Human Interaction Research Institute

More About the Human Interaction Research Institute

The Institute had seven key areas of work:

Nonprofit Capacity Building - For 25 years HIRI was a national leader in research and interventions concerning nonprofit capacity building, including some of the first studies about the role of philanthropy in this area. The Institute also supported the development of local infrastructure for capacity building in Los Angeles, South Florida, Upstate New York and North Carolina. This work is summarized in:

Community Collaborations - The Institute explored many dimensions of how partnerships or coalitions contribute to the cycle of innovation and change in communities, including strategies for evaluating collaborations and related work on philanthropic partnerships. This work is summarized in:

Philanthropy - Over more than 25 years, HIRI studied and intervened with numerous aspects of how foundations and individual donors contribute to change in communities. The Institute’s portfolio of philanthropy studies focused on how foundations contribute to dissemination of innovations, and on philanthropic trends in capacity building. Other work explored foundation collaborations, learning networks in philanthropy, how foundations and individual donors interact, and transformational change in foundations. This work is summarized in:

Dissemination & Utilization - From its inception in 1961, HIRI explored the challenges and opportunities of promoting the dissemination and implementation of innovations (especially evidence-based practices), highlighting the complex human dynamics of this process. This work is summarized in:

Health Communication - HIRI specialized in the study and facilitation of behavioral approaches to changing individual and group behavior concerning public health issues like substance abuse and HIV prevention. This work is summarized in:

Health & Human Services - HIRI’s long-time research interests concerning innovation and change in the health and human service fields, especially regarding services for vulnerable populations, are presented in:

Arts & Culture - HIRI’s research and interventions had many applications to the arts and culture realm. Projects included national and regional research on arts programming, and technical assistance consultation on a foundation’s national grantmaking in this realm. This work is summarized in:

The work on the psychology of creativity of HIRI's President, psychologist Thomas E. Backer, PhD, is overviewed in these two articles: