The Harwood Institute Welcomes New Board Members

We are pleased to welcome three new members to The Harwood Institute's Board of Directors: Sharon Orlopp, Amy Lazarus and Gaurdie Banister. 

Each new board member brings with them experiences that are crucial in supporting The Harwood Institute's commitment to helping individuals and organizations produce greater impact and relevance in their community.

Gaurdie E. Banister Jr.
Fmr. President & CEO, Aera Energy LLC

Gaurdie Banister recently retired after serving eight years as president and CEO of Aera Energy LLC, an oil and gas exploration and production company jointly owned by Shell Oil Company and ExxonMobil, headquartered in California. Banister has 35 years of oil and gas experience, and prior to Aera served in executive level positions at Shell including technical vice president Upstream Asia Pacific and technical vice president Upstream Americas. Read Gaurdie's Bio

“I'm delighted to join the board of an organization like Harwood that is committed to helping communities across America and around the world. I look forward to helping where I can in our quest to assist communities as they try to come together to face the challenges of the 21st  century.”

Amy Lazarus
Founder & CEO InclusionVentures

Amy Lazarus is the founder and CEO of InclusionVentures, LLC, making welcoming and effective spaces the norm in workplaces and communities toward faster systems change. Amy served as Executive Director at the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue for the past five years, first as the inaugural ED for the Campus Network and then for the Institute. Under her tenure, programs grew from serving 11 to 45 college campuses in the United States, Latin America, and Africa; expanded into workplaces focused on talent development, inclusion, and leadership; and earned revenue increased from 6% to 33%. Amy also founded PULSE, a neuroscience-based leadership retreat to catalyze inclusive talent.  Read Amy's Bio

“I'm honored to join the board of the Harwood Institute. The Institute does critical work with a refreshing yet proven approach of enabling everyday leaders to co-create the communities they envision and deserve. To work with Rich, the dedicated staff, and the visionary leaders on the board gives me hope for the impact the Institute will continue to have during this important moment in our nation’s history.”

Sharon Orlopp
President, Orlopp Enterprise

Sharon Orlopp, served as Global Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President at Walmart, and was responsible for advancing a diverse workforce with 2.1 million associates worldwide. Her former responsibilities include overseeing and leveraging global diversity and inclusion efforts, associate relations, and HR policy for the world’s largest retailer.  Read Sharon's Bio

"I am very honored and humbled to be on the Board of The Harwood Institute. The Harwood Institute's values and mission closely align with my personal values. Together we can solve complex issues and create stronger communities."


Rich in Huffington Post on Our Soldiers and the NFL

Another Veterans Day passed last week with all the pomp and ceremonies and solemnness we have come to expect - and that many of us cherish as we honor those who have protected us, especially in an increasingly dangerous world. What I didn't expect was to learn that the NFL and many of its teams (along with professional basketball, baseball and hockey, among others) have been paid to honor our soldiers at games.

Greater Clark Foundation Awards Scholarship for Harwood Lab

Five selected for innovators training
Posted: Friday, November 13, 2015 11:13 am
Special to the Sun

Five area residents have been selected to represent the Greater Clark region at a “Public Innovators Lab” Dec. 1-3 in Washington, D.C., where they will learn ways to engage communities in achieving conditions for long-term change.

The $2,500 per participant cost of the training and travel will be covered by The Greater Clark Foundation (GCF).

The selected participants are:

— Rachel Alexander, executive director, Main Street Winchester

— Brian Carpenter, manager, Grace Coffee, Café and Bakery

— Cora Heffner, director of Community Education, Clark County Public Schools

— Joseph Miller, director, Rowland Arts Center for Teens

— Chana Tetzlaff, priest in Charge, Emmanuel Episcopal Church

The lab will be conducted by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, an independent nonprofit that teaches, coaches and inspires people and organizations to change how communities work to solve pressing problems.

Greater Clark’s participants will learn to:

— identify community issues rooted in people’s shared aspirations and build public will for action;

— develop strategies that align with local context;

— create community conditions that enable change;

— forge relationships with partners;

— build networks for innovation and learning;

— adopt metrics to gauge progress; and

— cultivate can-do narratives in their organizations and the community.

