John McKnight is emeritus professor of education and social policy at Northwestern University and is cofounder and codirector of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute.
For nearly three decades, John McKnight has conducted research on social service delivery systems, health policy, community organizations, neighborhood policy, and institutional racism. He currently directs research projects focused on asset-based neighborhood development and methods of community building by incorporating marginalized people.
McKnight has been associated with many of the Institute's major research projects since he joined the organization in 1969. These have included research on the urban determinants of health, law enforcement, urban disinvestment and metropolitan government, deinstitutionalized child welfare services, police anticrime programs, and the effects of the perception of crime upon community responses. He also directed the Chicago Innovations Forum, an IPR-based dialogue among neighborhood leaders and innovators in economic, political and social development.
Much of his recent work on asset-based community development is captured in McKnight's co-authored book, Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets (1993), which has circulated through a broad range of community, government, business, nonprofit, and educational institutions in the United States and Canada. Articles McKnight has written over the past two decades were published in The Careless Society (1995). McKnight serves on the Board of Directors of numerous community organizations including the Gamaliel Foundation and The National Training and Information Center. Before joining Northwestern, McKnight directed the Midwest office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.