The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD), located at the Center for Civic Engagement, is at the center of a large and growing movement that considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local residents, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions, asset-based community development draws upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future.

We invite you to learn about the institute and its work in the university and community context. Please also visit our staff and faculty pages, and become acquainted with our many community partners. We hope you will join us in building strong communities.

The Center for Civic Engagement

Northwestern University's Center for Civic Engagement promotes a lifelong commitment to active citizenship and social responsibility among all students. Through an integration of academics with meaningful volunteer service, research and community partnerships, the Center supports students, faculty, staff and alumni as they enhance their own academic experiences while contributing to stronger communities and a more engaged university.

The ABCD is excited to be a part of the Center for Civic Engagement. Learn more about the center.

We Are Very Excited to Present the ABCD Festival 2015!
Spaces Filling Up!
June 15-19
Ribby Hall Village
Wrea Green, Preston, England
Fee: £480 GBP (per person) convert to dollars

An international celebration of 20 years of ABCD work - Come celebrate and learn with us!
The ABCD Festival will present those who attend with an opportunity to hear from practitioners, local residents and fellow ABCD enthusiasts from around the world about their community building efforts. So if you are seeking stories of transformation, like-minded travelers, and folks willing to ask some ‘wicked’ questions, all against a backdrop of beautiful English countryside, then come and join us!

The festival will be filled with music, dance, local food, pot-lunches and nourishing conversations. We are expecting the founders of the ABCD Institute, John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann, the leaders at the Coady International Institute, and many of the ABCD Institute faculty. We will also be joined by fellow ABCDers from ABCD Asia Pacific and ABCD Europe. And we are inviting people from other citizen-led movements to share their learnings and muse with us.

Festival co-hosts:
ABCD Institute
ABCD Europe
Coady International Institute
ABCD in Action
ABCD Asia Pacific
Bank of I.D.E.A.S.

View the flyer
Register your interest or book now
For questions please e-mail

Interested in a Two-Year Paid Fellowship Doing Asset-Based Community Development Work in South Carolina?

The Metanoia Fellow Program is taking applications for Summer 2015

Application deadline: June 15, 2015

Metanoia is an award-winning Community Development Corporation working in North Charleston, South Carolina. Metanoia is pioneering a grassroots approach to asset-based community development that involves discovering and growing the capacities of distressed but high potential neighborhoods to help these neighborhoods renew themselves from within.

Find out more information about the Metanoia Fellows.
Download a flyer
Paid fellowship opportunity description

To find out more about Metanoia, visit

Visit Our Events Page to Learn about Upcoming ABCD Learning Opportunities

ABCD In Action:  

Join our online community
of practice!!

Participate in discussions, share ideas and learn from others implementing ABCD in their communities. Click here to join today — then click 'Sign Up' on the righthand side.

ABCD Community Story

Our Town Rocks
People's daily lives affect their health in countless ways — from the sense of safety and connection to neighbors, to the availability of healthy food, to access to green space and fresh air. And when a neighborhood is inspired to improve from the inside out by building on strengths rather than dwelling on needs, it can realize improved physical, social and economic health. The S2AY Rural Health Network, a regional health agency, set out on a long-term project to help residents of rural Yates County, New York, kick-start their community. The agency brought residents together and helped them discover their own strengths, and Our Town RoCKS, short for “Raising our Community, especially our Kids, to be Strong," was born.

Click here to learn more about Our Town RoCKS

Do you have a story of ABCD applied in your community? If you'd like to share, e-mail

The Abundant Community

Follow Co-Founder John McKnight's Blog

ABCD Institute founder and co-director John McKnight is blogging! Please visit to read his latest posts and learn more about his new publication, The Abundant Community, co-written with Peter Block.

New Training Materials
DeAmon Harges: TEDx Indinanappolis: Making the Invisible Visible

DeAmon Harges: Building Community, Economy and Mutual Delight

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