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Your needs guide our work

We want to do more.

In response to North Carolina’s critical policy questions and building on the UNC School of Government’s 80 years of working with public officials throughout the state, we launched an applied public policy initiative.

Our work is informed by four clear messages we heard in conversations with leaders across North Carolina:

  • Today’s pressing challenges demand an interdisciplinary approach that assesses opportunities and impacts in both the public and private sectors.
  • Public officials often lack access to relevant data and deep analysis about complicated policy issues delivered from a neutral vantage point.
  • There are opportunities to use data to bridge disagreements in the process of seeking solutions, but how best to do this isn’t always clear.
  • Policy issues with competing interest groups can make it challenging to identify courses of action likely to produce consensus.

We aim to:

  • Provide civic leaders across the state with sound data, high-quality research, and rigorous analysis.
  • Work closely with policymakers and other leaders to share evidence-based insights and creative policy options for responding to the most important questions they face.
  • Enhance leaders’ understanding of innovative practices in North Carolina, across the U.S., and around the world.

Our work is strictly non-partisan.

While we may present policy options and describe their likely consequences, our work does not attempt to influence policymakers as they choose from among these options. We recognize that elected officials and public managers are responsible for working with stakeholders to make policy. We can support that process while respecting the fact that public servants have been entrusted with the responsibility to make hard choices based on their own experience, values, and information.

To learn more, read our Annual Reports

2019 ncIMPACT Annual Report – Updated

2020 ncIMPACT Annual Report

2021 ncIMPACT Annual Report

2022 ncIMPACT Annual Report

2023 ncIMPACT Annual Report






Facts That Matter

Mental Health Services Designed for Agriculture Workers 

Often a lonely and isolating profession, farmers experience increased rates of anxiety and depression. Studies find farmers have a higher than average suicide rate when compared to the general population. One solution serving farmers struggling with mental health concerns helps them talk to people they do feel comfortable opening up to: other farmers. 

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The ncIMPACT Initiative Approach to Cross-Sector Collaborations

What are cross-sector collaboratives? The short answer is that these collaboratives tackle challenges that are too complex for any single individual, organization, or even sector to solve alone. Sometimes referred to as “wicked problems,” addressing these challenges requires a wide range of expertise from diverse stakeholders working in the non-profit, for-profit, and government sectors. ncIMPACT Initiative specializes in bringing these stakeholders together.

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Student Thoughts on Student Success

If you’re a student today, it’s easy to feel like every academic term brings a new, history-making event. But COVID is in its own category. The pandemic has upended the educational landscape in huge and novel ways. The ncIMPACT Initiative team recently took some time to speak directly with students about the changing nature of school and youth engagement, and to learn more about the path they see ahead.

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Community Guide by Opioid Response Project

The Community Guide produced by the Opioid Response Project is available to assist communities interested in pursuing a similar process for addressing “wicked” problems using a collective impact model. While the Opioid Response Project is used as an example throughout this guide, the process, resources, worksheets, and lessons provided could be used to address any number of complex, inter-jurisdictional problems.

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Where are the Workers?

Coming off a busy holiday season, it’s probably clearer to many of us just how strained the American labor market is right now. Maybe you had to wait in a long line to check out while doing your Christmas shopping, or some of the ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal weren’t available on the shelf at the local grocery store. Maybe a friend wasn’t able to attend a holiday party due to a flight cancellation because of limited crew, or some packages were late to arrive on your doorstep. In each case, we can point to a tight labor market that’s yielded fewer workers where we need them, and disrupted the normal flow of goods and services to which we have become accustomed.

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Local Sustainability Goals in the Asheville Region

Local governments across North Carolina adopt resolutions committing to measures of sustainability and reducing carbon emissions, but western North Carolina often leads the way. Watch our PBS NC ncIMPACT Town Hall series episode on this topic by clicking the link at the end of the blog.

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Ensuring Student Success in 2021 and Beyond

North Carolina lawmakers set a goal of 2 million North Carolinians with a post-secondary degree or credential by 2030. Achieving this goal will keep the state economically competitive with an educated workforce, as well as improve economic outcomes for those with a credential. Education institutions, workforce development boards, and employers are implementing programs designed to help the state achieve this goal. Watch our PBS NC ncIMPACT Town Hall series episode on this topic by clicking the link at the end of the blog.

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Coastal Resilience in the Wilmington Region

In the past 5 years, Hurricanes Matthew and Florence caused massive amounts of damage in southeast North Carolina lasting for years beyond landfall. Municipalities and education institutions in the region are implementing measures to improve their resiliency in anticipation of future storm events. Watch our PBS NC ncIMPACT Town Hall series episode on this topic by clicking the link at the end of the blog.

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Affordable Housing in NC – The Challenge and Promise

The affordable housing issue is more complicated than finding a home. Recent studies highlight the link between a lack of safe, affordable housing and the impact that substandard housing has on residents’ health, particularly asthma cases in young children. North Carolina faces a shortage of affordable housing, so many North Carolinians live in substandard housing that impacts their wellbeing. A Greensboro community seeks innovative ways to bring community partners together to address these challenges. Watch our PBS NC ncIMPACT Town Hall series episode on this topic by clicking the link at the end of the blog.

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