The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) is located at the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern University. ABCD has a staff of three individuals, including the founders, John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann.

We are currently involved in four broad types of community building work:
  • Building community capacity is at the heart of ABCD’s work. ABCD engages directly with community groups to support their asset-based community development efforts. The Institute and its affiliated faculty also participate in an array of local, regional, and international conferences and workshops as keynote speakers, workshop and training facilitators, technical support providers, and learning participants.
  • Using a community-based participatory research approach, ABCD partners with community residents and other local entities to conduct research that helps prepare them to achieve their own community building objectives. ABCD also works with community groups, non-profits, and an array of other institutions to evaluate asset-based community development projects.
  • Working directly with students, Northwestern faculty, and other organizations, ABCD contributes to the development of the next generation of engaged civic leaders and community builders.
  • Producing community building publications and other resources for practitioners and scholars in the community development field, ABCD contributes to a growing body of knowledge about the effectiveness of the asset-based approach to strengthening communities.
ABCD and its affiliated faculty have created a library of community building workbooks, published scholarly articles, books, and chapters oriented to an array of audiences, and developed training curricula and other materials associated with the asset-based community development approach. Additionally, ABCD has gathered community stories from many of its partners and feature them on this website as a resource from which other communities can learn. Finally, ABCD provides examples of asset-mapping tools so that community groups and organizations can borrow from the experiences of others doing asset-based community development work.

Please visit us at the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern University, 1813 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, Illinois 60208.

The Mercado Central is a retail business cooperative that was developed by the Latino immigrant community in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Mercado Central (Cooperative Mercado Central) is the result of the creativity and hard work of members of this community, who joined forces with a faith-based organizing group and numerous community organizations to build a traditional marketplace in their inner-city neighborhood. Currently home to 44 businesses, the Mercado Central has transformed the lives of people in this community by recognizing their capacity to build their own local economy in a manner that reflected their traditions.

Learn more about Mercado Central


back to top