New book The Work of Hope highlights people’s need to end divisiveness and acrimony in society

Author Rich Harwood shines light on the issues facing communities across the country and how people can work to restore faith in themselves


Bethesda, MD (November 12, 2012)The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that inspires and guides people to take action rooted in the community and stay true to themselves, has published a new book written by Richard C. Harwood, The Work of Hope. Stemming from conversations Rich had in diverse communities throughout the country in 2011 and early 2012, the book shows that fixing politics or even the economy won’t fix what is broken in the country.

More than two decades ago, Rich released the groundbreaking report Citizens and Politics: A View From Main Street America, the first major study to reveal people were not "apathetic" about politics and public life, but rather felt disconnected and pushed out. In this follow-up book twenty years later, Rich learned that society has changed, that people’s worries are more distinctly human.  The major insights Rich found are:

  • The endless acrimony, division and noise of our politics and public life make people feel like they live in the Tower of Babel.
  • An endless push for instant gratification now drives our daily behaviors and our unwillingness to make the investments we need.
  • We must get back to basics to ignite more compassion, openness, humility and concern for the common good in daily life.
  • Americans must kick-start a new trajectory for the country through actions that start small and locally – where we can rebuild trust, relationships and confidence.
  • The central task is to restore belief in ourselves and one another that we can get things done, together.

“The book captures Americans’ desire to reengage and reconnect with one another in the public square, and their yearning for humanity and humility in public life and politics,” said Rich, founder and president of The Harwood Institute. “These aspirations are reflected in my work in communities throughout the country and align with the Institute’s mission to spark fundamental change and authentic hope in American public life.”

Implications from The Work of Hope can be applied across a variety of channels – from how President Obama engages with Republicans in the House and ways in which religious organizations can better communicate with potential followers to steps corporations can take to have a more meaningful impact in a community and ways individuals can see and hear one another amid all of the noise and acrimony in our society.

The Work of Hope was funded by the Kettering Foundation and published by the Kettering Foundation Press, with a foreword from its president, David Mathews.

Following the release of The Work of Hope, Rich will embark on a 2013 national community tour in which he will speak to audiences on how they can turn outward toward their community to make greater impact and create positive change. For more information on the book or tour, visit

About The Harwood Institute:

Founded by Richard C. Harwood more than twenty years ago, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks nothing less than to spark fundamental change and authentic hope in American public life. The Institute is a leading change organization that inspires and guides people to turn outward, make more intentional choices, take action rooted in the community and stay true to themselves. For more information, please visit

 Media Contact:

Mike Wood - - 301.656.3669