Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Meet the change leaders: Rich Harwood

Rich Harwood
Harwood Institute

Nevins is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and co-founder and board chairman of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

After working on more than 20 political campaigns and two highly respected nonprofits, Rich Harwood set out to create something entirely different. He founded what is now known as The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation in 1988, when he was just 27 years old (and is now its president). Soon after, he wrote the ground-breaking report “Citizen and Politics: A View from Main Street,” the first national study to uncover that Americans did not feel apathetic about politics, but instead held a deep sense of anger and disconnection.

Over the past 30 years, Rich has innovated and developed a new philosophy and practice for how communities can solve shared problems, create a culture of shared responsibility and deepen people’s civic faith. The Harwood practice of Turning Outward has spread to all 50 states and is being used in 40 countries.


Amid the division that often overshadows dialogue and the discord that drowns out understanding, a beacon of hope shines through Harwood’s current "Enough. Time to Build" campaign, a rallying cry for change and a blueprint for building the beloved community we aspire to be. It is a testament to the power of collaboratively turning outward towards each other, creating spaces where every voice is listened to and valued.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

This campaign is a response to the many challenges that disturb the soul of our society. It is an acknowledgment that we have had enough of the status quo, enough of the division and enough of inaction.

Harwood's approach to community engagement is a breath of fresh air in the stifling atmosphere of apathy that can sometimes prevail. The Harwood Institute champions the idea that communities are people, not problems to be solved. The "Enough. Time to Build" campaign is a clarion call to reimagine how we come together to create change. It is not merely about community engagement as an end but about re-engaging with our humanity. It is a commitment to the idea that change does not happen in silos or echo chambers but in the fertile ground of shared experiences and collective aspirations.

Harwood's strategy is rooted in what he terms "turning outward" – looking beyond the walls of our institutions and the boundaries of our comfort zones to see and engage with our neighbors truly. It is about listening deeply, not responding or fixing, but understanding and being present with one another. In turning outward, we acknowledge the interconnectedness of our lives and the strength that lies in our diversity.

The campaign urges participants to consider the public narrative we want to create. It pushes citizens to ask, "What are the shared aspirations of our community?" rather than "What is wrong here?" This shift in perspective is powerful. It moves us from a deficit mindset, which focuses on weaknesses and gaps, to an asset-based approach, which builds on the strengths and resources present within our communities.

The "Enough. Time to Build" campaign embodies this by fostering inclusive spaces where individuals from all walks of life can contribute to shaping their community's future. It recognizes that the wisdom to address our most pressing challenges does not lie in the hands of a few experts but the many who live and work within the community.

Harwood emphasizes that as we progress with this initiative, we must remember that building a community is not a project with a start and end date. It is a process, a journey that requires patience, persistence and a willingness to be transformed by the experience. The Harwood Institute's approach is not about quick fixes but about cultivating the conditions for sustainable change.

The "Enough. Time to Build" campaign is an invitation to act with intentionality and purpose. It is a commitment to build trust, bridge divides, and create a shared story of hope and possibility. It is a recognition that the time to build is now and that we are the architects of the future we wish to see.

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Harwood for the CityBiz “Meet the Change Leaders” series. Watch to learn the full extent of his remarkable work and perhaps you’ll become more civically engaged as well.

The Fulcrum interviews Rich Harwood, President of The Harwood Institutewww.youtube.com

Read More

People standing near 4 American flags

American flags fly near Washington Monument.

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A personal note to America in troubled times

Harwood is president and founder of The Harwood Institute. This is the latest entry in his series based on the "Enough. Time to Build.” campaign, which calls on community leaders and active citizens to step forward and build together.

I wanted to address Americans after the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump. Consider this a personal note directly to you (yes, you, the reader!). And know that I have intentionally held off in expressing my thoughts to allow things to settle a bit. There’s already too much noise enveloping our politics and lives.

Like most Americans, I am praying for the former president, his family and all those affected by last weekend’s events. There is no room for political violence in our nation.

Keep ReadingShow less
David French

New York Times columnist David French was removed from the agenda of a faith-basd gathering because we was too "divisive."

Macmillan Publishers

Is canceling David French good for civic life?

Harwood is president and founder of The Harwood Institute. This is the latest entry in his series based on the "Enough. Time to Build.” campaign, which calls on community leaders and active citizens to step forward and build together.

On June 10-14, the Presbyterian Church in America held its annual denominational assembly in Richmond, Va. The PCA created considerable national buzz in the lead-up when it abruptly canceled a panel discussion featuring David French, the highly regarded author and New York Times columnist.

The panel carried the innocuous-sounding title, “How to Be Supportive of Your Pastor and Church Leaders in a Polarized Political Year.” The reason for canceling it? French, himself a long-time PCA member, was deemed too “divisive.” This despite being a well-known, self-identified “conservative” and PCA adherent. Ironically, the loudest and most divisive voices won the day.

Keep ReadingShow less
Young girl holding a sparkler and wearing an American flag shirt
Rebecca Nelson/Getty Images

Three approaches to Independence Day

Anderson edited "Leveraging: A Political, Economic and Societal Framework," has taught at five universities and ran for the Democratic nomination for a Maryland congressional seat in 2016.

July Fourth is not like Christmas or Rosh Hashanah, holidays that create a unified sense of celebration among celebrants. On Christmas, Christians throughout the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. On Rosh Hashanah, Jews throughout the world celebrate the Jewish New Year.

Yet on the Fourth of July, apart from the family gatherings, barbecues and drinking, we take different approaches. Some Americans celebrate the declaration of America's independence from Great Britain and especially the value of freedom. And some Americans reject the holiday, because they believe it highlights the self-contradiction of the United States, which created a nation in which some would be free and some would be enslaved. And other Americans are conflicted between these two points of view.

Keep ReadingShow less
Fireworks on July 4
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

One country, one constitution, one destiny

Lockard is an Iowa resident who regularly contributes to regional newspapers and periodicals. She is working on the second of a four-book fictional series based on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice."

“One country, one constitution, one destiny,” Daniel Webster said in a historic 1837 speech defending the American Union.

This of Fourth of July, 187 years after Webster’s speech and the 248th anniversary of the signing of our Declaration of Independence, Webster would no doubt be dismayed to find his quote reconstrued by popular opinion to read something like this:

“Divided country, debated constitution, and as for destiny, we’re going to hell in a hand-basket.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Person holding an upside down American flag

A woman protests Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, by waving an upside down American Flag.

Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise via Getty Images

Distress signals: The American flag as a political weapon

Becvar is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and executive director of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund, the parent organization of The Fulcrum.

Comparing the year leading up to the 2020 presidential election to this year, it’s striking how much has changed in the American consciousness. The divisions that deepened after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection often seem irreparable. Once unimaginable discord with family, friends and neighbors has now become commonplace. This new reality includes a further divide over what the American flag represents.

Keep ReadingShow less