“Each of the 16 individuals who completed the application is highly capable and more than qualified to represent the Greater Clark region at the Harwood Lab, and we intend to engage everyone who applied in a meaningful, grassroots way to help our community achieve its long-term goals,” Jen Algire, GCF president and CEO, said. “The selected participants took the opportunity to share in their applications their deep affection for our community, their pragmatic, results-oriented personalities, their selflessness and their willingness to take and manage meaningful risks.”

The participants will help GCF determine if the Harwood Institute’s “Turning Outward Model” can be used in the region, and will become leaders in the local effort to enhance the four conditions that are required for community change: capacity, collaboration, communication and cohesion, Algire said. They were selected by a committee that included three GCF board members and two community volunteers, in a process involving a blind initial evaluation followed by in-person interviews.

For full article visit here.

Rich to Speak at Zionsville Education Foundation Dinner

Zionsville Education Foundation celebrates 20 years of giving back
By Heather Lusk

Twenty years ago a group of education supporters joined forces to create the Zionsville Education Foundation with a goal to provide grants to teachers and save funds for the future. In the past two decades roughly 500 grants have been bestowed, with 10 grant recipients announced for this fall cycle.

Grant requests to help build independent readers, provide stereomicroscopes, and create a hydroponic tower garden – among many other ideas – were among 15 applications received for this cycle.

“They are exactly what ZEF wants,” ZEF Executive Director Tracy Phillips said. “Innovative, out of the box, game changing grants, something that will change the course of a young person’s life.”

The grant budget for fall and spring is higher this year than previous years in celebration of the 20th anniversary.

“We always have more grants than we have budget,” Phillips said. “We want to fund as many grants as possible.”

One of Phillips’ goals for the 20th anniversary year is for the organization to give its one millionth dollar to date, which she feels is within reach.

“I want to earn more this year so we can give it back,” she said.

Every dollar raised goes back into the schools. Administrative costs are covered by proceeds from an endowment, which Phillips also hopes to fund this year.

“It would be lovely if this could be self sustaining,” she said.

Funds raised by ZEF are directed toward curriculum versus classroom consumable items or field trips that are often funded by a school’s PTO. ZEF funds classroom grants, professional development grants and student enrichment grants, which were created in the event that student groups move on to an academic team competition.


Celebration for the 20th anniversary of ZEF kicked off in September with a reunion of 80 board members and grant awardees and will continue with a gala dinner, ZEF’s only fundraising activity this year. The dinner will be Nov. 14 at the Central Library in Indianapolis.

Hoping to have 400 people present, Phillips said that the event will start with cocktails and a jazz group, then students from the high school production of Pippin! will lead attendees to a sit-down dinner with a fundraising game and guest speaker Richard Harwood.

“His foundation exists to bring communities and public schools together,” Phillips said.

Tickets are available at

To see original article visit here.


Rich In the Huffington Post on The Torah's March From Selma

The Torah On the March From Selma

This past Monday, I sat in services for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, nervous about my task: to go to the front of the congregation and lift the Torah (Holy Scripture scrolls) above my head after it was read and before it was to be placed back in its Holy Ark, where it is kept.

I thought about all the things that could go wrong, and all the things I realized I wasn't sure of how to do in performing this ritual. Why had I ever agreed to do this?

Then, all of a sudden, I was awakened from my anxious stupor by our rabbi who told the story of the Torah we were about to read from that day. On this day, we wouldn't hear young congregants chant from our own Torah; rather, we were to use a different one. Since August 1, the Torah we were about to open had been carried for 45 days and almost 1,000 miles on an historic march from Selma, Alabama to Washington, D.C. The march, America's Journey for Justice, was organized by the NAACP.

Our congregation, Temple Micah, had been blessed. On the only day this Torah was to be absent from the march, on this Rosh Hashanah, our modest congregation was to be its temporary home and would get to read from it. And on this day, as is tradition, we would hear the story of Abraham's test from God, when he was commanded to sacrifice his son, Issac. Only at the last moment, after proving an abiding faith, would an angel be sent to give Abraham and Issac a reprieve.

Our own faith is tested all the time, and especially in recent time. How do we understand a rash of shootings that have taken place in our cities and towns - from Newtown to Ferguson? How do we come to grips with ever-growing gaps between rich and poor? How do we restore a belief in ourselves that we can come together and get things done?

