FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 23, 2013

Contact:Richard C. Harwood, rharwood@theharwoodinstitute.org or 301-656-3669 Jennifer Packer, jpacker@theharwoodinstitute.org or 301-656-3669

New Campaign Aims to Get Public Life Working Again

The Harwood Institute’s “Reclaiming Main Street” Campaign Begins Oct. 28 in Washington, D.C.

Oct. 23, 2013, Bethesda, Md. – Rich Harwood has an important message for people who are disgusted with the dysfunction in today’s politics and public life: There is a way forward, and it begins with each of us.

In his new “Reclaiming Main Street” nationwide campaign and speaking tour, Harwood will lay out a critical assessment of our current political climate, the corrosive effect it’s having on our ability to work toward common goals and concrete steps individuals and organizations can take to make a difference on important issues. Harwood will deliver his first speech at a kick-off event at 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW.

After Washington, D.C., the Reclaiming Main Street campaign will continue in Oakland, Calif. and Sarasota, Fla. Additional stops will be announced, with most taking place in public libraries and other community institutions that are critical to a vibrant public life but are often overlooked.

“Community is a common enterprise,” says Harwood, founder and president of the Bethesda, Md.-based Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. “We can’t go it alone. There are specific things all of us can do to move the country forward.” Read more about the campaign in Harwood’s new blog, “Why I’m Embarking on a Campaign to Reclaim Main Street.”

Harwood should know; he has spent 25 years working with towns and cities across the nation to help them identify and solve challenges ranging from high unemployment and low high school graduation rates to increases in crime and poverty – but doing so in a way that actually builds the capacity of communities themselves. The Harwood Institute partners with such organizations as United Way, Goodwill, AARP, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the American Library Association to strengthen their ability to achieve impact and also deepen their connection to the communities they serve.

A visionary and prolific author, speaker and commentator, Harwood has inspired hundreds of audiences as he helps give voice to the aspirations people have for their communities and the country. An expert in helping communities work together on tough public challenges, he recently facilitated Newtown, Conn.’s unanimous decision on the fate of Sandy Hook Elementary, where 26 children and adults were killed in December 2012.

Harwood’s observations about public dissatisfaction with the government and elected leaders are chronicled in his latest book, “The Work of Hope: How Individuals & Organizations Can Authentically Do Good.” The book documents Harwood’s conversations with Americans across the country about politics and public life. Learn more about Harwood’s work and life here.

Harwood is available for interviews and can be reached at (301) 656-3669 or rharwood@theharwoodinstitute.org.