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5 Area Development Districts receive NADO Impact Awards

Recipients recognized at NADO's 2023 Annual Training Conference in Cleveland, Ohio

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2023) – The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) has recognized the exceptional contributions of five Kentucky Area Development Districts (ADDs) by awarding them with the prestigious NADO Impact Award. These awards highlight the innovative and impactful work of regional development organizations nationwide. 


"Receiving a NADO Impact Award is a testament to our Area Development Districts' dedication, innovation, and collaborative spirit," said Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts Executive Director Casey Ellis. "These awards recognize not just the success of individual projects but also the collective commitment of our districts to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality in our communities. Each project reflects our shared mission to address local needs through regional cooperation and strategic planning. We are immensely proud of these achievements and the positive impacts they have made in the lives of Kentuckians." 


The NADO Impact Awards are presented in honor of the late Aliceann Wohlbruck, who served as NADO's first executive director for 24 years and was a tireless champion for regional approaches to economic development in rural communities. This year's recipients were recognized at NADO's 2023 Annual Training Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. Kentucky's five recipients were:


  • The Barren River Area Development District's (BRADD) Inaugural CEDs Summit. In 2022, BRADD created two websites for the region's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDs) and Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Over 18 months and a litany of public meetings, planning sessions, and other public engagement opportunities, BRADD staff and local steering committee members developed and prioritized 1,000 local objectives in 11 overreaching categories. To kick off the implementation of the region's CEDs objectives and each county's local strategic objectives, BRADD hosted a Regional CEDs Summit in January 2023. The CEDs Summit gave BRADD a unique and creative way to foster implementation of the CEDs recommendations. 

  • The Gateway Area Development District's (GADD) Gateway Region Expanded Senior Center Operations. GADD applied state funding to implement new programs to serve meals to seniors, increasing the number of participants in the program by more than 180% in a single year. By doubling staff numbers, increasing service hours, and purchasing new vehicles, GADD served over 100,000 meals throughout the region, where 20% of the population of over 85,000 are over 60 years old. The new programming included two pilot projects, one offering $100 restaurant vouchers for seniors to spend at local restaurants and another to replace broken and outdated microwaves, bolstering the local economy and providing seniors access to nutrition and social connection. 

  • The Green River Area Development District's (GRADD) Feed Seniors Now project. Feed Seniors Now is a collaborative effort between GRADD and local partners aimed at addressing senior hunger and food insecurity within the Green River region. This initiative involves distributing shelf-stable food items to low-income senior citizens and raising awareness about the issue of senior hunger. The initiative's goal is to alleviate the nutritional challenges vulnerable seniors face, allowing them to allocate their limited finances toward other essential needs such as medication and utility bills. 

  • The Lake Cumberland Area Development District's (LCADD) Healthy Elderly Living Project. LCADD initiated a pilot to acquire and renovate a 43-unit Kentucky Housing Corporation Tax Credit housing complex for the elderly. Project funding was sourced from a Community Development Block Grant and private financing. Collaborating with aging services, particularly the Lake Cumberland Area Agency on Aging & Independent Living within LCADD, the agency aimed to enable elderly residents to maintain independent living and enhance their overall quality of life, thus avoiding nursing home placement. 

  • The Purchase Area Development District's (PADD) Feeding America Tornado Relief Leverage Project. PADD more than doubled the impact of philanthropic donations of $1.5 million by using the funds to leverage and match other state and federal grants. Using the funds to administer a regranting program, PADD allowed applicants to make generational investments in its programs and improve its long-term organizational resilience. Participating communities were able to make generational investments in food pantries and other programs for vulnerable community members and improve their standing moving forward. As a result of the funding, communities could invest other funding outside of their regular budgets. 


The 2023 class of Impact Award recipients comprises 107 projects from 71 organizations spanning 28 states. These projects are presented in an interactive story map developed by NADO that includes project summaries, partners, and images. The map is available online at


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