So many things were going through my mind as I sat there in Rosh Hashanah services - which happened to be taking place in a Methodist church. You see, our Rosh Hashanah services are held in the same church each year because the over-flowing crowd is too large for our own synagogue. So, there I was sitting in a church, observing our High Holy Day services, about to lift a Torah above my head, only to find out that this particular Torah had been carried for weeks on a march from Selma organized by the NAACP.

As I sat in the pew, and heard the story of this Torah, all the anxiety that had consumed me immediately left my body. I then found myself glancing over at the stone etchings of people's names on the wall celebrating the good lives lived by various Methodist church members over the years. I could envision people on the march from Selma, day after day, seeking on their journey a more perfect union. I could see before me row after row of fellow Jews (and non-Jewish partners) praying.

I knew then that I was in the right place. As I sat there, I was reminded of all the things that can come between us, and yet our common journey must go on.

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Rich in The Journal Times

Rich Harwood is keynote speaker for nonprofit conference
October 09, 2015 9:45 pm

SOMERS — Rich Harwood, founder and president of Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, will be the keynote speaker at the 2015 Nonprofit Leadership Conference, designed for nonprofit staff and board members, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Student Center, 900 Wood Road.

Harwood is currently on a nationwide campaign, “Reclaiming Main Street,” traveling the country to address the corrosive effect the current political environment is having on our ability to make progress in the country. He is also a prolific author.

Following the conference, Harwood will present at the Reclaiming Main Street Community Leader Luncheon for Racine County business, civic, education and nonprofit leaders. In addition, Harwood will host an afternoon session entitled, “Putting Community into Collective Impact.” The Reclaiming Main Street Community Leader Luncheon and Putting Community into Collective Impact afternoon presentation are by invitation only.

To register for the conference, go to

To see original post, visit here.

Public Innovators Lab in the News!

Pottsboro residents share ideas to strengthen community (+video)

By Miranda Wilcox Herald Democrat

POTTSBORO — What kind of community do you want? This is just one of the questions Pottsboro Library Director Dianne Connery has been working to answer through a series of discussions hosted at the Pottsboro Area Library. By answering questions that examine what matters to individuals in a community, Connery is hoping to positively address ongoing issues in Pottsboro and help shape the city into what the community desires.

“It is a way for towns, municipalities and organizations to find out what really matters to the community,” she said. “… The only people who are experts on what the community wants are really all the people in the community. So it’s to find out what matters.”

To accomplish this, the library is hosting a series of meetings called Community Conversations. These meetings have welcomed as many as 15 people and follow a specific guide of questions to understand what matters to the people of the community. An important facet to this is to include a huge cross-section of the Pottsboro population, Connery said.

“We want people whose families have been here for 100 years, to people who moved here from Dallas three months ago,” she said. “We want young and old and all economic types. … Anybody who lives or works in 75076 (zip code) is encouraged to participate.”

She pointed out that, while having community members voice their opinions in organized meetings such as city council sessions is important, libraries are already a huge source of data and are normally trusted institutions within a community.

To read the entire article visit here!

13 Indiana Libraries Receive Scholarship from MCLS to attend Harwood/ALA Public Innovators Lab

LANSING—The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) announced today that 23 individuals from 13 Indiana libraries were selected to receive a scholarship from MCLS to attend the 2015 Harwood/ALA Public Innovators Lab in Detroit Michigan, October 14-16.

The funds were made available to MCLS member libraries through a grant program established by the MCLS Board of Trustees from the proceeds of the sale of the former INCOLSA building in Indiana.

The Harwood Public Innovators Lab is a 2.5 day experience to help libraries learn what it means to turn outward – to use the community as your reference point for choices and action.  The Lab is part of the American Library Association's “Libraries Transforming Communities” initiative, a national plan to help librarians strengthen their role as core community leaders and change-agents.

According to MCLS Executive Director, Randy Dykhuis, “MCLS has been using the community engagement tools of the Harwood Institute and sharing them with libraries in Indiana and Michigan since 2013.  We are excited to be able to support training for a cohort of Indiana librarians.”

The selected libraries represent a spectrum of library types, sizes and geographic locations in Indiana, all with a common goal to engage more deeply in their communities.

