The Director’s Log | November/December 2017

Look at you! You’re surviving what some people consider the most stressful few weeks of the year! And you’re doing it in style!

  • You’ve wowed your friends with Thanksgiving facts from our First in Future podcast with NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler (fascinating fact: we sold $900 million in turkeys in NC last year — #2 in the country).
  • The effects of tryptophan have dissipated (little known fact: nuts, cheese and beef have more drowsiness-inducing power than turkey!).
  • You’ve maxed out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (stunning fact: we spent $59 billion over Black Friday weekend in 2016).
  • And, the 32% of you beginning your holiday shopping in December are expected to stay home and shop online, increasing US retail e-commerce sales by 16.6% compared to 2016!

But you might NOT have maxed out your charitable contributions on “Giving Tuesday,” which comes around every year the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. We kicked off our year-end giving campaign on #GivingTuesday, and we still need your help during this busy holiday season. About 70% of our annual budget comes from private donations, and good-goodly-moodly, we need your support. Please consider a donation to join us in helping better North Carolina’s economic future!

But wait. There’s more!

First, IEI welcomes two new members to the IEI team — Beth Hatcher and Paul Nolan. Many of you will be working with them in the future. Read more about their work at IEI (and their rather impressive accomplishments) here.

Quick trivia: when applying for a job just out of college, what do businesses identify as the single biggest differentiator for job candidates: A) Major; B) Grade Point Average; C) Letters of recommendations; D) Paid Internship?

If you said D, go to the head of the class. And depending on which articles you read, internships are also linked to higher GPA’s, higher starting salaries and greater levels of emotional intelligence. But putting all that aside, we’re just happy to have great interns here at IEI. Be sure to check out the insightful perspectives from two of our interns, Allison and Ellen!

Also, I’d like to congratulate Maggie Woods and Service Year NC for their win in the Service Year Alliance Best Practices Competition — for its Accelerator program designed to help local communities tackle big problems through the support from local service year positions.

IEI’s rural faith communities fellow, Kylie Foley, attended the Rural Center’s annual Rural Assembly in November. As someone who works closely with rural faith leaders across the state, Kylie was excited to attend, and to share key highlights and perspectives from the Assembly here.

And if you need ANY more reason to attend our upcoming Emerging Issues Forum on kidonomics, February 5 and 6 in Raleigh, we hope you’ll find a recent report released by the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance (NCRHLA) compelling, which highlights the greater challenges facing children in rural communities on their pathway to grade-level reading. At the Forum, you’ll hear national experts and local practitioners talk about why this matters, as well as get practical, hands-on information on how to design, implement and fund initiatives in your local communities that help. You can read more about the report here.

How might this issue impact businesses and workforce development? We are delighted to announce a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and the NC Early Childhood Foundation, focusing on emerging practices that work for everyone — businesses, parents, and children. This special Feb. 5 Forum breakout session on “family-friendly” business practices will sell out early, so be sure to register for the Forum now!

Happy reading — and happy holidays! And thanks for all you do throughout the year to make North Carolina a better place!

Leslie

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