In 2018, the Institute for Emerging Issues embarked on a three-year journey called “ReCONNECT NC.” With significant challenges affecting our state’s long-term economic competitiveness and growing societal divisions across politics, geography, race, and income, it was clear that our state would be unable to move forward without repairing our connections – to one another, to our communities, and to our state. In many cases these connections must be created anew – we may need to build bridges we haven’t walked before.
Since Emerging Issues began its work, we’ve discovered more than two dozen communities (or multi-community coalitions) building civic strength, finding the mutual interests of rural and urban areas, building ladders to opportunity, getting technology into the hands of those who need it most, supporting mental health and well-being. In other words, we’ve found people and places doing the hard, persistent, day-to-day work that connects us, and we’ve offered them a platform to inspire others to a new sense of shared responsibility. We’ve heard from national experts and local innovators about what’s working. And we’ve brought people together (physically and virtually) to develop common-sense strategies to deepen our feeling of community.
Now we’re ready to share what we’ve learned. Over four days in February, we’ll have a series of meetings called ReCONNECT for the Future, built from the key discoveries we made during the program:
- People in our state are looking for ways to connect with one another across lines of difference. We’ve discovered some ideas with the potential to move to action across the state.
- The easiest pathways to move forward are often local—steps we can take in our own backyards. We’ve identified some areas that will give community groups a greater capacity to make local change happen.