November 1, 2017

The National Development Council (NDC) celebrated the 2017 NDC Academy Award semi-finalists and winners at their biennial conference in Washington, D.C. The nominees traveled from across the country to receive awards for making a significant difference in their communities. The nominees competed in four categories:

  • -For rebuilding public infrastructure, Harvest Park in Spartanburg, SC, won for building an urban farm, farmers market, café and beautiful public space in a neighborhood with very few fresh food options.
  • -For investing in small business, Tony G’s Soul Food in San Antonio, TX, won for launching a beloved restaurant that creates “second chance” jobs for the formerly homeless and incarcerated, reviving a derelict historic district, catalyzing additional investment and tourism.
  • -For innovating project finance, Ferris Wheel Innovation Hub/100K Idea, in Flint, MI, won for assembling four different modes of public and private financing from six different organizations and agencies to create the first business incubator in Flint.
  • -For building affordable housing, Stout Street Lofts and Health Center in Denver, CO won for implementing a “Housing is Health Care” philosophy by creating supportive housing for the formerly homeless with an integrated health center that serves the residents and the community.

Additionally, two projects were select by the President and Chair of NDC:

  • -The President’s Award was given to the Commons at West Village in Cleveland, OH, the initial Housing First project in Cuyahoga County, opened in 2002. Since then, Cuyahoga County has replicated this approach, which has reduced long-term homelessness by 86 percent, with only 2 percent returning to homelessness.
  • -The Chair’s Award was given to Grant County Water Project in Southwest, NM, for bringing together 18 public and private entities to address the severe water shortage in rural and economically distressed communities, resulting in $1.8M of investment in long-term water supply.

Behind every nominated project is a passionate and dedicated team that shared their inspiring stories at the NDC Academy—from long-time activists who have worked to improve their communities for decades, to students at the beginning of their economic development efforts.

“All of the nominated projects, not just the awardees, are winners,” said Daniel Marsh III, the President and CEO of the National Development Council, at the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. “At a time when some might feel discouraged that economic and community development is not having an impact, we have clear-cut examples that people’s lives can be changed. What we see in the impressive project images is inspiring and even still, the pictures don’t fully capture the humanity that brought these projects to life. Thank you for sharing your stories here today.”