Institute for Emerging Issues Monthly Digest - June 2020
Institute for Emerging Issues Monthly Digest - JUNE 2020


June 30, 2020
A Word from the Director | June 2020

A Declaration of Interdependence

A lot of people have been doing a lot of thinking about freedom and independence in the past month. It is the issue of the moment. 

Some of the thinking has happened around the June 19 celebration of the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when the final enslaved people in the final former Confederate state were declared “free.”

And some of the thinking comes with the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the intent of colonists to be free of British governance, free from being taxed without the right to participate in government. 

But we have also been thinking about the practice of those freedoms.

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IEI Announces New Grant Program to Fund Digital Inclusion Plans Across NC

IEI has partnered with the Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO) at the NC Department of Information Technology to create a new grant program called “Building a New Digital Economy,” or BAND-NC. With support from the John M. Belk Endowment, Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation, Roanoke Electric Cooperative and North Carolina Electric Cooperatives, BAND-NC will provide at least $300,000 in mini-grants to communities across the state. The program will support 30 $5,000 “rapid response community innovation grants” this summer, a series of workshops led by IEI and BIO to help communities develop their digital inclusion plans this fall, and another thirty $5,000 “implementation” grants in 2021. 

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Reginald B. Henderson and Brad Wilson join IEI National Advisory Board

IEI is pleased to announce the appointment of Reginald B. Henderson and Brad Wilson to its National Advisory Board. “Reginald and Brad have just the experience and deep commitment to North Carolina we are looking for on our National Advisory Board,” said Leslie Boney, director of IEI. “Their personal passion and professional perspective will help us to identify both what issues are most important and what we can start doing about them.”

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Highlighting Digital Inclusion Community Solutions

How San Antonio makes digital inclusion front and center in the city’s recovery efforts and how NC State supports rural students during the crisis; these and more stories of community solutions to bridging the digital divide.

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Spotlight on Policy

IEI is keeping a close eye on policies that have an impact on our state and North Carolinians. Follow along for updates on state and federal policies that may affect you.

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Service Year NC Updates

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 "Straight Talk about Race and Equity in the National Service Landscape” and “On-boarding Virtually During Crisis.”

SYNC is also launching a project which will allow individuals to share their stories of doing a year of service. If you would like to share your story, which will help us create vital resources for the Service Year community, please complete the form at the link below. 

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The Long Haul: Rest for Rural Faith Leaders?

This is the first in a series of blogs about how rural faith leaders across North Carolina are thinking of emerging issues around the coronavirus pandemic in their community. The weekly adaptations, challenges, and barriers rural faith communities are faced with make it hard to plan or strategize for future adaptations, challenges and barriers. We at IEI have been inspired by faith communities across the state talking through future questions, steps, and scenarios around the pandemic. 

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First in Future Podcast
For 11 weeks, First in Future: Connecting in Crisis focused on different aspects of the COVID-19 crisis, asking smart people across the state how we’re reacting and how we move forward in a productive way. We covered small business, entrepreneurship, mental health, food and hunger, reaching those who are hard to reach, law enforcement and the courts, impact on our religious life, the pathway back to work, and civic conversations. 

Now we’re in a new series called Jumpstarting NC, where we talk about what recovery looks like as we try to jumpstart businesses, government, schools and learning. 

Meanwhile, we're still bringing you weekly audio-only interviews with people thinking big thoughts about the future of North Carolina. 

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

Episode 203: Dr. Craig Friend on Independence Day (revisited)
Episode 202: Jumpstarting Connectivity - Eliminating the Digital Divide
Episode 201: Rev. James White on Juneteenth
Episode 200: Jumpstarting Local Government
Episode 199: Rebecca Tippett and Stacey Carless on the US Census
Episode 198: Jumpstarting Tourism

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

Listen and Subscribe »



Partner Spotlights

NC Rural Center presents Rural Talk Bonus Episode: Engaging Elected Officials
Thursday, July 9 at 11 a.m.
This session on engaging elected officials, will inform, engage, and activate YOU, our trusted rural advocates, and provide the tools you'll need to connect with your elected leaders. This session will include real-world examples, talking points, and advice on the best ways to engage your elected leaders in Raleigh and at home. Joining us is a stellar lineup of experiences lobbyists, legislative staffers, and policy wonks. They will shed light on the myths, misperceptions, and hard truths about how policy becomes law down on Jones Street -- and how YOU are a part of that process.
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The NC Chamber Urges North Carolinians to Unite in Voluntarily Following CDC Recommendations for Slowing Spread of COVID-19 & Relaunching Economy 
The NC Chamber recognizes that in order to keep employees, customers, and communities healthy and safe as well as achieve consumer confidence and statewide economic recovery, the business, health care, and medical communities must join forces. On June 19, the NC Chamber, North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA), and NC Medical Society issued a joint media statement urging residents to voluntarily practice CDC-recommended behaviors to limit the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face coverings in public and practicing social distancing. “Businesses should be able to reopen and stay open to relaunch North Carolina’s economy, but their effectiveness in getting us on the road to economic recovery depends on North Carolinians’ willingness to help us protect people by following public health recommendations,” said Gary Salamido, president and CEO of the NC Chamber. “These goals go together.”
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The NC Chamber Launches Podcast Series: Perspectives from Business Leaders on Relaunching North Carolina
North Carolina's business leaders have implemented creative and adaptive strategies to build resiliency in this ever-evolving environment while making people the priority. The NC Chamber recently launched a podcast series to share their stories. The first four episodes feature Allen Gant Jr., chairman of Glen Raven, Aubie Knight, CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents of NC, Ed Weisiger Jr., president and CEO of CTE, and Thomas Stith III, NC director of the U.S. Small Business Administration. 
Learn more 

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