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How Change Happens

Over the past 30 years, we’ve learned that how we work together is as important as what we do. Embracing the latest fad, simply spending huge sums of money, or taking one-size fits-all approaches will not help society create the change people seek or re-invigorate Civic Faith. Indeed, there is no quick fix to most of the vital challenges society faces today. And certainly, we can’t wait for Washington, DC to solve our problems.

Our work shows that the central objective today must be to get communities and society moving in a more hopeful direction—creating a new trajectory, with growing momentum, and ever-expanding civic confidence.

  • To do this, we must start locally, where people can come together to make community a common enterprise and build a culture of shared responsibility.
  • Change often starts small, in order to go bigger. When such change happens, a certain dynamic is unleashed that sets in motion a whole host of cascading effects.
  • As initial ripples of action spread, momentum in a community starts to build, public will for working together in new ways along with a growing sense of common purpose emerges, the community’s capacity for change expands and deepens, and a new can-do narrative takes shape.
  • Over time what one sees is that a community is able to generate all-important staying power to stick with efforts and engage with entrenched issues. It is able to use its newly formed capacity to address new issues that arise.
  • The result is short-term wins, longer-term sustainability and a much stronger and more resilient community that can adapt to future challenges.

The Harwood Institute intentionally works with an array of people, organizations and groups in individual communities, networks and around the globe to create change and produce impact. Our impact strategy is based on society’s need for an assortment of people and organizations to take action from different angles, perspectives and locations. It’s what makes society strong sand vibrant.

When these various efforts are connected across communities, they roll up to help produce a new trajectory for society, with growing momentum, and ever-expanding civic confidence.

It is the power of these individual efforts, and the collective force that emerges from them, that will help to re-invigorate Civic Faith


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