Brett Schwartz 

NAD Research Foundation

Brett serves as an associate director at the NADO Research
Foundation (NADO RF) where he leads projects and initiatives
supporting economic resilience, diversification, and asset-based
economic development in small metros and rural regions across
the country.He has been with the organization since 2012 when he
joined as a research fellow following graduation from law
school.NADO RF is the non-profit affiliate of the National Association
of Development Organizations (NADO), a membership association
of councils of governments, regional planning commissions, and
economic development districts.Brett works remotely from San
Diego, CA where he lives with his wife, Juliet, and son, Miles.

Read below to learn about Brett's Thought Leadership Project

Inspired by a presentation to the learning cohort from Trabian Shorters, Brett Schwartz is working on writing a short essay about how the concept of asset framing can be applied to rural economic development. All too often, negative frames are "baked in" to projects, programs, mission statements, and conversations that are meant to improve the lives of people and communities. In an effort to attract funding or raise money, people and places are frequently portrayed by what they are lacking and what problems they are facing - often through statistics and narratives that reinforce gaps and deficits. Asset framing, as defined by Shorters, is "defining people by their aspirations and contributions before acknowledging their challenges." It seeks to "build equity without stigmatizing people" and promotes the value, dignity, and humanity of all individuals, no matter their life circumstances or the kinds of challenges facing them. In the essay, Brett calls on policy makers, government officials, foundations, social service agencies, economic developers, and planners who are seeking to promote a better future for rural America to embrace an asset-frame when designing, planning, and promoting rural economic development initiatives. He is also collaborating with a graphic illustrator to create accompanying images for the essay.