The following libraries were selected: ·        Bloomfield-Eastern Greene County Public Library ·        Eckhart Public Library (Auburn) ·        Franklin D. Schurz Library (Indiana University South Bend) ·        Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library ·        Indiana State Library (Indianapolis) ·        Indiana University East Library (Richmond) ·        Indianapolis Public Library ·        La Porte County Public Library ·        Monticello-Union Township Public Library ·        Morrisson-Reeves Library (Richmond) ·        Tippecanoe County Public Library (Lafayette) ·        Vigo County Public Library (Terre Haute) ·        Washington-Carnegie Public Library

MCLS is committed to continuing to support the community engagement efforts of Indiana and Michigan libraries beyond the Lab, and will offer communication forums through social media, community engagement roundtables, and coaching calls to libraries as they begin to put the Harwood tools into practice in their community.

About MCLS

MCLS is a non-profit, member driven organization whose mission is to facilitate sharing resources and to collaborate with other organizations to benefit Indiana and Michigan Libraries.

New ALA/Harwood Library Tools Released

ALA, Harwood Institute release new tools to help libraries lead positive community change

For Immediate Release Fri, 08/14/2015


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office


CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA), in partnership with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, has released three new tools to help libraries engage their communities, focus efforts where they are needed most and lead positive community change.The tools are the final pieces of a set of community engagement resources created for libraries as part of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative. Taken together, the collection — which includes worksheets, conversation guides and webinars — teaches libraries to “turn outward,” making their communities the reference point for the libraries’ work.The new tools are designed for libraries that already have been putting the “turning outward” approach to use, or those that have attended a Harwood Institute training or orientation.

  • “Making It Stick with Staff” is a discussion guide to help libraries reflect on their changing outlook and make the “turning outward” approach part of their everyday work.
  • “Making Meaning of Data” helps libraries make sense of data about library usage and activity and use that information to create programs that better serves the community’s needs.
  • “Tracking Your Progress” provides a visual representation of the “turning outward” approach to help libraries visualize where they have been and where they are going next.

Deborah McCullough, deputy director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County in Ohio, said the “Making It Stick with Staff” tool helped facilitate teamwork among her staff.“‘Making It Stick with Staff’ was a great way to get staff to talk — and everyone participated! —about what the library has done to implement change,” McCullough said. “The questions were practical and specifically designed to keep the conversation going, and yet allowed for reflection and analysis.”

Read more here. 

Harwood Institute in American Libraries Magazine on work with Hartford Library

Hartford Public Library Builds, Strengthens Community–Police Relationships
by Alison Marcotte
August 3, 2015

Hartford (Conn.) Public Library (HPL), block parties and community theater are more than just forms of entertainment. They are potential ways to solve the issue of public safety and build a stronger relationship between residents and the police department.

HPL is one of 10 public libraries in the US that have been participating in ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative since April 2014. The initiative, in collaboration with the nonprofit Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, is an 18-month community engagement training program where libraries learn how to address challenges facing their community. (Read more about LTC in the January/February 2015 issues of American Libraries.)

HPL’s community engagement director and project leader Richard Frieder says it’s inherent in the mission of public libraries to understand the needs of the community and help residents make their city a better place.

“Libraries have an enormous asset, which is trust. People trust libraries, and public libraries in particular. And that means that they feel comfortable coming to the library and sharing their ideas and concerns and working together with us to help solve problems,” Frieder says.

Through eight community conversations in Hartford’s North End neighborhood, HPL found that residents’ main concerns were public safety, community violence, and their relationship with the police.

Read full article here

Harwood Institute in Cass County Now About New Atlanta Community Conversations

Library to host Dream On Thursday
Forum invites public comment on what would make Atlanta area better
By Robin Aaron

A unique event will take place this week at the Atlanta Public Library. The event called Dream On will be hosted to hopefully bring people together for a thoughtful conversation about the Atlanta Area and what would make it a better place to live.

Anyone is welcome, not just Atlanta residents, and organizers hope to provide an open and honest environment for people to express their thoughts and concerns.

Library Director Jackie Icenhower and two of her advisory board members, Laura Comer and Fern Porter will conduct the forum and have received training in doing so by the Harwood Institute.

According to the institute’s mission statement, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit that teaches, coaches and inspires people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. The Institute has worked across the U.S. and increasingly around the world and has partnered with some of the world’s largest nonprofits, including United Way Worldwide, AARP, the American Library Association, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and others.

Read the full article here. 

