Institute for Emerging Issues Monthly Digest - March 2020
Institute for Emerging Issues Monthly Digest - MAY 2020


May 29, 2020
A Word from the Director | May 2020

Grieving Together

Over the past 10 weeks, the Institute for Emerging Issues has been talking with our statewide and local partners to try to understand this confusing crisis we are going through. Through phone conversations, zooms, webinars, and emails we’ve been asking some pretty basic questions: what’s happening from your perspective? What can we do about it now? What might we do differently in the future to make it better?

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Andrea Harris
IEI Remembers Andrea Harris

North Carolina lost a great citizen on May 20. Andrea Harris died at the age of 72. Andrea spent 50 years standing up for the elderly, fighting for affordable housing, helping minorities in our state get businesses started, and advocating for the essential role of historically black colleges and universities. As we re-air our July 10, 2018 First in Future episode with IEI National Advisory Board member Andrea Harris, we pause to remember her lifelong commitment to serving our state and communities.

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Announcing ReCONNECT to Move Forward

In light of COVID-19, and consistent with our organizational mission to focus on the emerging issues of our time, the Institute for Emerging Issues has made some necessary adjustments to our ReCONNECT NC series. In consultation with our sponsors, we’ve cancelled our October 28 ReCONNECT to Health and Well-Being Emerging Issues Forum in Greenville and will instead focus on what we are have learned and are learning about reconnection roughly six months into the pandemic: we’re calling our new focus “ReCONNECT to Move Forward.” We will explore critical issues related to COVID-19 over the course of three large virtual meetings that will take place in September and October 2020. We plan to announce the meeting topics and dates in July.

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arc logo
IEI Receives ARC Grant to “ReCONNECT Western NC”

IEI will be working with eight of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) counties in Western NC to help advance community economic development, thanks to a $150,000 grant from ARC. We look forward to sharing news about their projects in the coming months.

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DI policy
Latest in Digital Inclusion Policy

The NC General Assembly is considering several bills that would increase broadband infrastructure across the state. Keep up with the latest in digital inclusion policy news on IEI’s DI Policy blog.

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IEI and Roanoke Electric Co-op Present Webinar Series on Broadband

Earlier this month, IEI partnered with Roanoke Electric Cooperative on a “Broadband & Beyond” webinar series. The three-part series on May 5, May 12 and May 19 provided updates on REC’s planned broadband rollout and shared timely information on ways to bridge the digital divide during the pandemic.

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Service Year NC Hosts Webinar Series for Service Organizations

SYNC has hosted a series of webinars for partners in the service year space to connect, support, and increase capacity during COVID-19. Topics included "Recruiting in Times of Crisis" and "Building Community in Times of Crisis.”

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Rural Faith Communities Team Hosts Faith Leader Weekly Conversations

Our Rural Faith Communities team have been hosting a series of "Open Space Faith Leader Weekly Conversations.” The team hosts these virtual conversations every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. for NC faith leaders (clergy, laity, and partners that work with faith communities) as a way to learn how folks in the faith space are doing and also what they are doing during throughout this crisis.

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First in Future: Connecting in Crisis
First in Future: Where Emerging Ideas Take Flight is a podcast that connects you with people thinking big thoughts about the future of North Carolina.
First in Future is currently presenting a special series called Connecting in Crisis where we explore how the state is responding to COVID-19. 

We want to hear what issues you'd like to learn more about. Contact us at with your ideas for Connecting in Crisis. 

Episode 194: Civic Conversations In Time Of Pandemic
Episode 193: James Ford and Lori Thomas of UNC Charlotte
Episode 192: The Way Back from Unemployment
Episode 191: CIO of the City of Asheville Jonathan Feldman

Subscribe and tune in for live episodes on Zoom and Facebook Live every Thursday at 9 a.m.!

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Partner Spotlights

NC Rural Center presents Rural Talk: An Advocacy Speaker Series
Rural Talk: An Advocacy Speaker Series is a 5-part webinar series hosted by the NC Rural Center’s advocacy program, Rural Counts. Rural Talk brings together the voices, expertise, and perspectives from thought leaders at the national, state, and local levels, representing the public, nonprofit, private, and philanthropic sectors to discuss key issues affecting rural North Carolinian’s—broadband, entrepreneurship and small business development, health, housing and water and wastewater infrastructure.
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