Dave Cooper

Dave Cooper

N. David (Dave) Cooper is an Asset Based (strengths-based) Community Development practitioner, coach, trainer and consultant with communities, congregations, organizations and institutions to:


  • Build “whole” and transformative community relationships
  • Catalyze creative discovery of previously unrecognized resources
  • Connect people, organizations, institutions, and associations
  • Facilitate and host opportunities for mutual learning
  • Develop teams that produce and deliver effective community-transforming projects
  • Advocate for social, economic, physical, political, and spiritual equity and justice
  • Coach leaders and teams to produce measurable, transformative outcomes

In my work, I use theories, concepts and tools such as:

  • Asset Based Community Development
  • Shalom Zone Training ®
  • Asset mapping
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Theory U
  • Dynamic Systems Theories
  • Empathic, empowering, transformative care-giving

My areas of specialization include: 

  • Building and re-building relationships among congregations and communities
  • Affordable and supportive housing
  • Food security
  • Prison and corrections reform

I hold degrees and certifications in: 

  • Master of Social Work (macro) – administration, planning, programs, and policy
  • Master of Divinity (emphasis on liberation theology, mission and world religions)
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Public Management (Nonprofit management)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, Magna Cum Laude (Construction Technology, Philosophy, and Psychology)

I have applied Asset Based Community Development to my work with:

  • New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
  • Circles Ashland
  • Communities First Association
  • Drew University
  • Habitat for Humanity International
  • The Uniting Church in Australia
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Community Innovators Lab (blogging)
  • United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond
  • Berryman Center for Community Ministries
  • Virginia Prisoner Reentry Policy Academy (Governor Kaine)
  • Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Reentry Council (Governor McDonnell)
  • Richmond Reentry Council
  • Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority
  • Richmond City Council
  • Metro Grand Rapids Urban Ministries
  • California Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church
  • Virginia United Methodist Housing Corporation
  • Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
  • Wesley Housing Of Northern Virginia
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension, Department of Community Viability
  • Restorative Justice Association of Virginia

The Hebrew word for whole-community well-being is “shalom”. While shalom encompasses much more than can be translated into English, shalom is manifested when there is shared power, equity and mutual beneficence among physical, social, economic, political and spiritual systems. Shalom is not simply a transcendent hope; rather, it is a concrete, tangible, proactive, investment of all resources to work in concert for the common good. Shalom-making is not easy and not for the timid. Rather, it is an emergent, locally led, co-creating, bold, purposeful, sustained, and collaborative investment in the healthy transformation of the communities in which we live, work, learn, and play.

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