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Facts That Matter Blog

At the ncIMPACT Initiative, we ground our research in the challenges faced by North Carolina’s state and local leaders and their communities. Through compelling story telling, the Facts That Matter blog shares data and evidence about collaborative problem solving efforts that chart a path forward in communities across the state. We share these stories for the benefit of other communities in pursuit of our mission to improve the lives of North Carolinians.






December 15, 2020

The Great Migration? Small Town Economics and a COVID-19 Population Reshuffle

Small towns may not be able to compete with large and mid-sized cities in terms of major amenities, but small towns have unique assets on which they could capitalize. Place-based strategies contribute to the development of the community and may make that community more attractive for remote workers. Prior to the pandemic, workers craved communities with peer support groups and places to foster creativity. Co-working spaces and other entrepreneurial supports can help develop rural communities into thriving areas full of creative connections.

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December 15, 2020

Innovations in the Face of Crisis: Keys to Economic Recovery from COVID-19

The ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government and NCGrowth at the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise partner to identify strategies that will help local economies recover more quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through robust data analysis, case studies, webinars, and peer learning sessions, NC local governments have access to some of the best economic recovery resources in the nation. Learn more about project findings and resources at https://go.unc.edu/KeystoRecovery. You may register for the final free webinar on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. using this link: https://go.unc.edu/s2N4T.

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December 4, 2020

‘Tis the Season – 12 Days of Data

On December 22, our holiday gift to all of you will be an Information to Action Framework that we believe will be useful as your community charts its economic recovery from the pandemic. But first, over the next couple of weeks, we’ll share some of the data snapshots that comprise our composite metrics.

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November 20, 2020

What Can We Do About COVID-19 LEARNING LOSS?

We might argue about the extent, but there is no question that learning loss is a concern and that local communities are scrambling to respond. Even so, despite the challenging outlook, the ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government remains optimistic about cross-sector innovation efforts, and the remarkable resilience demonstrated by those on the front lines as they adapt and evolve in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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November 20, 2020

Social Capital – Health & Economic Benefits of Connecting While Distancing

During COVID-19, social capital is proving to be a necessary ingredient for positive health and economic outcomes.

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November 8, 2020

Opioid Response Project Team Spotlight: Durham County

Dr. Wanda Boone describes the Opioid Response Project experience as extremely rewarding, not only because of shared information at forums, but because of the dialogue that happened during presentations and with speakers. “Presenters have been knowledgeable, respectful and open to hearing feedback,” said Boone. “The School of Government took time to think about the balance of speakers between novices and experts in the room, and to me, that was the most wonderful aspect of the project.”

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October 29, 2020

Keys to Economic Recovery from COVID-19

Community leaders emphasized the importance of public health messaging and precautions on both the individual and organizational levels. They identified mask wearing and rapid testing as major needs for their communities to be able to reopen and improve the local economy, especially in the leisure and hospitality industries, which are struggling under limited capacity. Community leaders also relayed concerns about the delayed financial impact on local governments as the federal CARES money dwindles. The community leaders described solutions they pursue, including local grants and loan programs to help sustain small businesses. They also emphasized the importance of regional and cross-sectoral collaboration in economic recovery, especially in larger communities.

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October 23, 2020

Opioid Response Project Team Spotlight: 2nd Judicial District

The statewide Opioid Response Project forums offered the teams support as they worked toward their collective impact goals. The team found the forums to be a great opportunity to get out of their silos and collaborate as a district.

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September 27, 2020

Cabarrus Mental Health Advisory Board – ORP Spotlight

The Cabarrus team is proud of their accomplishments and excited to have built what they hope is a sustainable collaboration for their county. In years to come, they hope to take action toward building a more supportive recovery community.

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September 2, 2020

Providing Opportunity for Youth – Scotland County

GrowingChange makes a difference in the individual lives of participants, as well as in the community as a whole. Youth cohorts are much less likely to be incarcerated and more likely to attend a college or trade school after participating in the program. These include Terrence Smith, who says that after being involved with GrowingChange, he can “handle himself in pretty much any situation, is more mature” and can become a “solution in his community, rather than a statistic.” The program’s model of youth leadership, prized by founder Noran Sanford, is a best practice for developing adolescents’ executive function and encouraging pro-social skills.

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