The Community Development Foundation was organized in 1948 in the Blue Room of Hotel Tupelo by community leaders who saw the need for a unified effort to coordinate the economic and community development activities of the region.
CDF is a membership organization governed by a 60-member Board of Directors, elected by the members, with a 15 member Executive Committee, composed of officers, division leaders and other professionals. Currently CDF has nearly 1,200 members. Utilizing a professional staff and experienced volunteers, CDF presents the positive points of the Tupelo-Lee County region to business, industry and professional leaders who bring jobs to the region. CDF's membership assumes the leadership role in developing a ten year strategy plan, an annual program of work designed to enhance agricultural, business, educational, industrial, private/public partnership and support efforts such as skills and technology enhancement, improved transportation and health care.
In addition, CDF has been instrumental in establishing and/or supporting agencies that meet the needs of the community: Lift, Inc., a multi-county community action agency; United Way of Greater Lee County; The Lee County Council of Governments; Big Ten Development Association; Entrepreneurs' Forum of Northeast Mississippi; Tri-State Natchez Trace Parkway Association and Tupelo Furniture Marketing Association.
CDF also sponsors a number of annual events, such as Industry-Education Day, the Northeast Mississippi Annual Economic Forecast Conference, and an annual membership meeting that summarizes the past years and accomplishments.
One of the largest contributions CDF has made is collaboration with government in the establishment of nine industrial parks located in the area. CDF has been characterized by many as an organization that is at the center of innovation, as well as the most significant creative force in rural American economic and community development.