Asset-Based Community Development Toolkit

An approach to enhancing communities by building on their strengths and gifts.

Work to improve communities often focuses on deficits or weaknesses. We identify things that a community is lacking (usually by comparing it to a well-off community) and then we try to bring those things in from outside.

The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) 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. The ABCD Institute is partnered with and housed at DePaul University’s Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-Based Service Learning & Community Service Studies located in Chicago, Illinois.

ABCD has created a tool kit with invaluable resources from ABCD faculty members as well as individuals and organizations that embody the principles of ABCD in their work. The tools are arranged into three general categories:

  • ABCD Talking Point Tools are helpful for presenting the ABCD principles, understanding what they can do and comparing organizing practices.
  • Asset Mapping Tools offer guidance on carrying out the asset mapping process.
  • Facilitating Tools focuses on the work of facilitation, a key practice in asset mapping.

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Group training photo from the ABCD Institute at DePaul University

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