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


March 31, 2020
A Word from the Director | March 2020

We’re All in Improv Now

One of my family’s favorite shows is Whose Line Is It Anyway? The show, for those of you who haven’t seen it, involves actors reacting, in the moment, to random suggestions from the audience – about who they will be in a scene, what they are doing. It is, in a word, hilarious.

The past three weeks have been a global exercise in high-stakes improv, and it couldn’t be less funny. Over a 25-day period in North Carolina, we went from 0 to more than 1,000 confirmed cases; for those directly infected and their loved ones, the virus has changed everything.

But the improvisers – and the impacts — go beyond those facing the disease itself.

Read more »

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Get IEI Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates on Website Response Page

As we all find ways to communicate and move our work forward during the unprecedented circumstances surrounding this pandemic, the Institute for Emerging Issues has developed a central location on our website for all our news and updates regarding COVID-19.

This webpage will include helpful resources, IEI event-related updates, inspiring stories of North Carolinians helping each other, and more.

View more »

We Want to Hear From You

How are you doing? We're living through an unprecedented situation as we deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. We here at IEI want to check in with our friends and partners to see how you're coping. How are you (re)connecting in this time of community, economic, and public health disruption and uncertainty?

Tell us your story »
Meet Annie

Annie is a member of the 2022 Class of Park Scholars and is working with IEI on its Service Year NC project. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Annie took the initiative to start a video support group for her fellow Park Scholars.

"I recognized a need for a space to debrief all that was happening and then paired that with the potential our community has to be a stable foundation for many during such an uncertain time."

Read more »

Being a Good Neighbor During a Pandemic

Many of us are trying to find ways to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. For IEI's rural faith communities program manager Kylie Foley, serving her neighbors in Durham has been the priority.

"We can only do so much, and our neighbors need us. We need our neighbors."

Read more »

Helpful Resources for Parents and Caregivers

Need help talking to your kids about COVID-19? Running out of things to do with them at home? Our KidsReadyNC team compiled some resources for parents and caregivers from Education NC, PBS KIDS, Harvard Health & more.

View more »

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 177: Connecting in Crisis: Jeff Sural on broadband, Mebane Rash on education, and Rev. James Gailliard on faith
Episode 178: Connecting in Crisis - The Online Learning Dilemma with guests Keith Sutton, Jeff Cox, and Hope Williams

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

Audio of the episode is posted on our website the following Tuesday.

Listen and Subscribe »



Partner Spotlights

Broadband Infrastructure Office creates interactive map with offers from state internet service providers
In response to COVID-19, many North Carolinians are being asked to work and learn at home. To help ensure everyone has access to affordable, high speed internet, the Broadband Infrastructure Office at the North Carolina Department of Information Technology has created an interactive map with all low-cost and emergency offers from internet service providers in the state. North Carolinians can enter their address, and see which offers are available to them at their location. This map will be updated as new offers are put in place.
Learn more


Golden LEAF deploys $15M in funding to launch NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program
ROCKY MOUNT, NC – (March 24, 2020) – The Golden LEAF Foundation announces $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn more

--- Disaster Assistance
Opportunities across the state to volunteer and donate amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Learn more


Manufacturers find new purpose in COVID-19 crisis - Washington Daily News
Check out the work Martyn Johnson, head of the Beaufort County ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity team, is leading in Beaufort County to get businesses producing what we need right now to help with the COVID-19 crisis.
Learn more


WNC outdoor gear builders produce PPE in coronavirus fight - Asheville Citizen Times
Members of the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC are switching gears to do their part for the COVID-19 response. Outdoor Gear Builders are partners in the Growing Outdoors Partnership, which is a member of the ReCONNECT Rural and Urban community cohort.
Learn more


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