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Tax Preparation and the Earned Income Tax Credit in Rural America

January 13, 2021

 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.

Unwrapping the Information to Action Framework

December 19, 2020

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.

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

December 15, 2020

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.

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

December 15, 2020

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:

Economic Mobility

December 11, 2020

Dozens of Charlotte small businesses have benefited from the city’s “Open for Business” program. ncIMPACT examines how this COVID-19 relief program is giving small businesses help when they need it the most. Economic Mobility – For More Information The Challenge … Continued

‘Tis the Season – 12 Days of Data

December 4, 2020

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.

Economic Impact of Historic Preservation

November 6, 2020

Historic preservation projects deliver economic benefits to communities in North Carolina. Towns hurt by textile factory and mill closures are collaborating with local government and community groups to implement adaptive reuse projects and incubator programs. Their innovation is paying off. Learn about Rocky Mount Mills and a brewery incubator program working to boost the local economy in Rocky Mount, NC.

Keys to Economic Recovery from COVID-19

October 29, 2020

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.

Workforce Credentials Increase Employability & Wages

October 23, 2020

Employers need workers for high-skill jobs. Workers need training beyond a high school diploma to access those jobs. And state governments need a certifiably skilled workforce to meet their education goals, attract industry and contribute to their economies. Increased attainment of credentials with labor market value is a priority in NC’s education attainment action plan.

ncIMPACT Initiative Director Anita Brown-Graham explores related challenges and collaborative solutions with these expert panelists:
– Scott Ralls, President at Wake Tech
– Jeni Corn, Director of Strategic Initiatives at myFutureNC
– Wendy Walker-Fox, Workforce Development Director at Piedmont Triad Regional Council

Rural Coworking Spaces

October 9, 2020

Entrepreneurs in rural communities face different challenges than those in urban areas. A less dense population means there may be fewer resources available for startups, including affordable office space, access to mentorship and training, or even connecting with relevant stakeholder or market networks. In eastern North Carolina, the City of Wilson partnered with RIoT and Greenlight to create Gig East, a coworking space in downtown that is also home to a startup accelerator program and other entrepreneurship programming.