Harwood: Turn Outward to Move Community Forward

Rich Harwood speaks at Metro Hartford Alliance Rising Star Breakfast; challenges community to think beyond itself

HARTFORD, CT - Rich Harwood had a question for those who attended the MetroHartford Alliance’s Rising Star Breakfast to ask themselves: “Am I living up to the pledges and promises I made to my community?”

Harwood, the founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation in Bethesda, Md., did not seek answers from the audience during his keynote address on Tuesday morning at the Bushnell. But he did encourage them to think through the question and make their own conclusion.

“It’s important to create impact, but we also need to engender belief,” Harwood passionately told the audience. The event also aligned with United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut’s Community Campaign kickoff. “People are yearning to come back in to public life and restore a sense of humanity.”

“If we want to move our communities forward, we need to turn outward,” added Harwood, noting United Way’s Community Conversations as one way to measure people’s aspirations in its 40-town region. “We must restore a belief in ourselves and one another.”

Eric Daniels of Robinson & Cole, the 2012 United Way Community Campaign chair, and Natalie Morris, of United Technologies and board chair, also spoke about the importance of turning outward and the work of United Way. In addition, the organization announced a goal to recruit 125 volunteers to serve as reading tutors and mentors. The number aligns with United Way Worldwide’s 125th anniversary, and “helps ensure our children enter school ready to learn and stay on track to graduation,” according to Daniels.

United Way is a dynamic, year-round movement focused on advancing the common good in our communities. We have the unique ability, vision and resources to bring together diverse stakeholders around a community vision of creating positive change to achieve long-lasting results. United Way Community Investment – the choice for positive change – is the giving option focused on advancing the common good. Our community priorities to advance the common good are:

  • Education: Children enter school ready to learn
  • Income: Families become financially stable
  • Health: Our community is healthy
  • Safety Net: Our basic needs are met