The Power of Story

I have seen the transformative power of story. Stories touch the heart and change behaviors. Stories burn deeply within each of us. Stories are what make us human. We tell stories to connect with each other. Stories are human currency. Stories have the power to bring us together to share and heal. In 2016, I met an amazing woman, Thuhang Tran. Born in Saigon near the end of the Vietnam War, Thuhang was two-and-a-half years old when she contracted polio which left her legs partially paralyzed. Thuhang and I co-authored her personal odyssey in Standing Up After Saigon.

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Administrator & Office Manager (full or part time)

The Harwood Institute For Public Innovation is seeking an Administrator & Office Manager. The Administrator & Office Manager will provide logistical support to the President of the organization. The Administrator & Office Manager will also provide critical office management and logistical support to the larger organization. This is an excellent opportunity for an individual who wants to be part of a fast growing, highly entrepreneurial and impactful team dedicated to tackling shared problems in communities and society.

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Announcing Rich Harwood Speaking Tour

Rich Harwood, President and Founder of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, is launching a yearlong multi-city tour to speak about how we can get on that more hopeful path. To get the country moving in the right direction, these efforts must start in our local communities. We cannot afford to wait for Washington, DC. We invite you to host a tour stop and bring this important message to your community.

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Studio Associate

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.

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Expanded partnership with Tallahatchie River Foundation

The Harwood Institute will be working with the Tallahatchie River Foundation in a statewide effort to advance the conversation around early childhood development issues in Mississippi, and build capacity for action and leadership. This effort builds on a current initiative with the Foundation to train and coach leaders in the Mississippi Delta Region.

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Rich Harwood to speak at United Way events this spring

Rich Harwood is the headline speaker for two United Way-sponsored events coming up in Lafayette, LA, and Lebanon, PA. The Institute has been a long-time partner with United Way Worldwide in supporting local United Ways in transforming their work in communities to mobilize collective action in the areas of education, income, and health.

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South Eastern Sydney Local Health District launches expanded partnership

The Harwood Institute recently completed a Public Innovators Lab training for 40 staff and partners of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD). Over 18 months, Certified Harwood Coaches—including two Australian coaches— will be supporting participants in generating strategies and actions that make SESLHD and its health resources more relevant, significant and impactful in the life of the community, particularly in its emerging place-based work.

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Newspaper wins award for coverage of local Harwood initiative

Congrats to former Winchester Sun reporter Seth Littrell, whose coverage of The Harwood Institute’s initiative with the Greater Clark Foundation in Clark County, KY, garnered 1 of 21 Kentucky Press Association Awards earned by the Sun this year. Publisher Mike Caldwell is one of dozens of community leaders adopting our ideas and practices to strengthen the community.

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Our Path to Engagement, Learning, and Stewardship

How do we engage with our community in a more meaningful way? How do we make the user experience the center of all we do? What impact are we having and how do we measure it? In an effort to better answer those questions and make a tighter connection between library objectives and the broader needs of the community, the Oak Park Public Library embarked on a journey to “turn outward.” Following the Harwood model for community engagement, Oak Park has made strides in unifying its internal operations and strengthening strategic partnerships. Its intention is wider and deeper community impact.

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Finding Meaningful Audience Connections

Connecting with the Harwood Institute was a turning point for the Sciencenter, a community-based science museum in Ithaca, New York.  We were able to chart a new course that empowers literally all young people in our community to reach toward their potential, while at the same time gaining support that had the effect of securing the Sciencenter financially for years to come.  (Read More)

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About my Harwood Experience: From Sit-Ins to Conversations

I didn’t expect to cry when I stood up in front of 125 people in Atlanta, Georgia last week. It wasn’t until I was handed the microphone and opened my mouth to speak that I realized that tears were trying to spring forth. I had to pause to stop the croak of sobbing which tried to come from my throat. I had to pause several times. I want to cry now as I am writing this to you—to you, my community. 

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One Small Win Creates Huge Ripples of Change

The Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) team from Red Hook Public Library used their training to engage residents in their small town. They learned people were frustrated that problems in their community—even obvious ones—often went unaddressed. The only stoplight in town, which didn’t work properly, was emblematic of their concerns and came up in many discussions with residents. The LTC team took action and brought officials together to figure out how to x the problem. This seemingly small act sent a signal to the community that it was possible to make things happen, which has led to people stepping forward to work together on other issues that are keeping Red Hook from being more livable and connected. The library is playing a central role in convening these groups and has become a model for how other organizations want to work in the community.

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