Luther K. Snow

Luther K. Snow ( is a consultant, author, facilitator and community developer who specializes in helping groups of people take positive action for the common good.

Luther has been involved with this work for more than 27 years, since the days before the term “ABCD” was coined or the Institute was formed. As director of economic development for Bethel New Life in inner-city Chicago, and as executive director for the Community Workshop on Economic Development, Luther was a leader in the peer group network that worked with John McKnight, Jody Kretzmann and Stan Hallett for the first Community Asset Inventory and for the Innovations Forum, a precursor to the ABCD Institute.

Luther is the author of two books in the ABCD series:

The Organization of Hope: A Workbook for Rural Asset-Based Community Development

Community Transformation: Turning Threats into Opportunities.

Both books were products of collaborative effort. Community Transformation was co-sponsored by Bethel and by the Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations. The Organization of Hope sprang from a top-notch editorial board including other faculty members, and is a bestseller in the series.

Luther is known as the creator and developer of the Quick and Simple Asset Mapping Experience (called “asset mapping”), which is a one-hour group process that models and applies the kind of community dynamic described by ABCD. The process has been used by more than 2.5 million people around the globe. Luther developed asset mapping through work with congregations and with contributions from Deborah Puntenney. Luther describes and reflects on the asset mapping process in a third related book, The Power of Asset Mapping: How Your Congregation Can Act on Its Gifts, published by the Alban Institute.

Asset mapping also led Luther to some advances in the theory and concept of ABCD, including the Cycle Dynamics explanation of ABCD success and the fixed-sum/open-sum understanding of positive community strategies. He’s been one of the first to connect asset theory and network theory. If you’ve seen a slide presentation on ABCD, chances are that some of the diagrams and concepts came from Luther. Luther has developed a toolbox of group and leadership methods for communicating and encouraging these concepts in communities and groups, which he calls Asset Mapping 2.0.

Luther has personally spread the word about ABCD, the Institute, McKnight, Kretzmann, and our movement to more than 25,000 participants in his various workshops and presentations. He works for clients in diverse fields, including positive rural development, congregational empowerment, finance and social enterprise, smart community partnerships, and college and university engagement. Luther now lives in Decorah, Iowa, and works mainly in North America.

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