Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a powerful approach focused on discovering and mobilizing resources that are already present in a community. The ABCD point of view encourages people to recognize that their community is a glass half full of assets, not a glass half empty with needs.

Community assets are resources that become valuable when they are brought together and made productive. The ABCD approach provides a way for citizens to find and mobilize what they have in order to build a stronger community.


But, Why? ​ABCD is a global movement which views local assets as the foundation for transformative, sustainable community development. ABCD can be, in many ways, viewed as a response to outside disinvestment and systems that see communities - especially marginalized communities - as recipients rather than contributors. By connecting community assets to the larger macro-system in which the community exists, ABCD facilitates communities in driving their own development.

One of the primary practices of ABCD is asset mapping. Asset mapping engages community members to describe their community in terms of relationships and potential, notably asserting that no community or individual is without assets to contribute.

ABCD Institute

The Asset-Based Community Development Institute, founded  by John McKnight and Jody Kretzman, focuses on four types of community building: community capacity, participatory research, student engagement, and the development of publications and resources by practitioners. For ABCD faculty and practitioners, the most important asset of any community is the relationships between community members, which can be leveraged to meet needs.

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