A Guide to Promising Asset-Building Programs for Communities and Individuals on the Economic Margin


The Building Assets for the Rural Future guide was completed in June 2010 with funding from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. This web guide features more than 80 promising approaches to asset-building in distressed rural communities. The approaches were identified through a “snow-balling” process that involved a literature review and over 120 interviews with practitioners, academics, policymakers, and foundation leaders. The programs highlighted in this guide were widely mentioned as promising examples of how communities are identifying, developing, protecting, and leveraging the assets within their communities.

Explore the web guide based on your community’s unique assets

Start with the hyperlinked table of contents below, or navigate using the titles in the navigation bar. Think about the assets that your community offers and browse the promising programs in the report. As you examine a specific tactic, you’ll see the “Asset Focus” of that tactic appears in the margin on the right. Click on any “Asset Focus” that interests you or applies especially well to your community in order to see more programs that focus on that asset.

Share your feedback and learn from others 

Where a name and contact person is listed under “Learn More,” that person agreed, at the time the report was first published, to answer questions from the public about the program listed in the report.  Over time, organizations will change and some of the links in the footnotes will no longer work, but the ideas in this guide will persist. The original report was written with the assistance of researcher Lisa Stifler, but additional links and resources continue to be added from time to time. I hope that the strategies and tactics described here will prove useful as you spark creativity in your own community.

C. Tyler Mulligan

UNC School of Government


Table of Contents

Faculty Coordinator

individual image for C. Tyler Mulligan
David M. Lawrence Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government; Lead Faculty, Development Finance Initiative