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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.

January 25, 2021

Rural Coworking Spaces – Wilson County (Blog)

Coworking spaces are popular in metropolitan areas but can also serve as a solution to many challenges that entrepreneurs may face in a rural area. Wilson is one such rural community with a solution—a coworking space called the Gig East Exchange.

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January 20, 2021

Shifting Manufacturing to PPE Production – Alexander, Burke, Catawba, and Mecklenburg Counties (Blog)

The spike in demand for PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shortage, leaving many healthcare workers and other front-line workers at risk. In response, the Carolina Textile District, a regional manufacturer’s network, shifted their production to PPE.

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January 13, 2021

Tax Preparation and the Earned Income Tax Credit in Rural America

 Only about 80% of eligible individuals nationally claim the EITC, and folks living in rural areas are less likely to do so than those in urban areas. Given its importance to impoverished communities, the ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government is working on a Rural EITC Uptake Project with Rural Forward NC, the UNC School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families, and the NC Justice Center. This ongoing project is taking place in Beaufort, Edgecombe, Halifax, McDowell, Nash, Robeson, and Rockingham counties and is working to both understand the number of eligible individuals claiming the credit and reasons that the credit may go unclaimed.

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January 11, 2021

Designing Better Local Food Systems – Wake County (Blog)

North Carolina is the 10th hungriest state in the nation, with 604,000 households that do not have enough to eat. The Wake County Food Security Plan tackles hunger through a whole systems approach, examining not only hunger, but the social and economic context around the issue.

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January 4, 2021

Elder Abuse Prevention – Johnston County (Blog)

Elder abuse is a growing problem in the United States, with about 10% of elder adults abused in some way each year. Learn about how UNC School of Government faculty formed the North Carolina Elder Protection Network, and how Johnston County assembled a multidisciplinary team to combat elder abuse.

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December 19, 2020

Unwrapping the Information to Action Framework

The ncIMPACT Initiative has been collaborating with many of you leaders on the front lines, to learn how you have found effective paths forward during these once unimaginable circumstances. We have observed some relative consistency in the way decisions have been approached in communities across the state and the country. The Information to Action Framework distills our observations into a scaffolding that is usable and replicable, regardless of the size of your community or your available resources.

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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 You may register for the final free webinar on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. using this link:

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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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