Smith-Lever & Cornell Cooperative Extension.

It is intended to connect people with resources and information they need to strengthen the capacity of their communities. We hope that it has been developed so that it is easy to use clear, concise, and contains information that can be applied in a number of settings and circumstances.

Format, material, and tools have been developed jointly by numerous and varied sources, including the faculty and staff of PSU College of Agriculture Sciences, CU CaLS, PSU Cooperative Extension, CU Cooperative Extension, CaRDI, CU Local Government Program, and other faculty at both universities.

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