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Asset-Based Community Development
Building Communities From The Inside Out


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A Summary of the Basic ABCD Process

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On the role of the "gapper"
On power
On working in and with communities
On working in the "real world"
On scale and the importance of locality
On doing the work
A Summary of the Basic ABCD Process
  • Decide on a site/locality

  • Remember the importance of size/scale

  • Realize there can be communities of place and communities of interest

  • Remember the locality should be defined as community members see it, not what's convenient for outsiders

  • Decide on a theme through which to engage the community

  • Engage the community around a question, not an answer

  • Through engagement with each other, the community should provide the answer (answers)

  • The best themes are clear, arouse passion within the community, and unify the community (for example, issues related to youth/children often fulfill these criteria)

  • Develop an Initiating Group

  • A relatively small group with a deep commitment to the ABCD philosophy

  • Provides initial connections into the community

  • Members may be largely institution-based

  • Develop an Organizing Group

  • Core group of community leaders who can come together to be a voice for the community

  • People from everyday life, association leaders, congregation leaders, small business owners, others

  • It is important that they buy into the theme around which the community will be engaged and that they are "leaders with a following" so that they have an authentic constituency

  • This core group should come together around their "self interest" in the best sense--an interest they are ready to act on

  • This group begins to develop a plan

  • Developing specific goals, engaging the community in the process, doing the work, evaluating progress, adjusting the process

  • Set a table

  • Create a citizen-centered partnership

  • Citizens/community associations in control

  • Bring in institutions/agencies later and as a minority so they are at the table but in the role of servant, not lord

  • Work with institutions/agencies to see how they can support the citizen-centered initiative

  • Role of this citizen-centered partnership is to carry out the plan related to the theme that was chosen

  • Citizens/associations and their gifts/relationships as the driving force

  • Agencies/institutions in a supporting role

  • Do the ABCD work

  • Identifying assets/gifts

  • Mobilizing and connecting assets