The Harwood Institute Partners with Leading Community Advocacy Group in Australia

Collaboration with Australia’s Local Community Services Association will enhance results, impact of neighborhood centers The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, in its first formal international partnership, is working with Australia’s Local Community Services Association(LCSA) to increase its members’ ability to achieve impact through their efforts and strengthen the conditions of the communities they serve.

The three-year initiative kicks off with a two-week trip to Australia in October led by The Harwood Institute Founder and President Richard C. Harwood, a community change expert who has spent more than 25 years working with people and organizations in communities across the United States to help them identify and solve pressing problems. The team will meet with local and national leaders and conduct a three-day training for 100 leaders from across New South Wales, where LCSA operates.

“This partnership enables us to develop public innovators in Australia and support them in turning outward so that they are using the community, not their conference room, as the reference point for their decisions and choices,” Harwood said. “We look forward to helping produce progress and positive change to people and communities across Australia.”

Public innovators are people with the mindset and skills to tackle a range of social, economic and educational challenges. The Institute will provide LCSA ongoing support through webinars, coaching calls and other tools.

Harwood also will deliver a keynote address for Community Centres SA, a state-wide consortium of neighborhood centers in South Australia.

“Our work with The Harwood Institute will help us ensure that the voices of all members of the community are heard,” said Brian Smith, Executive Officer of LCSA. The organization advocates on behalf of its network of locally run community and neighborhood centers that are community hubs providing a range of services to all members of communities. It has a special focus on families, children and the economically disadvantaged. LCSA is also partnering with United Way, Australia which will be working with LCSA to ensure the visit engages a wide cross-section of community leaders.

LCSA’s collaboration with The Harwood Institute came about after LCSA spent a year researching tools and partners that would enable neighborhood and community centers to function well, maintaining integrity to their roots, values and purpose in Australia’s fast-changing social, political and economic environment, Smith said.

He was drawn to the Institute in part because Harwood’s work emphasizes the importance of authentic community engagement in collective impact processes, ensuring that such efforts are undertaken with a deep focus on the context of the communities where these efforts unfold. Read Harwood’s article, “Putting Community in Collective Impact” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The Review also published a roundtable discussion featuring Harwood and other experts discussing community engagement and collective impact.

A prolific author, Harwood has produced dozens of studies on politics and public life and has authored books including “The Work of Hope: How Individuals and Organizations Can Authentically Do Good”; “Hope Unraveled: The People’s Retreat and Our Way Back”; and “Why We’re Here: The Powerful Impact of Public Broadcasters When They Turn Outward.”

He has been featured by 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, USA Today 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