The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation (USA) is pleased to announce a formal affiliation with Dr Michelle Lucas of CMM – Social Change (AUS). The Institute has invited Dr Lucas to become a Senior Fellow based on her deep experience and proven track record as a leader of collective impact and community-based projects.
The Harwood Institute is excited to share four new tools, created in partnership with the Indiana Association of United Ways, specifically to help United Way professionals deepen their impact in communities. These tools are primarily for United Way staff that have been trained in the Institute's approach through a Public Innovators Lab or Workshop.
Get Your Board Turned Outward
- Use this Board Engagement Checklist for practical tips on ways you can take advantage of Harwood tools and frameworks with your board to get them focused on community and supporting of your efforts to build the discipline of Turning Outward.
- Use this Board Engagement Roadmap to informally assess the extent to which your board is focused on community.
Strengthen Your Investments
- Use the Investment Tool to identify practical ways you can shift your investment model to be more focused on improving community conditions and not only funding direct services.
Engage Donors Better
- Many donors want more than to be check writers. This Donor Engagement Tool will give you some easy, practical ways you can make improvements to how you connect with current and potential donors.
- Use the Organizational Culture Tool to help you think about ways to spread the practice of Turning Outward across your United Way so that it isn't simply a set of practices for one team but a way in which the entire organization approaches its mission.
Want to Go Deeper?
Staff at nearly 250 United Ways globally have adopted our approach or used our tools and frameworks. If you want to learn the practice of Turning Outward, you can:
- Get trained through a Public Innovators Lab. Information on the next Lab, a virtual course, can be found here. You can now get trained without the expense and time of traveling at a reduced registration rate.
- If you prefer in-person training, stay tuned for dates for the next National Harwood Public Innovators Lab at United Way Worldwide later this fall.
- Work with us to train and coach your team and your partners in our practice. Learn more about our products or contact us to discuss.
Are you a Foundation program officer, a philanthropist or another kind of social investors looking for ways to do more with your dollars? The Harwood Institute wants to help you do that.
We partnered with the ten20 Foundation and Opportunity Child, two leading Australia-based social change organizations, to create a new, free and publicly available tool specifically for funders to better align their investments to the capacity of the communities they are trying to impact. Called the Funders Roadmap, this step-by-step guide will help you make decisions that are not only based on research and expert opinions, but also based on the ability of such efforts to actually work given the norms, networks, relationships and structures that exist in the communities you hope to impact.
The Funders Roadmap asks you a series of questions about your current or potential programs and strategic investments and provides guidance based on your answers. You can use the tool alone, but having a small team of people use the tool together often creates a better discussion about how to change or improve your funding efforts.
Download this tool today. You will find instructions in the document.
Want to Go Farther?
- Get trained in our Turning Outward practice and apply it to change how your organization approaches its work with grantees, partners and communities. You can find more about our next virtual training opportunity here.
- If you want to know more about how we can work with you directly to strengthen your impact and/or the impact of your grantees and partners, check out our products or contact us.
Help Us Scale Change Across the Globe
The Harwood Institute is entering an exciting new period of rapid growth and as such, is seeking a high-performing and results-oriented individual for the newly created position of Director of Systems, Scale and Impact. This individual would be part of an intentionally lean team working to build a new type of organization—one that can spread its approach leveraging distributed network capacity while maintaining its bottom-line sensibilities.
- Develop and/or identify and implement the systems needed to further scale the Institute’s products, approaches and messages
- Enhance processes and systems for managing the Institute’s training and coaching programs, particularly as it relates to tracking progress and measuring results
- Improve approaches to database management, name and contact information collecting
- Streamline, automate and digitize back office financial and accounting procedures
- Improve efficiency and effectiveness of the processes and systems that support online training products
- Support the staff in developing the habits, norms and behaviors required to work within new systems
- Support some essential back office functions as needed (managing relationships with benefit providers, IT vendor, general office management)
- Expertise in systems engineering in high-growth organizations
- Experience developing and driving culture/habit changes around new systems
- Strong knowledge of the theory and practice around scaling products and services
- High level of experience with computer technology, particularly databases, project management software, and financial and accounting systems
- Top performer with a consistent track record of accomplishment
- Experience delivering results with a small team in resource-constrained environments
- Excellent interpersonal and “people management” skills
This is a full time position with benefits based out of the Institute’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md.
The Harwood Institute has a strong commitment to building a culturally diverse and inclusive team. We encourage women and minorities to apply. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status.
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Harwood Institute is pleased to announce that Cheryl Gorman is the first recipient of the Harwood Public Innovator Excellence Award. The Institute will present this award to individuals who embody what it means to be a public innovator, demonstrating their ability to create positive change in people’s lives with courage, humility, and integrity. Gorman accepted the award at the Institute’s Board of Directors meeting in Bethesda, Md., Feb. 1.
“In creating this award, we knew it was important to find an initial recipient that truly embodied the kind of person we had in mind,” said Rich Harwood, president and founder of the Institute. “It was clear to others and to me that we needed to start with one of our own and that Cheryl fit the bill.”
