Setting the Stage for Economic Development with a Game-Changing Document

Colin Funk, Board Director of the Cortes Community Economic Development Association.

Community Engagement session. Photo by Cortes Community Economic Development Association.

“ICET pushed us into a different organization. Our first application to them – the Local Economic Development Action Plan (LEAP Report) in 2016 — was a game-changer.

We spent two years developing it — and were one and a half years late — but the Trust was very patient. What was produced in the end was a crucial piece of work that helped us make sense of our economy. After the report was complete, we organized very quickly and transformed into the Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA), where tourism became just one slice of what we do.

The Strategic Plan was needed to find people where they were and to find the gap spaces where we could help leverage our work on Cortes. We did focus groups, and this helped create a very interesting document, with many focus points, that have helped focus our grants. So many groups have used the LEAP Report and it has been critical in leveraging $1 million to develop our island’s economy.

The report is like having some through spine that runs through all that we do. It’s more than just a bunch of papers. It’s a holder of ideas, hope, and aspirations, rather than a rule book… The time has come to refresh it and it will be exciting to go back.

We had to learn to be trusting in those early days and to be patient in preparing the documents. And today we can safely say the report has altered our organization and moved us into the right space.

What a gift to have an organization like Island Coastal Economic Trust, who were able to light the match that helped move us forward.” – Colin Funk, Board Director, Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA)


To learn more about CCEDA’s Local Economic Action Plan visit: