Paul Harder


Paul Harder founded Harder+Company Community Research in 1986 alongside a team of committed colleagues who envisioned a better way to help organizations use research and evaluation to strengthen their work and benefit their communities. Along with his peers (including his co-founder Barbara Kibbe), Paul helped to launch an industry that changed the way nonprofits, foundations, and public organizations evaluate and plan their work. Using an approach that blends rigorous research methods with thoughtful strategy, Harder+Company has helped thousands of organizations around the country increase their impact, and inspired dozens of researchers and analysts to enter the field and do the same. Today we continue to help our clients amplify the voices of underrepresented communities and work for a more equitable society.

Over the course of his career, Paul has become a nationally recognized expert in applied social research. He is particularly passionate about helping organizations design programs, initiatives, and policies through processes that are data driven and include community voice. He is deeply committed to working with clients in ways that create stronger, more strategic leaders and organizations. An experienced teacher and trainer, Paul has taught courses on evaluation methods, organizational development, and community engagement at the University of California, Davis, the University of San Francisco, and American University.

Upon retiring as CEO of Harder+Company in March 2018, Paul wrote on our blog about how the social sector has changed over time. After many years of living in Northern California, Paul and his family are now based in Los Angeles where they love the culture, diversity, and cuisine of their new home. Paul serves as a strategic advisor to some long-standing clients and serves on the board of directors of several nonprofit organizations. When he’s not working in the social sector, he can often be found practicing the mandolin.

  • Master of Arts, Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, concentration in planning and evaluation
  • Master of Business Administration, Public and Nonprofit Management, University of Chicago
  • Bachelor of Arts, Social Psychology, University of Chicago
Areas of Expertise
  • Arts + Culture
  • Children, Youth + Families
  • Health