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The Community Development Achievement Award is presented to a Community Development Society (CDS) member in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution to community development. The person may be recognized for teaching, research, practice, programming, administration or any combination of these roles.
“My sincere thanks to Michael Wilcox and other colleagues who supported my nomination. I am honored and humbled by this award.” – Bo Beaulieu
Dr. Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu has embodied the Principles of Good Practice throughout his 40+ years of innovative and dedicated leadership in the field of community development. He ensures that a diversity of people and interests are engaged, that the wider public is offered the opportunity to weigh in on proposed actions, and that each community and economic development blueprint is built on a community’s strategic assets.
An accomplished educator, provocative scholar, compassionate and fearless practitioner, Bo has influenced community development from the levels of national policy to the on-the-ground work in individual communities. He has played instrumental roles in such programs as Stronger Economies Together (SET), the National e-Commerce Extension initiative, Turning the Tide on Poverty and the Hometown Collaborative Initiative (HCI)
Bo currently leads the Hometown Collaboration Initiative in collaboration with Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Ball State University. After just three years, this program has helped nearly 20 small Indiana communities sustainably develop local leaders, grow small businesses and enhance public spaces. Through his professional relationship with the U.S. Department of Defense, Bo helped launch the Defense Manufacturing Assistance Program, which has strengthened Indiana’s economy. He also works closely with the White House Rural Council and the Economic Research Service to combat poverty in Indiana.
A leading-edge proponent of big data, Bo leads such extensive collaborative projects by helping his teams quickly identify opportunities, efficiently orchestrate large-scale multidisciplinary initiatives and create a clear picture for stakeholders how pooling their assets for regional development is the true path to success. Through helping to develop data-driven products, he supports the ability of regional and local economic development groups to make smart decisions about the type of economic development strategies that best fit the needs and assets of their regions and communities.
The success and impact of these programs and data products stem, at root, from Bo’s gifts as an inspiring and generous mentor. For communities as for fellow community developers, Bo helps others learn, test and strengthen their own skills. Working with him helps everyone practice and improve in a safe, supportive environment with his passion for building conversations and capacities among all people.
Above all, he is a voice for change in a world that often insulates itself against such change.