National Association of Development Organizations

The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s regional development organizations. The association and its members promote regional strategies, partnerships, and solutions to strengthen the economic competitiveness and quality of life across America’s local communities.

The term “regional development organization” is used generically to describe the national network of 540 multi-jurisdictional regional planning and development organizations. These public-based entities play an invaluable role in fostering intergovernmental collaboration among federal, state and local officials. They deliver and manage various federal and state programs. Most importantly, they work to solve areawide issues and to address the fundamental building blocks required for competitive and sustainable communities and economies.

RDOs are typically governed by policy boards with majority control of local elected officials, along with representatives from the business community, educational institutions, the nonprofit sector, and the general public.  In most states, RDOs are authorized and recognized under state law or executive order, and they also hold program designations from various federal agencies.  Therefore, RDOs are known by many different names, including area development districts, councils of government, economic development districts, planning and development councils, regional planning commissions, and others.

About Our Affiliates and Partners

To accommodate the needs of our member organizations, NADO and the NADO Research Foundation have developed a series of affiliate programs and partnerships focused on specific areas of interest.

  • NADO Research Foundation is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of NADO. The Research Foundation provides professional development training, research and peer networking services. The Research Foundation examines new and innovative practices in regional development, strives to improve the organizational and professional capacity of regional development organizations and their partners, and bridges the communications gaps between policy makers, practitioners and the public.
  • Economic Development Finance Service (EDFS) is a subscription-based service of the NADO Research Foundation for business development finance professionals. EDFS is the only national group supporting organizations that manage EDA RLFs and USDA IRP loan funds, in addition to other federal development finance programs.
  • Rural Planning Organizations of America (RPO America) was established in June 2006 by the NADO Board of Directors to serve as the national professional association for regional and rural transportation planning professionals, practitioners and other interested stakeholders.
  • NADO’s Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development, under a cooperative agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, provides training, information and professional resources for small metropolitan and rural regions to pursue innovative strategies to expand the capabilities, capacity and effectiveness of a region’s transportation network.

Climate work from this organization

Across the country, local and regional agencies are finding new ways of building resilience through their day-to-day decisions.  By applying a new lens to not only disaster recovery but also to planning, zoning, capital investment, lending, and other routine services, they are making their communities better able to... Read more

This case study series produced by the NADO Research Foundation highlights the efforts of EDDs that have received disaster recovery funding from EDA.  The case studies demonstrate how regions have effectively used federal funding to address the impacts of natural disasters, become more resilient to future events, and... Read more

Across the country, many communities that have been struck by natural disasters in recent years are looking for ways to rebuild that capitalize on their distinctive assets, increase housing and transportation choices, enhance quality of life, and strengthen long-term resilience and economic competitiveness.  Others are... Read more