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Project Cornerstone

Project Cornerstone

Project Cornerstone is a Santa Clara County initiative which motivates and supports all individuals and organizations to come together to nurture and develop competent, caring and responsible children and youth.  It was founded by the Youth Alliance (YMCA, YWCA, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, Campfire USA, Estrella Family Services, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts).  It has been funded by the following organizations:  David & Lucile Packard Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, IBM The Health Trust, Knight Foundation, City of San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, Santa Clara Country Public Healthy Department, Schwab Foundation, as well as others.


Through years of research, the Search Institute of Minneapolis identified 40 developmental assets – or essential building blocks – needed by young people to grow into healthy, caring and responsible adults. Today, communities across the United States are working together with new energy and inspiration to create a more positive future for their children and teenagers, using the “40 developmental assets” as their launching pad.

Why are the 40 developmental assets so important?


Research shows that the more assets a child has the more likely they are to exhibit positive attitudes and behaviors:


  • Succeeding in school
  • Helping others
  • Valuing diversity
  • Maintaining good health
  • Exhibiting leadership
  • Resisting danger
  • Delaying gratification
  • Overcoming adversity


Recent studies in Santa Clara County show that the average youth has only 18.2 assets out of the 40 developmental assets possible. Students at Bret Harte Middle School, average a bit higher—21.9 assets.  Our goal is to help all youth in acquiring an average of 30 or more developmental assets at any given time.  

40 Developmental Assets

External Assets


  1. Family support
  2. Positive family communication
  3. Other adult relationship
  4. Caring neighborhood
  5. Caring school climate
  6. Parent involvement in schooling


  1. Community values youth
  2. Youth as resources
  3. Service to others
  4. Safety

Boundaries & Expectations

  1. Family boundaries
  2. School boundaries
  3. Neighborhood boundaries
  4. Adult role models
  5. Positive peer influence
  6. High expectations

Constructive Use of Time

  1. Creative activities
  2. Youth programs
  3. Religious community
  4. Time at home


Internal Assets

Commitment to Learning

  1. Achievement motivation
  2. School engagement
  3. Homework
  4. Bonding to school
  5. Reading for pleasure

Positive Values

  1. Caring
  2. Equality and social justice
  3. Integrity
  4. Honesty
  5. Responsibility
  6. Restraint

Social Competencies

  1. Planning and decision making
  2. Interpersonal competence
  3. Cultural competence
  4. Resistance skills
  5. Peaceful conflict resolution

Positive Identity

  1. Personal power
  2. Self-esteem
  3. Sense of purpose
  4. Positive view of personal future