In collaboration with The Harwood Institute, I wrote about the trust between local officials and residents in small and large communities around the U.S., and wrote and edited reports on three American cities struggling to improve education opportunity amid civic distrust and racial disparities.

“Seeking a New Relationship with Communities,” prepared with Taylor Newberry Consulting and supported by The Kettering Foundation, reveals a strained relationship between officials and the public and how leaders are seeking a new footing to help them reach past the public’s doubts about government and about traditional outreach and engagement methods.

In reports on Reading, Pennsylvania, Lexington, Kentucky and Clarksville, Tennessee, the team analyzed the fundamental structures and norms that shape opportunities for young people—including trust between families and schools, or the capacity of local organizations to cooperate with their communities, or each other. Based on Institute’s “public capital” framework, the reports offer paths forward to enact an education agenda and strengthen civic life.

The Harwood Institute equips people, organizations, communities and networks with the tools to bridge divides, build capacity, and tackle shared challenges.