National Expert Explores Importance of Community in Collective Impact Work

April 8, 2014, Bethesda, Md. -- Richard Harwood, a national expert on transforming communities and overhauling the country’s political discourse, explores in an article published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review why leaders and organizations must include communities to achieve collective impact. “At times, the very nature of community seems like an afterthought, even a nuisance,” Harwood asserts in Putting Community in Collective Impact. “But no matter how many leaders and organizations join an effort or how well thought-out and rigorous their plan, it is simply not possible to impose a strategy on a community. To be successful, they need to work with the community.”

Harwood is founder and president of the Washington, D.C.-area Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. He has spent more than 25 years teaching and coaching people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. Harwood also has written and spoken extensively on the country’s corrosive politics and the need to find a better way forward.

Harwood is currently on a nationwide tour, Reclaiming Main Street,that includes a plan to train 5,000 public innovators and recruit a 100,000-person public innovator corps by 2016. Using the institute’s tools, these ‘change agents’ will strive to improve their communities by helping people work together more effectively.

A prolific author, Harwood’s studies have chronicled the most vital issues of our time. His books include “The Work of Hope: How Individuals and Organizations Can Authentically Do Good”; “Hope Unraveled; Make Hope Real”; and “Why We’re Here: The Powerful Impact of Public Broadcasters When They Turn Outward.” He has appeared on hundreds of media including MSNBC, NPR, CNN's Inside Politics and the Don Lemon Show, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Special Report with Brit Hume, C-SPAN and in international press such as German Public Radio, China Central Television and Voice of Russia Radio.

Learn more about Harwood and his inspirational personal journey. To schedule an interview, contact Jennifer Packer at or call 301-656-3669.