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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

The Secret Sauce to Improving Social Capital for Public Service Leaders

Effective social capital can be seen in everyday activities that build connections among people, from someone opening a door for a stranger to bringing a community together to solving a complex issue. Public service leaders must apply this knowledge of social capital to help build strong communities, grow trust, and establish a better future for all.

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Scouting and Social Capital – Improving Civic Engagement and Economic Mobility

The Boy Scouts of America, through its current work and through the methods identified here, can make a meaningful difference in improving civic engagement and economic mobility in the United States through the development of social capital among participants. This organization and others can play an important role in strengthening America’s social fabric and building connections among an increasingly fractured population.

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The Arts as an Economic Engine Blog

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released data and analysis of the economic impact of the US arts and cultural sectors for the year 2021 on the country’s overall gross domestic product (GDP). The report notes that these sectors comprised 4.4% of the nation’s GDP with just over $1 trillion, and art industries employed nearly 4.9 million workers in 2021.

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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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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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