Ruth Ann Harnisch: Investing In Social Change
Founder & President of The Harnisch Foundation; Co-Founder of SupporTED; Executive Film Producer; Pro Bono Coach; Magic Maker
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ruthannharnisch
Ruth Ann’s shape-shifting career began in the 1960s as a teen DJ, becoming an Emmy-nominated television news anchor/reporter, radio talk show host, and Op/Ed columnist. In 1998, she created the Harnisch Foundation, where her electrifying passion for social change continues to advance a myriad of projects promoting gender equity, diversity and the fields of coaching, journalism and social innovation. Recently described as the “the punk rock fairy godmother of feminism,” Ruth Ann’s current passions include funding women-owned startups, social impact films, and hundreds of crowdfunding campaigns. An IAC Master Certified professional coach, she currently splits her time between her pro bono practice and her work with the Harnisch Foundation. While you may have a tough time grabbing ahold of her Awesome Cape, which flies along the coast between the Hamptons and the Bahamas, the shimmer of her philanthropy can be seen far and wide.
Innovating in Field of Work:
• SupporTED: When Ruth Ann and Renee Freedman recognized that TED Fellows — a global network of 300 innovators and trailblazers from a spectrum of disciplines — could better maximize opportunities with the support of a professional coach, they recruited a carefully screened international network of professional volunteer coaches to coach for free. The program has been such a success, it spawned the TED Fellows Collaboratorium: a multi-day intensive coaching experience designed to support a select number of TED Fellows in achieving clearly stated outcomes.
• Sundance Institute Coaching Program: Building on the momentum and success of the TED programs, Ruth Ann and Renee Freedman have applied the same approach to The Sundance Institute’s Women in Film/LA Mentorship & Coaching Program. With their support, and another stellar group of professional coaches, a select group of US‐based independent women film producers and directors are shaping the next steps of their filmmaking careers.
• Awesome Without Borders: In 2013, The Harnisch Foundation created a chapter of The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences, an ever-growing, worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe. While the Awesome Foundation’s model distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators from a pool of ten or so self-organizing “micro-trustees,” Awesome Without Borders distributes these no-strings-attached grants weekly.
• The founding funder of the Institute of Coaching at Harvard’s McLean Hospital, the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University, and the Department of Journalism at Baruch College, Ruth Ann continues to trailblaze innovative frontiers
• Ruth Ann designated a million-dollar gift to the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, where she is an ex-officio member of the advisory board on which she served for many years. This gift qualified her for membership in Women Moving Millions, where she was among the first of a group that now numbers over 200 worldwide. She currently co-chairs WMM’s Film Circle.
• To date, Ruth Ann has provided thousands of grants and thousands of hours of pro bono services to change makers worldwide.
Harnisch dedicates her time to coach and mentoring professionals, without charge, to maximize their effectiveness and to make the most of their skills, abilities, and ideas. She coaches to inspire others to stand for what they believe in, and to become their most fully realized selves.
Reinvention / Risk / Momentum:
Recently, Ruth Ann brought her combined passion for philanthropy, equity and journalism to film as an Executive Producer. The yet to be named film and outreach campaign intend to raise and sustain awareness around the epidemic of sexual assault occurring on U.S. college campuses. By partnering with filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, who brought us the Oscar nominate Invisible War, Ruth Ann aims to show the proliferation of these crimes and expose the institutions actively covering them up.
“Ruth Ann’s heart is as big as her multiple creative visions.”