Social Capital Building Toolkit

Thomas H. Sander and Kathleen Lowney

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For the past decade, social capital has resonated strongly with communities across America attempting to improve residents’ quality of life and overall well-being. Social capital, defined as “ the social networks and the norms of trustworthiness and reciprocity that arise from them,” is a powerful predictor of many social goods, including people’s health and happiness, levels of economic development, well working schools, safe neighborhoods, and responsive government.

Although the Social Capital Community Benchmark Study has enabled us to better quantify and measure social capital, we are still exploring the most effective ways, settings and activities to build social capital and increase civic engagement.

Source: Introduction