Last week, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation joined United Way Worldwide for the launch of its “Campaign for the Common Good,” a long-term, cause-related campaign to further engage people nationwide in the work of United Way. The campaign will mobilize individuals and organizations to take action rooted in their community to improve education, income and health. The Institute is United Way’s signature partner for the Campaign for the Common Good. Rich was part of the kick-off to support our partner and to reinforce Harwood’s commitment to helping local United Ways turn outward and act with greater intentionality so they can mobilize their communities to act for the common good. Held in the new Mary M. Gates Learning Center at United Way Worldwide headquarters, the event featured community leaders, local high school students and teachers as well as representatives from Microsoft and Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way Worldwide. These leaders and the more than 100 others in attendance, participated in short versions of community conversations that local United Ways are holding. These conversations use Harwood designed guides to create a different kind of dialogue, one that focuses on aspirations. During these kitchen table conversations people discussed their aspirations for their community, their issues of concern and what they want for education.
Rich Harwood hosted a panel discussion about the community conversations. Rich highlighted the importance of focusing on the aspirations of a community because, “knowing people’s shared aspirations gives us a sense of the trajectory they want to move their community towards.” Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way Worldwide, Allison Knox Academic Program Manager for Microsoft, a parent, a student from a local high school, and an educator; made up the panel. Using the Gates Center’s state of-the-art facility the panel was joined via live webcast by Karen Sprigle, Senior Vice President, United Way of San Diego County, Bill Kitson President United Way of Greater Toledo and Margaret Trahan, President, United Way of Acadiana.