Our Approach to Community-based Development

Over a career spanning more than 30 years Dan Carmody has cultivated places based upon the belief that every community has resources and opportunity that can be leveraged with exceptional leadership to achieve success. Exceptional leadership is the product of knowledge and capacity. In Dan's day-to-day work and his work as a consultant he helps communities understand emerging eco-systems in place making and in building their organizational capacity to act on that knowledge.

The E * I * E * I * O principles sum up Dan's approach to helping communities develop exceptional leadership. Building organizational EFFECTIVENESS is critical - building a bias for action and respecting the time people invest in non-profit organizations is the building block for capacity building. An INCREMENTAL approach is paramount. Home run projects are great as they are rare. Transformation usually results from the intel learned from smaller projects that may succeed or fail. It's well nigh impossible to get it right in the beginning. Developing an ENTREPRENEURIAL approach promotes long term organizational sustainability. Earned income is key to developing organizations that can stand the test of time to transform faltering local economies. INCLUSION increasingly will separate the winners and the losers in the future. Casting a wide net and developing plans, programs, and projects that reward many stakeholders is what powers compelling shared-vision as the community development's biggest game changer. Lastly, community development must be ORGANIC. Each community's history and set of assets is unique, so to should be the re-packaging of them to leverage future prosperity.

Signature Projects

Detroit Eastern Market Corp., Detroit, MI

As the chief executive of the non-profit responsible for operating the largest public market in the United States, Dan oversees a program of capital investments to rebuild the market.  Serving as the economic development organization for Eastern Market District, the Eastern Market Corporation is building Eastern Market as a hub for a robust local food system and leveraging a successful Eastern Market District that is fostering redevelopment of neighborhoods adjacent to the district.

Renaissance Rock Island, Rock Island, IL

Dan increased the combined budget of the three related economic development organizations from $70,000 to more than $4,000,000 in an Illinois community which lost more than a third of its real estate tax base during the 1980’s.  He created ‘THE DISTRICT,” a nationally recognized arts & entertainment district, led the Downtown 2000 planning process which won a merit award from the International Downtown Association, and pioneered downtown housing market development.

Main Street Council Bluffs, IA

In 2007 and 2014 Dan provided Council Bluffs, IA with strategic planning services regarding organizational development and development of catalyst projects to build development momentum. The results led to the creation of a Main Street program in the community and provided insight on market driven downtown and adjacent neighborhood housing development.

Downtown Bridgeport Special Services District, CT

Through the development of a strategic plan for the Downtown Bridgeport Special Services District, Dan assisted the organization in creating an organizational development strategy that has guided its growth and increased its capacity.

The Partnership, Saskatoon (SK)

Dan helped three community development organizations develop the Crescent Development Strategy, a plan to leverage the cultural assets of downtown Saskatoon and two nearby commercial districts to become a more compelling regional destination.


Dan and Mike Jackson, recently retired Deputy SHPO, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, developed a variety of seminars (from half-day to two days) that engage downtown stakeholders in developing small scale projects in the often dormant upper floor spaces in downtowns of small- to medium-sized communities. In the past ten years, UpstairsDowntown has been presented to 23 groups in 14 different states. Read more about this award-winning program here.