Rich Harwood, Founder and CEO of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, met with grantmakers and their guests in a special MAG meeting on October 9th. During the meeting, Harwood summarized the mission and purpose of the Institute, pointing out that the institute teaches and coaches people and organizations on ways to solve pressing community problems by working together to identify and develop strategies for addressing challenges ranging from high unemployment and low school graduation rates to crime and poverty.
Harwood spoke on the importance of evidence based decision making and how, sometimes, it should not be just about the quantitative data that can be used to create and accelerate meaningful community change, but rather it should include qualitative data that comes from hearing the authentic stories and aspirations of community members. These stories and aspirations provide “public knowledge” that can be invaluable in identifying and implementing effective strategies to positively impact children, families and communities.
In his comments, Harwood also spoke at length about Americans being “builders” in the sense that part of the American psyche is to get engaged and join with others to build/find solutions to problems. It’s this sense of joining together to make positive change happen that can build relationships among diverse populations in communities.
For more information about Rich Harwood and The Harwood Institute go to their website: www.theharwoodinstitute.org
Harwood’s visit with MAG members was part of MAG’s on-going efforts to bring national experts to Mississippi to interact with grantmakers around priority issues. Special funding for the visit was provided by MAG, the Walker Foundation and the Molpus Foundation.
Check out more images from the meeting below.