Who We Are

The Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) is a regional planning and development organization that serves local governments, development organizations, community leaders, and others in the five counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, and Mahnomen in north central Minnesota. The HRDC can help these customers identify needs, develop appropriate solutions, and find the resources to carry out their plans. Most importantly we provide staff leadership to move our communities forward.


Regional Development Commissions were authorized through the Regional Development Act of 1969. The Minnesota Legislature found that problems of growth and development transcended boundary lines of local government and that common solutions to local problems could be found by the pooling of resources through intergovernmental cooperation. The HRDC was formed in 1971 by local units of government in this spirit.

What We Do

We exist to help our communities...

Our Region as a whole, be successful. This is our core mission, and core value. Everything we do is focused on creating that success. Our services and activities are a function of our skills and competencies and those needs communities have as they strive to be successful.

The HRDC has a broad mission...

So it has the opportunity to work in a broad number of areas. The danger is that the HRDC could find itself trying to be all things to all people, thus diluting its effectiveness, so we focus on those activities that fit our understanding of what it will take for our Region to be successful.

The HRDC is not a traditional agency...

It does not have any form of legal implementation authority, as a result much of our budget is not guaranteed from year to year. In fact, the HRDC is more like a hybrid that combines the characteristics of a good business and a good public organization. As a result, the HRDC has developed an organizational culture that values strong customer relationships, leadership and civic entrepreneurship.

While the HRDC receives modest funding from a property tax levy...

Much of our income comes from contracts with customers and partners. We have a handful of contracts we renew on a year to year basis, but we increasingly fund ourselves through special contracts with local governments for projects, and through income generated from services provided by our subsidiary corporations.


The one thing that our customers appreciate the most from us is our leadership.

Strong Customer Relationships

Three quarters of our budget is earned through a variety of entrepreneurial activities – selling homes, making loans, and contracting for professional planning and development services. Strong customer relationships are not desirable, they are essential.

Community Contributions:

Improving the Economy

One of the HRDC’s priority areas is economic development, which includes a variety of activities to support existing economic activity, as well as to enhance that activity through job creation strategies.

Creating Livable Communities

The HRDC has made the improvement and expansion of the region’s housing stock a major priority because of the demand from counties, cities, and other local customers. Other community development activities include neighborhood revitalization, infrastructure improvement, and comprehensive planning.

Natural Resources

Related activities also fall in this category, including land use planning efforts, lake protection activities, county water planning efforts, and trail and park planning activities.

Encouraging Social Inclusion

Our region is successful only if all parts of the region and all populations have opportunities for success. In most cases, we do not have specific “social inclusion” projects; rather, social inclusion is a value that we bring to bear on all of our activities.

Promoting Community Stewardship

This is an area that acknowledges the critical importance of engaging all leadership in the most important issues of the day. Successful communities have one common agenda for the community and find ways to get more people to participate and lead in creating the future that is desired.