This space is dedicated to illuminating and deepening ways to apply the principles and practices of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and other strengths-based approaches to community change.
In 2016, Tamarack Institute's Deepening Community Practice Area was chosen by renown community-builder and ABCD co-founder John McKnight, to serve as the home for Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Canada. John’s rationale for choosing Tamarack’s Deepening Community Practice Area as home for ABCD Canada highlights the importance and uniqueness of our work. He says, “we have many programs focused on policy and institutions but too few focused on enabling citizens and associations to be producers in their neighbourhoods.”
ABCD’s emphasis on strengths, connections, citizen leadership and its recognition that individual gifts become powerful when they are connected together echoes deeply with our own practice and approach to community change. In our experience, communities that collaborate are more successful at addressing complex issues like poverty, equity, community safety and community well-being because they are able to harness the talents, knowledge and strengths of diverse perspectives.
By John McKnight & Corman Russell
In this paper, John McKnight and Cormac Russell discuss the four essential elements (resources, methods, functions and evaluations) in an effort to answer the following question: “what is distinctive about an Asset-Based Community Development process?"
By John McKnight
This publications will give a brief introduction regarding the nature of Asset-Based Community Development and how it emerged. Of more relevance, John McKnight will reflect on how it has worked, the obstacles and what we have learned.
By Natasha Pei
Learn about New Brunswick and how the province has been able to utilize asset-based approaches to poverty reduction. A recent case study highlights how the province was intentional at each step about employing an asset-based approach rather than the more predominant deficit model to the poverty reduction initiative.
The principles and practices of ABCD, first published in 1993, were based upon three decades of research and community work by John Kretzmann and John McKnight beginning in Chicago in the 1960s. These principles are:
Everyone has Gifts: each person in a community has something to contribute.
Relationships Build a Community: people must be connected in order for sustainable community development to take place.
Citizens at the Centre: citizens should be viewed as actors—not recipients—in development.
Leaders Involve Others: community development is strongest when it involves a broad base of community action.
People Care: challenge notions of "apathy" by listening to people's interests.
Listen: decisions should come from conversations where people are heard.
Ask: asking for ideas is more sustainable than giving solutions.
"There is nothing extraordinary about Asset- Based Community Development (ABCD).
It’s as ordinary as looking out for your family, your neighbours, your environment. Or extending a hand to people who are down on their luck, struggling or vulnerable. Or banding together with others to fix a common challenge."
- Al Etmanski
—Alexis de Toqueville
—John McKnight, Founder and co-director of Asset-Based Community Development Institute