Rich Harwood in Colorado Springs Gazette on City's New Story

The Colorado Springs Gazette

GUEST COLUMN: Colorado Springs is writing a new story

By Rich Harwood

July 19, 2015

Last month, I spent time in Colorado Springs, and while there I heard a story of renewal about the community that's worth following. It's about a community taking action to place itself on a new path. How people are doing this is as important as what they are doing.

In April 2014, I spoke in Colorado Springs. My host was Pikes Peak United Way. The goal was to sound a message that it's time to make community a common enterprise again.

Over 250 leaders turned out - a sign of just how hungry people were to take a new direction. The Gazette ran a story at the time with the headline: "Political hostility hurts Colorado Springs, many say." Indeed the narrative of the community was that change wasn't possible in part because of leaders and groups refusing to work together.

A few weeks ago, I returned to Colorado Springs to keynote the United Way community celebration. In just 12 months, the community is making its way down a new path.

There's a growing spirit of collaboration; you can hear the beginnings of an alternate "can-do" community narrative. No one action has brought about this emerging shift; rather, there have been separate efforts pointing in a common direction. For instance:

- Nearly 50 organizations are working to provide mentoring to the community's youth.

- The effort to address homelessness has shifted. Community conversations have confirmed that those experiencing homelessness share common aspirations with the community. Initiatives have begun to address the priorities: increase shelter beds; create a day center to deliver services more effectively. And all have accepted the challenge to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.

- Different segments of the community are coming together to find ways to make the community more business friendly and vibrant.

These actions build on previous efforts, including an initiative to ensure that all third-graders can read at grade level - a key indicator for a child's future success in life.

Pikes Peak United Way has played an important role in helping the community move forward. Last year, it launched community conversations to ask residents about their shared aspirations for the community, the challenges they saw in achieving those aspirations, and what progress could look like. The point of these discussions was not to educate the community or sell a predetermined plan. Instead a space was created for people to articulate the kind of community they want in the words that have meaning for them. As CEO Jason Wood said, "We are excited that Pikes Peak United Way can contribute as a convener and mobilizer and we are optimistic that our Cradle to Career community conversations are making an impact that will ultimately move us forward."

Read the full article here. 

Rich Harwood in the Huffington Post on the Charleston Shooting

Charleston and Our Need for a Change of Heart
The Huffington Post
by Richard C. Harwood
July 2, 2015

State Senator Paul Thurmond, the youngest son of former U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, once the standard-bearer of the Old South, recently stood on the floor of the South Carolina Senate and delivered a speech calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from the State Capitol.

He, like others in South Carolina, had a change of heart. He, like others, said it was crystallized by the horrific killings at Emanuel AME Church, in which the lives of nine people were taken, including his state Senate colleague Clementa Pinckney.

In other words, he and others had their personal walls of protection punctured, walls that often serve to keep at bay the cries and experiences of others. Only when these walls are breached can one's heart be touched in new ways. Only when these walls come down can we truly see and hear one another.

There is something distinctly human about a change of heart. It cannot be legislated. Nor dictated. And it never can be coerced. It comes only from within us; authored directly by each of us. And yet it is often prompted by something outside of us. Something we see or experience anew. Something we come to understand differently. Something that stirs a latent feeling within us.

Continue reading here

Harwood Institute in Colorado Springs Gazette about fundraising increase

Pikes Peak United Way hauls in nearly $6 million in donations
Colorado Springs Gazette
By Jakob Rodgers
June 4, 2015

The Pikes Peak United Way announced its most recent fundraising haul Thursday.

The nonprofit raised nearly $5.8 million since July 1, 2014, an increase of about $80,000 from the previous fiscal year, said Jason Wood, the nonprofit's president and chief executive.

The money will go toward funding nearly all of the organization's operations, which include funding other nonprofits and operating the 2-1-1 program - a hotline connecting people in need with agencies that can help.

Pikes Peak United Way officials announced the haul during its annual fundraising luncheon. It included a speech by Rich Harwood of The Harwood Institute, who implored community leaders to overcome their differences and build the community as partners.

Rich Harwood in Colorado Springs Gazette about community event

 Pikes Peak United Way to celebrate partnerships at luncheon
Colorado Springs Gazette
By Billie Stanton Anleu 
May 30, 2015

The man who helped Pikes Peak United Way sharpen its focus is returning to town a year later, even as the nonprofit celebrates its partnerships and community projects.

