Staff



Deborah Puntenney
Puntenney, Deborah
Deborah Puntenney, PhD, currently holds the title of research associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and is a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Chicago. She also operates her own research and consulting firm specializing in the areas of asset-based community development, community-based participatory research, program evaluation, and social justice strategies for philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. All of her work emphasizes strengthening neighborhood, nonprofit, philanthropic and other organizations through the design and implementation of asset-oriented strategies.

Deborah teaches university courses in several topic areas, including the family in a changing society, U.S. social welfare policy, asset-based community development, and gender and the life course. Her research and writing emphasize themes related to community, gender, social justice and social policy.

Deborah has been a colleague of John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann at the Asset-Based Community Development Institute for more than 20 years, and contributed broadly to its community-building research. In addition to authoring many of the institute’s publications, Puntenney has extensive experience working directly with community groups designing community-based participatory research projects, and partnering with them on the implementation of those efforts. Her research has taken her beyond the traditional definition of community, exploring the application of asset-based community development principles to nonprofit and philanthropic settings, as well as to specific areas of interest, including aging and health. Her current work in Rochester, New York focuses on asset-based community development as a strategy for addressing the social determinants of health. She is also working with KaBOOM! on a multi-project exploration of how providing playground builders with community building support impacts the way they leverage the assets they mobilized toward their playgrounds. Deborah has three publications forthcoming in 2013. The first, with co-author Barbara Zappia, is a chapter on Place-Based Strategies for Addressing the Social Determinants of Health that will appear in a series edited by Kevin Fitzpatrick and titled Poverty and Health in America. In the same series, with co-authors Katie Grimm and Jessica Walker, Deborah authored Improving Health/Reducing Inequity: Asset-Based Community Development. Also in 2013, Deborah has contributed an entry on Asset Mapping to the Sage Encyclopedia of Action Research, edited by Coghlan and Brydon-Miller. In 2009 Deborah and Jody Kretzmann co-authored a chapter in an edited volume by Gary Paul Green, titled Mobilizing Communities: Asset Building as a Community Development Strategy.


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