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ABCD Institute Workbooks

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The following workbooks were  developed by the ABCD Institute Faculty members, as well as individuals and groups within our network (Affiliate Organizations). All are are downloadable for free. There are some paperback versions available. If you need a physical copy of a book, email​ 

A Guide to Building Sustainable Organizations from the Inside Out: An Organizational Capacity Building Toolbox from the Chicago Foundation for Women by Deborah Puntenney (2000).

This workbook describes the Chicago Foundation for Women’s SHOW-21 program (Sustainability of Health Organizations for Women into the 21st Century), an innovative example of how successful capacity building can be undertaken among nonprofit organizations. The workbook illustrates the SHOW-21 model for increasing organizational sustainability and offers a series of activities and tools to other groups interested in this effective approach.

A Guide to Capacity Inventories: Mobilizing the Community S​kills of Local Residents by John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight and Geralyn Sheehan, with Mike Green and Deborah Puntenney (1997).

This book provides 11 clear examples of capacity inventories developed and used by different communities across the United States as well as practical reasons and valuable tips for conducting and using capacity inventories in your community. These stories represent just a few of the creative ways that community groups around the country are making the asset-based development process work for them.

A Guide to Creating a Neighborhood Information Exchange: Building Communities by Connecting Local Skills and Knowledge by John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight and Deborah Puntenney (1998).

This book presents a simple, inexpensive method for discovering untapped local resources that can be shared among community members. It shows how to design and operate a capacity-listing-and-referral service utilizing volunteers, donated space and a minimal budget. This model can be modified and expanded for larger groups with greater resources.

A Guide to Evaluating Asset-Based Community Development: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities by Tom Dewar (1997). 

This guide is written primarily for community-building practitioners from the point of view of an experienced evaluator, but it should also be useful for funders and others who would like to be helpful to community builders. It provides guidance about how evaluation strategies can actually improve the work of community builders, identifies and clarifies the most important issues and dilemmas in evaluating community-building projects, and suggests 10 important principles for those wishing to implement evaluation strategies which are appropriate for this work. 

A Guide to Mapping and Mobilizing the Associations in Local Neighborhoods by Nicol Turner, John L. McKnight and John P. Kretzmann (1999). 

This workbook outlines the steps for collecting, organizing and using information about a neighborhood's citizen associations. It also shows how to identify the community-building activities in which the associations are currently involved, and determine the kinds of efforts in which they might want to become involved in the future.

A Guide to Mapping and Mobilizing the Economic Capacities of Local Residents by John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight and Deborah Puntenney (1996).

This workbook offers a template for discovering what kinds of skills, abilities and experiences individuals possess that could be translated into economic activity and increased economic stability for a local community. 

A Guide to Mapping Consumer Expenditures and Mobilizing Consumer Expenditure Capacities by John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight, and Deborah Puntenney (1996). 

This guide presents a model for exploring how individual make choices about the purchase of products and services, and about how much they spend on specific kinds of items. 

A Guide to Mapping Local Business Assets and Mobilizing Local Business Capacities by John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight, and Deborah Puntenney (1996).

This workbook outlines a plan for understanding what businesses exist in a community, what kinds of resources they possess, and to what extent they are, or could be, mobilized toward community development efforts. 

Asset-Based Strategies for Faith Communities workbook by Susan Rans and Hilary Altman (2002).

This workbook presents a collection of stories from Christian churches and organizations throughout the United States. Each describes a particular faith-based initiative aimed at revitalizing a congregation or its surrounding community, and several stories include activities designed to spur economic development.

Building the Mercado Central: Asset-Based Development and Community Entrepreneurship workbook by Geralyn Sheehan (2003).

The Mercado Central in Minneapolis, Minnesota — a retail business cooperative and incubator — is the result of the creativity and hard work of members of a Latino immigrant community that joined forces with a faith-based organizing group and a variety of community organizations to build a traditional marketplace in their inner-city neighborhood. 

City-Sponsored Community Building: Savannah’s Grants for Blocks Storyworkbook by Deborah Puntenney and Henry Moore (1998).

This guide tells the story of how the City of Savannah sponsored an enormously successful small grants program called Grants for Blocks, which enabled residents of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) neighborhoods to initiate and implement their own neighborhood improvement projects. It illustrates how the program generated a positive impact in Savannah neighborhoods by providing a simple mechanism for local people to become involved with their neighbors, to develop and improve relationships with the city, to acquire and utilize new skills, and to take an active role in building their own dreams and visions for their community. 

Community Transformation: Turning Threats into Opportunities by Luther Snow with Uchenna Ukaegbu (2001).

This workbook examines how communities have turned threats to their well-being into opportunities through a process of transformation. It tell the stories of eight communities as they broke out of a vicious cycle of disadvantage and despair and moved into a cycle of hope and action that turned their visions into reality.

Discovering Community Power: A Guide to Mobilizing Local Assets and Your Organization’s Capacity by John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight, with Sarah Dobrowolski and Deborah Puntenney (2005).

This guide will help any organization strengthen itself by enhancing connections with the community’s assets, strengthen the community by investing in the community’s assets, and strengthen current and future community-based projects, activities and proposals.

Leading by Stepping Bac​k: A Guide for City Officials on Building Neighborhood Capacity​ by Henry Moore and Deborah Puntenney (1999).

This workbook tells the story of Savannah's experience in developing a citizen-centered city government that allowed it to work productively with local residents to improve troubled neighborhoods and build a stronger community. It illustrates the neighborhood development strategies implemented over time that resulted in a new understanding of residents as co-producers of healthy communities rather than simply consumers of government programs and services. 

Newspapers and Neighborhoods: Strategies for Achieving Responsible Coverage of Local Communities​​ edited by John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight and Deborah Puntenney (1999).

This volume brings together three articles that explore different aspects of the relationship between local communities and the newspapers that print stories about them. In "A Guide to Developing a Community-Based Strategy for Influencing Local Neighborhood Coverage," Byron White suggests ways that citizens can make a difference in terms of the coverage their neighborhood receives. In "A Case Study of a Neighborhood Coalition's Program to Influence Newspaper Coverage," Ruth Morris relates the story of how several neighborhoods in metropolitan Toronto organized around the issue of negative media coverage. In "A Research Report on Newspaper Portrayals of Six Neighborhoods in Metropolitan Toronto" (excerpted from a previously published report), Eva Weinroth, Suzanne F. Jackson and Keith Schloskey present a study of newspaper portrayals of six neighborhoods in metropolitan Toronto.

The Organization of Hope: A Workbook for Rural Asset-Based Community Development by Luther Snow (2001).

This workbook explores these questions: How do you build your rural community from the inside out? How do you find and mobilize the assets of your small town and rural area? It tells inspiring stories of rural ​communities from across the countryside and covers points for getting started, strategies for turning assets and hope into action and new relationships, and practical examples of appropriate projects and methods to consider in a rural community.