Harwood Logan County Initiative is Underway

United Way of Logan County partners with the Harwood Institute on initiative to catalyze community-led change

Initiative seeks to build Logan County’s civic strength

Thursday March 14, 2024
For immediate release

Rich Harwood presents to 55 community members at the two-day Public Innovator Lab at the Hilliker YMCA.

Harwood Report


The United Way of Logan County has partnered with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation on an initiative designed to produce community-led, community-driven change. The initiative will aid the community in taking action on key issues that matter to people while strengthening Logan County’s civic culture so the community can accelerate and deepen its good work. At the heart of this initiative is the belief that by working together, the people of Logan County can build a shared and hopeful path forward.

Last month, 55 community members came together over two full days to learn the Harwood approach at a Public Innovators Getting Started Lab.  Out of this Lab, three cross-sector action teams formed to focus on Youth, Health/Mental Health, and Seniors. 

With support from the Harwood Institute and United Way of Logan County, the teams are getting in motion by engaging the community through conversations. Each team will use the public knowledge gathered in these conversations to take initial actions rooted in the community’s shared aspirations. Over time, these teams hope to unleash a chain reaction of actions that takes root, grows, and spreads throughout the community like a positive contagion.

"This project is just getting started and anyone with ideas and interest in making an impact for youth, senior citizens, and the overall health of our community are welcome to join us," said Dave Bezusko, United Way Executive Director.  

Orientation sessions are being planned with the next one set for the evening of Thursday April 11.  Contact Melody Couchman at (937) 592-2886 or melody@uwlogan.org to reserve your space or learn more.   

The initiative started with The Harwood Institute engaging hundreds of leaders and residents across the county. The resulting report, Forging a Bright Future: How Logan County Keeps Building, highlighted the need to strengthen civic capacities, build on existing good work, and address shared challenges.

“Logan County is close-knit, has great schools, and local pride runs deep. Still, the community is dealing with challenges and faces a critical choice: Stay on the current path and potentially stagnate or get on a more productive path by coming together to forge a bright future? In Logan County, the opportunity is ripe to build on the good while creating new ways to move forward together,” said Rich Harwood, President and Founder of The Harwood Institute. “That’s what this initiative is about.”


This initiative is designed to address specific issues while strengthening Logan County’s civic culture to foster an environment where people, organizations, and leaders work together in new ways. A similar initiative is underway in Union County in order to spread this work across the region.
Building on Forging a Bright Future: How Logan County Keeps Building, this initiative will catalyze longer-term change in the following ways: 

  • Public Innovators Labs – The Harwood Institute will host two in-person “Labs” for approximately 50 local leaders and residents. The Labs are a set of learning experiences that teach individuals the practice of Turning Outward so they can take action, create meaningful change, and unleash the community’s potential. 
  • Getting Started Lab – February 2024: The first Lab will introduce participants to the Harwood approach and mindset of Turning Outward. Lab participants will learn how change happens in a community; how to discern where the community is starting; how to engage people in the community about what matters to them; and how to show up more intentionally in their work and lives. 
  • Unleashing Impact Lab – Late 2024: The second Lab will help participants take intentional actions to unleash, grow, and spread a chain reaction of actions throughout their community. Lab participants will learn to strengthen their community’s civic culture; develop new ways to engage in ongoing learning; and stay grounded in the Turning Outward practice. 
  • Learn and Apply Webinars – The Harwood Institute provides a series of pre-recorded  “Learn and Apply” webinars for the community to use at specific points throughout the initiative. These webinars reinforce the Turning Outward practice and expand on important topics to help teams deepen their learning and accelerate progress.
  • Coaching of Action Teams – Harwood Certified Coaches will support three action teams made up of community leaders and residents who will apply the Harwood approach to take action on what matters to people in the community. 
  • Workspaces – Harwood Certified Coaches will design and lead three in-person workspaces for action teams, Lab participants, and other engaged community members and partners. The workspaces will promote the cross-fertilization of ideas, provide opportunities for troubleshooting, teach new areas of the practice, and accelerate and deepen the application of the practice. 
  • Orientation Sessions – The United Way of Logan County will host orientation sessions to welcome interested community members and leaders to get up to speed on the Harwood approach and join the action teams. 
  • Stories of Change – Over the course of Year Two, The Harwood Institute will document stories of change for Logan County that resemble the narratives in Rich Harwood’s book: Unleashed: A Proven Way Communities Can Spread Change and Make Hope Real for All. The Institute will work with local partners, Honda, and others in the area to share the story of change across the community. 

This initiative will take place between now and December 2025.  Coaching and workspaces will take place throughout 2024 and 2025. 

Local communities must shape and drive their own future. Logan County needs you to step forward and make a contribution. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved directly, please contact Dave Bezusko (dave@uwlogan.org) and Derek Robb (derek@uwlogan.org) of United Way of Logan County or Gabby Levet of The Harwood Institute at glevet@theharwoodinstitute.org. . 

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, MD. We equip people, organizations, communities, and networks with the tools to bridge divides, build capacity, and tackle shared challenges. Founded by Rich Harwood in 1988, the Harwood approach of Turning Outward has spread to all 50 states and 40 countries worldwide. Visit www.theharwoodinstitute.org to learn more.