Module 9: ABCD Wrap-Up

This course on ABCD has presented a lot of information. Perhaps it can be best summarized and described, though, via Kretzmann’s “portrait of a healthy and inclusive community.”(1) If the ABCD approach is implemented judiciously—that is, if participation in and ownership of a project give community members agency in re-envisioning their own destinies—the following aspects will manifest in the resulting community.

The community will be one that:

  1. Understands, accepts, and embraces change
  2. Seeks broad-based participation
  3. Focuses on sustainable triple bottom line (economic vitality, environmental integrity, community well-being)
  4. Values collaboration
  5. Knows and builds on the community’s assets, capacities, skills, comparative advantages and points of difference
  6. Continually renews and builds diversified leadership base
  7. Encourages civic pride
  8. Champions passionate and entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors

As McKnight reminds us in the Mobilizing Community Assets video training program,

“Nothing we have presented is a map, it’s not a strategic plan, it’s not a model. Communities evolve from the wisdom of citizens. And what we have been talking about … is a path, a direction, but not a template, not a cookie-cutter. We think that when citizens are allowed to be creative in association, that they will make that path.”(2)


(1) Kretzmann, John P. Class Lecture. “The ABCD Approach & Temporary Volunteer Projects.” Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. June 2009.

(2) McKnight, J., and Kretzmann, J. Mobilizing Community Assets: The Video Training Program for Building Communities from the Inside Out. ACTA Publications, 1996.