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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.

August 27, 2020

Mecklenburg County Opioid Task Force Spotlight

In such a large, urban community, the team faced challenges gaining attention as a top priority. Participation with the Opioid Response Project helped them better define their task force and the issue they were working to address. That focus helped them get more attention at the county level. The team was also quite large and composed of busy community leaders, so they benefited from the structure the Opioid Response Project provided. “We needed a system for holding us accountable for follow-through,” said Beaton.

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August 24, 2020

NC Local Government Early Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Local government leaders are on the front line, helping their communities navigate a health and economic crisis whose duration is uncertain. The ncIMPACT Initiative’s COVID-19 survey sought to track how these elected and appointed leaders viewed their early COVID-19 world—and the actions they were taking to respond.

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July 30, 2020

Early Childhood Action Plans – Transylvania County

Families in Transylvania County and the surrounding area benefit from the work of Get Set Transylvania. With a high concentration of resources and strong support network for young children, the initiative encouraged some families, like that of Kadie Sanders, to move there after driving over one hour for a year to take advantage of the programming.

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July 22, 2020

Forsyth Opioid Project Team Spotlight

Making new connections and sharing resources are the primary benefits from the Forsyth team’s experience with the Opioid Response Project. “We need new ways to rethink how we work,” said project manager Amanda Clark, a health educator with the Forsyth Department of Health. “There are resources out there but finding out what works well and how to implement new ideas can be a challenge. This project helped connect us, bringing the right people to the table to tackle big issues in new ways.”

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July 15, 2020

Talent Recruitment & Retention: Work in Burke – Burke County

Work in Burke, rather than working with a single company or industry, uses its collaborative partnerships to highlight the variety of jobs available in Burke County and how students can gain the skills they need to be successful. This program has been replicated in other places as a scalable solution in workforce development to connect education and employers.

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July 8, 2020

Urban Broadband – Mecklenburg County

Both Digital Charlotte and the CDIA are recognized as leaders in the nation for this work and can inform efforts in other communities. CDIA’s goal of digital inclusion touches on themes of racial, age, socioeconomic, and educational equity. Bruce Clark, the executive director of Digital Charlotte, says it can have a profound positive effect on individuals and families. “No child should have to go to the public library or buy a Coca-Cola at a restaurant in order to do their homework,” he says in an interview. Affordable internet access in the home and having a computer, rather than just a smartphone, are some of the key metrics by which the CDIA is measuring, and reducing, the digital divide in Charlotte.

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July 1, 2020

Rural Broadband – Yancey and Mitchell Counties

A $25.3 million Community Connect Grant from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service in 2010 made it possible for a collaborative partnership between the counties and Country Cablevision to install fiber optic cables in Mitchell and Yancey Counties. Mitchell and Yancey Counties now have over 97% of homes and businesses connected to high-speed fiber optic broadband, with speeds up to 100 megabits per second for homes and 1 gigabyte per second for businesses. These are some of the fastest speeds in the state, competing with metro areas like Charlotte and Raleigh.

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June 25, 2020

Affordable Teacher Housing – Dare County

Since teacher pay in North Carolina is generally based on years of experience, many monetary incentives for teacher recruitment and retention are not particularly effective or sustainable. Therefore, other types of incentives, like affordable housing guarantees, can be a tool for school systems that struggle with turnover and/or local housing affordability.

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June 16, 2020

Overcoming Health Disparities – Edgecombe County

Health outcomes vary by racial and ethnic background in North Carolina. Length and quality of life are worse for Native Americans and African Americans. Racial disparities begin early, as African American babies are more than twice as likely to die during childbirth than white or Hispanic babies in North Carolina. Additionally, a Black woman in North Carolina is three times more likely to die from childbirth than a white woman.

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June 10, 2020

Responding to Energy Poverty – Halifax and Northampton Counties

According to U.S. Census data in 2015, more than 288,000 households in North Carolina live at up to 50 percent of the poverty line, and face energy burdens of 35% or more. Another 371,000 households in North Carolina live at 51% to 100% of the poverty line and face a 19% energy burden. These data indicate that more than 650,000 households in North Carolina spend approximately 20% or more of their household income on energy costs.

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