Rich Harwood, president and CEO of the Harwood Institute, will speak at the agency's Community Celebration Luncheon on Thursday.

The institute's philosophy has inspired the nonprofit to reclaim the community one project at a time, said Jason Wood, president and CEO of United Way.

"Pikes Peak United Way is in the business of changing lives and making greater impact. We are more than just a fundraiser; we are a convener around issues that matter in our community," Wood said.

"We've had 105 organizations working with us over this process," he said. "Those that started with us are still engaged in the process."

During more than 50 "community conversations" in 2013 and 2014, people voiced their hopes for the city.

Then Harwood arrived and challenged the community to end its divisiveness, change its narrative and do business differently.

Discussions with more than 40 task force members, from business, education, foundations, government and the military, created a vision that led to focus areas on needed career education and skills and creating jobs and economic development.

Read the full article

Harwood Institute in Inner Sydney Voice

Turning outwards to listen to communities
Inner Sydney Voice
By Brian Smith

People want to make a difference but often don’t see wh at they can do that will amount to anything significant. Brian Smith explores the work of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation that is now being adopted in Australia.

It’s no secret that people are frustrat­ed with politics and public life. This is as true in the USA as it is in Aus­tralia. We are all tired of acrimony and divisiveness and nothing getting done about the problems that affect every­day people.

There is also a growing sense in our society that too many organisations, institutions and leaders are more focused on their own good than the common good. While there are no easy answers to these challenges, there are ways to get our communities on a different path.

Based in Bethesda, just outside Washington DC, The Harwood Insti­tute for Public Innovation was founded by Richard Harwood in 1988. After working on more than 20 political campaigns, earning a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton, and working for two highly respected non-profits, Rich, then 27, set out to create some­thing entirely different.

He was disappointed and impatient with non-profits with laudable missions but little real affection for the community or taking on the toughest challenges, and political campaigns that no longer sought to repair breaches but instead sought to win at any cost. In response to these discouraging trends, he set out to develop a highly-entrepreneurial approach to tackling tough issues and making society work better, while still operating with the highest integrity and ethics.

Read the full article:

Harwood Institute in Bradenton Herald-Tribune about work with Realize Bradenton

Realize Bradenton's $90,000 winning idea didn't just pop up
Bradenton Herald-Tribune
April 6, 2015

...."In the past four years, Realize Bradenton has undertaken big civic projects that transformed the city's Riverwalk and the Village of the Arts. Both of these projects involved college students "as drivers for the big ideas."

Perhaps most significantly, the group last year took part in the Aspirations to Actions initiative of The Patterson Foundation, in partnership with the Harwood Institute, to hold community conversations with millennials, asking them what they wanted in their community.

Those conversations showed their top priorities included "more diverse opportunities for social gatherings that are outside of the typical bar scene. Millennials want to get off the bar stool and engage in experiences that they can shape, as well as influence topics such as housing, transportation, and technology," according to Realize Bradenton.

Its winning proposal to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Cities Challenge aims to do just that."...

Read the full article


Harwood Institute in the Bradenton Herald about Realize Bradenton

Realize Bradenton wins Knight Foundation contest for $90K
Bradenton Herald
March 31, 2015

BRADENTON -- Realize Bradenton has been named as one of 32 winners in the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's $5 million national challenge that asked people throughout the country, "What's your best idea to make cities more successful?"

Realize Bradenton's ReuseReCONNECT concept captured $90,104 of the overall winnings, which can be used toward the application of the submitted concept.

The Knight Foundation serves 26 cities, but the contest was open to everyone to submit ideas in how to improve one of the Knight cities' success rate by focusing on three key areas, including retaining talent, expanding economic opportunity and creating a culture of civic engagement. More than 7,000 ideas were submitted.

"Who knew there were so many potential civic innovators, and we were thrilled to see that number of submissions," said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives.

A team of reviewers from all over the country poured over each submission to first narrow the contest to 126 finalists and eventually the 32 winners. Realize Bradenton's concept involves experimenting with various outdoor public spaces to create vibrant,

and sometimes spontaneous, community hubs.

That kind of social interaction was most desired by millennials during Realize Bradenton's partnership with the Patterson Foundation's "Aspirations to Actions" initiative with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation.

