Podcast: Empowering Communities to Discover and Use their Assets to Create Change

Ron Dwyer-Voss, Pacific Comunity Solutions (right) with podcast host Peter Eckart (left)

Asset-based community development (ABCD) is a large and growing movement that considers local assets as the primary building blocks of community development, social capital, and health and well-being. Ron Dwyer-Voss, MA, the Owner of Pacific Community Solutions, who also happens to be a long-time friend of podcast host Peter Eckart, joined the show to discuss how ABCD draws on existing strengths of local residents, associations, and institutions to build stronger, healthier, and more sustainable communities. He shared strategies, tools, and examples of how ABCD can be used to engage community residents and support them in understanding and applying their power to improve their neighborhoods.

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Takeaways from the Interview

In the words of Ron Dwyer-Voss…

1. It’s more productive to focus on community assets rather than deficits

“Continuing to describe communities around their deficits, labels, and problems damages local relationships in the community and can set communities back quite a bit in terms of experiencing their own agency and their own power.”

2. Mapping assets can help residents leverage their strengths to improve their neighborhoods

“After they’ve done asset mapping, people see their community in a new way. They see all what they have to work with and the power within their own community. So then they start connecting the assets, and then that consequently gives them more power to then negotiate with outside systems.”

3. ABCD supports equity by lifting up all voices

“ABCD addresses equity through making primary and central every person’s voice and every person’s gifts and every group or association, whether they are formally recognized and have been able to monetize their association into an institution or whether its just a walking group of moms who know more about how the gangs operate in the neighborhood and how to possibly change that.”

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