Last Wednesday, Rich Harwood delivered the keynote address for the United Way Great Rivers Regional Conference. The more than 200 participants represented United Ways from 10 states. "The question we face," Harwood said, "is will we make hope real for every person in every community?" And he added, "Who will people trust to do this work?" In order to make hope real, Harwood argued that we must turn outward. And that doing so means focus on aspirations because "when we focus on aspirations we realize that we share something in common. When we share something, we can do something."
Harwood went on to explain the building blocks for turning outward: "know your community, focus on impact, span boundaries and grow public innovators." On this last building block, Harwood focused on the individuals in the room, asking them to take care of themselves, to sustain their spark, their energy, their drive. Ultimately, he said, "the most precious asset is your urge to do good."