Deborah Puntenney, PhD, recently retired from her position
of research associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at
Northwestern University. She still operates her own research and consulting
firm specializing in the areas of asset-based community development,
community-based participatory research, program evaluation, and social justice
strategies for philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. All of her work
emphasizes strengthening neighborhood, nonprofit, philanthropic and other organizations
through the design and implementation of asset-oriented strategies.
Deborah has been a colleague of John McKnight and Jody
Kretzmann at the Asset-Based Community Development Institute for 25 years, and
has contributed broadly to its community-building research. In addition to
authoring many of the institute’s publications, Puntenney has extensive
experience working directly with community groups designing community-based
participatory research projects, and partnering with them on the implementation
of those efforts. Her research has taken her beyond the traditional definition
of community, exploring the application of asset-based community development
principles to nonprofit and philanthropic settings, as well as to specific
areas of interest, including aging and health.
Her current work in Rochester, New York, focuses on
asset-based community development as an approach for addressing the social
determinants of health. Deborah provides technical support to four
community groups and participates in the community-based participatory
research effort associated with implementation and evaluation. She also works
with the Community Health Worker Network in Buffalo, New York, supporting the
network on the inclusion of asset-based strategies as they redefine the
community health worker role to incorporate broader community building
objectives. Deborah has worked on several evaluation projects with KaBOOM!,
most recently on a multi-community exploration of how providing playground
builders with community building support impacts the way they leverage the
assets they mobilized toward their playgrounds. She also worked with the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation as a consultant on their National Culture of Health
project, focusing on how engaged citizens can become effective co-producers of
their own health and well-being.
Deborah Puntenney has been published in several books and journals, including the following:
Puntenney, D. (2014). Asset-Mapping. In D. Coghlan & M. Brydon-Miller (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Action Research. London: Sage Publications.
Puntenney, D., & Zappia, B. (2013). Place-Based Strategies for Addressing Health Disparities. In K. Fitzpatrick (Ed.), Poverty and Health: A Crisis Among America’s Most Vulnerable. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Grimm, K., Walker, J., & Puntenney, D. (2013). Improving Health/Reducing Inequity: Asset-Based Community Development. In K. Fitzpatrick (Ed.), Poverty and Health: A Crisis Among America’s Most Vulnerable. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Kretzmann, J., & Puntenney, D. (2010). Neighborhood Approaches to Asset Mobilization: Building Chicago’s West Side. In G. P. Green and A. Goetting (Eds.), Mobilizing Communities: Asset Building as a Community Development Strategy, pp. 112-29. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Grumm, C., Puntenney, D., & Katz-Kishawi, E. (2005). Women’s Biggest Contribution: A View of Social Change. In E. Clift (Ed.), Women, Philanthropy and Social Change: Visions for a Just Society, pp. 139-57. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England.
Puntenney, D. (2000). Working at the Margins: Poor Mothers and Survival in the Inner City. In R. Hodson (Ed.), Marginal Employment: Research in the Sociology of Work, pp. 51-72. Stamford, CT: JAI Press.
Puntenney, D. (1999). The Work of Mothers: Strategies for Survival in an Inner-City Neighborhood. Journal of Poverty, 3, (4), pp. 63-92.
Lewis, D., Puntenney, D., & George, C. (1999). Welfare Reform in Illinois: Recent Efforts in the Context of the National Debate. In L. Joseph (Ed.), Families, Poverty, and Welfare Reform, pp. 99-138. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Puntenney, D. (1997). The Impact of Gang Violence on the Decisions of Everyday Life: Disjunctions Between Policy Assumptions and Community Conditions. Journal of Urban Affairs, 19, (2), pp. 143-61.
Deborah lives in Evanston, Illinois, but frequently visits family in California, North Carolina, New Zealand, and Washington, as well as friends and colleagues around the US and the world.