Turning outward changes perspectives

Turning outward changes perspectives

Posted on August 14, 2015 by Pam Truitt

When you average 55 inches of rain annually, Floridians are accustomed to getting a bit wet, and summer is our rainy season. But earlier this month, we saw a deluge! The Patterson Foundation had arranged the ‘accelerate to action’ workshop for public innovators and it was rewarding that so many braved the weather to attend.

The Aspirations to Actions teams have been using the Harwood Institute's community engagement principles for nearly a year and this was the second workshop since the public innovator training. A range of topics were covered, but I will focus on two: success and capacity building—both community and organizational.

When the teams shared successes, the flip chart filled up with phrases related to building trust, gratitude from participants for inclusion, reaching out/listening, keeping promises and learning humbleness.

Building community capacity The focus was on community. Conversations revolved around shifting the conversation from ‘what are we going to become’ to ‘what can we do together.’ The process of turning outward included building trust, leveraging, and reaching past silos to make connections among people/agencies/organizations.

Organizational capacity - The conversation around organizational capacity centered on change and the recognition that not all change is comfortable, but it is constant. Having undertaken community engagement using the Harwood Institute's principles, the Aspirations to Actions teams are asking themselves probing questions: Is our mission still relevant today?

What have you learned from using the Harwood Institute's community engagement principles?


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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