John Kretzmann (Jody) is co-founder and co-director of the Asset- Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute. The ABCD Institute works with community building leaders across North America as well as on five other continents to conduct research, produce materials and otherwise support community-based efforts to rediscover local capacities and to mobilize citizens’ resources to solve problems. The Institute continues to build on the stories and strategies for successful community building reported in his popular book Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets, written with longtime colleague John McKnight.
A much-traveled speaker and trainer, Kretzmann brings more than four decades of community-based work and study to his current position. Before founding the ABCD Institute, he worked as a community organizer and community development leader in Chicago neighborhoods, and as a consultant to a wide range of neighborhood groups. He has worked to develop community-friendly policies in the city, and at the regional, state, national and international levels. In addition to his work at Northwestern, he has taught about community development and public policy with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Urban Studies Program (which he co-founded), Valparaiso University, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and McCormack Seminary. He serves on a wide range of civic, community and foundation boards. His BA is from Princeton University (magna cum laude), his master's degree is from the University of Virginia, and his PhD (in sociology and urban affairs) is from Northwestern University.