Conference Center

The Harwood Institute Initiative

Alamance County Initiative to Catalyze Community-led Transformation

A Partnership of Impact Alamance and The Harwood Institute

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that for over 30 years has equipped people, organizations, communities, and networks with the tools to bridge divides, create a culture of shared responsibility, and build a community’s civic capacities. The Harwood Institute’s Turning Outward practice has spread to all 50 U.S. states and 40 countries. A growing network of thousands have adopted the approach and made it their own.

Impact Alamance has forged a partnership with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation on an initiative to spur community transformation in Alamance County.

There are two primary goals of this initiative: (1) generate community-led transformation on concerns that matter to people; (2) strengthen the civic culture of Alamance County so the community can take effective, sustainable action.

At the heart of this initiative is the belief that, by working together, the people of Alamance can build a more inclusive, hopeful path forward. 

Together, the Harwood Institute and Impact Alamance have engaged residents and community leaders to understand the key issues and underlying community conditions that make up Alamance by conducting in-depth interviews. In November 2022, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, in partnership with Impact Alamance, released the report, Alamance Choosing Hope, which illuminates how people across the county see and experience life in Alamance. It also highlights key areas for strengthening Alamance’s civic culture so people can come together to determine how to move forward. The full report can be viewed below.

The next phase of this work involves unleashing action based on the report. In February, The Harwood Institute hosted a two-day Public Innovation Lab at Impact Alamance. More than 50 people from Alamance County participated in the lab. From the lab, six teams have formed to work on specific issues identified in the report. These teams are:

  1. Schools
  2. Health
  3. The Arts
  4. Bridging
  5. Faith
  6. Narrative


Each team has been paired with a coach from the Harwood Institute to begin putting the Harwood learnings into practice. Teams are meeting regularly with their coaches and will be continuing to gain public knowledge about the community over the next few months. Coaches will be working in Alamance County over the next three years.

Impact Alamance and The Harwood Institute believe deeply that local communities must shape and drive their own future. We hope that you will want to become a part of this important initiative. If you do, contact our Community Engagement Manager, Jewel Tillman at 336-395-7009 or email

We’re often talking about civic engagement more on one level topics, which can get technical really quickly, but tonight, we struck at the heart of what I hear every day in the community which is talking about trust and vulnerability. This conversation left me curious and wanting to lean into that discomfort of vulnerability.”