Gorman, a Harwood senior fellow, certified coach and representative of the Institute in Canada, is a proven change leader. Through her various roles with the Institute, she has helped hundreds of leaders in communities across the U.S., Canada and Australia learn to Turn Outward and create more impact through their efforts to solve public challenges and strengthen communities.
Gorman owns a consulting practice, Integrare Consulting, and has worked with organizations including the HR Council of the Nonprofit Sector, United Way Worldwide, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy and United Way Centraide Canada. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Management and Development, specializing in large-scale system change, from Fielding Graduate University, an Honours BA from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University, a Teacher’s Certificate from the Province of Ontario and a Principal’s Certificate from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She is a former educator, committed volunteer and has served on local and national nonprofit boards.
We will have more information on how you can nominate people for the Public Innovator Excellence Award in our April 2017 newsletter.
Opportunities for studio associates
Rich Harwood, president and founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, is creating a studio within The Harwood Institute to support special efforts to advance new ideas for strengthening communities and society in a rapidly changing world. He is looking for two studio associates to begin work this year.
The studio will explore topics such as:
• The emergence and meaning of a new American narrative;
• The importance of belief and a can-do spirit in moving communities and countries forward;
• New mechanisms and spaces for bridging societal divides and engaging individuals in collective efforts;
• A new approach to shared responsibility in communities;
• The role of civic rituals in society; and
• The renewed role for the human element in civic and political affairs.
The Studio Concept
Studios have long existed as a combination workshop and space where the act of reflection can merge with acts of production. Studios have been filled with associates who both seek to contribute to those efforts, while developing their own ideas and skills. Located within the Institute, the studio will allow Rich and a high-performing team of individuals the opportunity to innovate together, as well as advance and incubate new ideas, projects, and initiatives.
Studio Associate Position Description
This is a tremendous opportunity for individuals who are seeking an intense, purpose-driven experience, who want to be part of a larger effort to advance new ideas for communities and society, particularly at a time of growing division and inwardness throughout the U.S. and elsewhere. Studio associates will work directly with Rich, a national leader whose practice, methods, ideas and approaches have helped shape the field of civic and community change for nearly 30 years.
Studio associates will support Rich in:
• Developing a series of new groundbreaking books, including conducting research, interviews, compiling background materials, and serving as a thought partner and sounding board.
• Creating new ways to spread critical ideas emerging from the studio, including new articles, special reports and projects. Specific work would include drafting ideas and materials for written pieces; researching content and ideas for possible convenings; and developing concepts for new delivery mechanisms like podcasts, innovative collateral, and new courses.
• A consultant or coach who wants to expand their professional experience and knowledge;
• A recently retired individual or stay-at-home parent seeking a new opportunity;
• A graduate student wanting to explore important areas; or
• A full-time employee whose employer sees this an important professional development opportunity.
Studio associates must possess the following skills:
• Excellent writer
• Strong researcher
• Conceptual and synthetic thinker
• Good communicator
• Personable and strong sense of humor
• Very focused, disciplined, and rigorous
• Internal standard of excellence
• Enjoys working as part of a team
• Minimum of 20 hours per week
• One-year commitment
• Up to $12,500 stipend
• Must work in the Institute’s Bethesda, Md., office
Studio associates will:
• Attend a Harwood Public Innovators Lab
• Participate in an annual Harwood Summit
• Shadow Rich Harwood in Harwood Institute meetings for learning and exposure
Send letter of inquiry about your interest along with your qualifications to Grady Lenkin, special assistant to Rich Harwood, at GLenkin@theharwoodinstitute.org.
The Harwood Institute is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
About The Harwood Institute
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. Founded by Richard C. Harwood in 1988, the Institute partners with some of the world's largest nonprofits and organizations; its tools and frameworks are utilized in continuity across North America, and have been adopted globally by communities in more than 40 countries worldwide.
About Rich Harwood
Rich Harwood is founder and president of The Harwood Institute. For more than 30 years, he has devoted his life to transforming communities and changing our public discourse. Rich’s work has included helping communities deal with issues related to the environment, healthcare, improving public education, and healing from disasters. In 2013, he led the community process in Newtown, Connecticut, to determine the fate of the Sandy Hook School, where 20 children and 6 adults were tragically murdered on December 14, 2012. He has authored a number of books and articles on the state of politics and public life, and has spoken extensively on these subjects over the course of his career.
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.”
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.”
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."
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.
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.
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 ZionsvilleEducationFoundation.org.
To see original article visit here.
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.
Follow Richard C. Harwood on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RichHarwood
Rich Harwood is keynote speaker for nonprofit conference
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 www.uwp.edu/ce.
To see original post, visit here.
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!
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.
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.
ALA, Harwood Institute release new tools to help libraries lead positive community change
For Immediate Release Fri, 08/14/2015
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.”
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.
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.
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."