According to Realize Bradenton Executive Director Johnette Isham, the Patterson Foundation initiative led to "numerous conversations with millennials spanning economic, professional, creative and educational backgrounds to find out what they desire in their Bradenton community."


The Harwood Institute to Train Librarians across Texas in State Partnership

Public Innovators Labs to Take Place in Arlington, San Angelo and Houston Bethesda,Md., March 25, 2015 –The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation heads to Texas in May to conduct three Public Innovators Labs across the state through a partnership with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). The labs will help hundreds of library professionals  lead positive, pro-active change in their communities by “turning outward,” the Harwood approach to guiding people and organizations so that their communities are the reference point for their choices and actions.

Each of The Harwood Institute’s three-day labs will be hosted by TSLAC, which is offering them to public and academic librarians free of charge. The program is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and TSLAC.

The labs will take place May 12-14 at the University of Texas at Arlington; May 20-22 at the McNease Convention Center in San Angelo; and May 27-29 at the Marriott Houston South at Hobby Airport. Shortly after opening registration, the Arlington lab filled to capacity. Those interested in joining the waitlist or attending the other labs should contact Jennifer Peters, TSLAC’s Community Engagement Administrator, at or 512-463-2214.

“Libraries are trusted institutions uniquely positioned to help people engage with each other and strengthen their communities,” said The Harwood Institute Founder and President Richard C. Harwood, who will lead the Arlington and San Angelo labs. “This unique partnership will help library professionals across Texas develop their abilities to become catalysts for creating lasting and positive change.”

The Institute, based in Bethesda, Md., is a national nonprofit organization that teaches and coaches people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. Harwood has dedicated more than 25 years to transforming communities nationally and worldwide, partnering with groups such as the American Library Association (ALA), United Way Worldwide, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and AARP. The Institute’s work recently spread to Australia, where it has teamed up with the Local Community Services Association in New South Wales.

The Institute has worked extensively with libraries across the country and has conducted two national Public Innovator Labs for Libraries together with the American Library Association. The Institute is also partnering with ALA to guide 10 libraries from New York to California to act as innovative change-makers for communities facing a variety of challenges.

To learn more about Harwood and the Institute’s work with libraries, read the Library Journal’s Rich Harwood on Libraries as Change Agents, Turning Outward, and the Need for Qualitative Data. For a peek into the Institute’s three-day learning experience, read the Library Journal’s Inside the Harwood Institute’s Innovators Lab for Libraries.

To schedule an interview with Richard C. Harwood, contact Andrew Willis at thi (at) or call 301-656-3669.


About The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md. that teaches and coaches people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. The Institute is guided by Founder and President Richard C. Harwood, who has dedicated more than 25 years to transforming communities nationally and worldwide. For more information, visit

About the Texas State Library and Archives Commission Formed in 1909, TSLAC is committed to giving Texans access to information and programs to improve their lives and communities. TSLAC provides historical and genealogical search assistance, federal and state government documents, electronic research and library services to all Texans, including those who are unable to read standard print material because of physical or reading disabilities. For more information,visit

Rich Harwood in Arkansas Online about Walmart Sponsored Work With Children

Leaders decide change should be kid-focused
By Dave Perozek
March 20

BENTONVILLE -- A plan to engage the community in talks about how to improve Northwest Arkansas should focus on children, a group decided Thursday.

About 12 people -- consisting mostly of business representatives and School District officials -- gathered for the second time this year with Rich Harwood, president and founder of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation in Bethesda, Md.

Wal-Mart invited Harwood to Bentonville to guide a process that eventually will involve dozens of community members. The institute plans to compile feedback from numerous group discussions in a report that will be presented to the community about 18 months from now, according to a timeline Harwood provided Thursday.

The process of collecting community members' input will start with asking them not what problems they see in the area but what their aspirations are, Harwood said.

"If we can start with people's aspirations, that creates a destination we're trying to create together," he said. "Americans are builders. So if you focus on your aspirations, we can start to build toward that. And then we can look at what are the challenges in the way of our aspirations."

The group met for the first time Jan. 29. During that meeting the group's focus shifted from primarily Bentonville to all of Northwest Arkansas. They discussed things they'd like to address, such as promoting an environment in which everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential.

"We want to create the best region, not just the best community," Harwood said. "At the same time we said we need to start some place to make it more concrete."

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