Skip to main content

The Institute for Emerging Issues announces first round of BAND-NC grant recipients

RALEIGH—The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University is excited to announce its first round of grant recipients for Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC). Eleven North Carolina counties will each receive a $5,000 grant to help bridge the digital divide in their communities.

BAND-NC is a grant program designed to increase the number of people with the internet in their homes, with the goal of making the state “first in digital inclusion.” The effort is in partnership with the NC Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO), the John M. Belk Endowment, Duke Energy Foundation, the Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation, Roanoke Electric Cooperative and the North Carolina Electric Cooperatives.

BAND-NC is designed to support $5,000 “rapid response community innovation grants” this summer, a series of workshops led by IEI and BIO to help communities develop “digital inclusion plans” this fall, and another round of $5,000 “implementation” grants in 2021.

Since the opening of the BAND-NC rolling grant application process, there have been a number of creative initiatives submitted, all aimed at addressing the ongoing challenges surrounding access and digital literacy. The first round of grant recipients includes six projects in 11 counties (listed below), and more information about each project can be found by visiting the IEI website at

  • Alamance, Guilford and Forsyth Counties (Piedmont Triad Regional Council)
  • Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties (Land of Sky Regional Council)
  • Carteret County (Carteret County Economic Development Foundation, Inc.)
  • Craven County (Peletah Ministries)
  • McDowell County (Connect McDowell)
  • Watauga County (Watauga County Schools)

“These proposals from communities across the state represent innovative solutions to address the digital divide,” said Maggie Woods, IEI Program and Policy Manager and BAND-NC program lead. “More importantly, they are meeting needs in places that have been heavily affected by the pandemic.”

“We’re learning so much about what communities are facing across our state,” said Leslie Boney, IEI Director. “These organizations are a reminder of the power of local people to develop local solutions to the specific needs their communities are facing. We couldn’t be happier to support their work.”

Applications are still being accepted for BAND-NC. To learn more and apply, visit



About Institute for Emerging Issues
The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at North Carolina State University is a nonpartisan public policy organization focused on the state’s vibrancy and economic competitiveness. Since 1986, the Emerging Issues Forum has attracted leaders in business, education and public policy to discuss issues with profound implications for North Carolina’s future prosperity. For more than three decades, the Forum has helped catalyze the policy reforms, public investments and other proactive responses required to build an enduring capacity for progress in North Carolina.

About John M. Belk Endowment
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the John M. Belk Endowment is a private family foundation committed to transforming postsecondary educational opportunities to meet North Carolina’s evolving workforce needs. Its mission is aligned with the vision of its founder, the late John M. Belk who served four terms as mayor of Charlotte and was CEO of the department store company Belk, Inc. He created the John M. Belk Endowment in 1995 to fund a national merit scholarship program for his beloved alma mater, Davidson College. Now led by Mr. Belk’s daughter, MC Belk Pilon, the John M. Belk Endowment continues to partner with innovative, results-oriented programs in North Carolina to further Mr. Belk’s values, legacy, and focus on the value of education as a means to personal fulfillment and community vitality. For more information, please visit

About Roanoke Electric Cooperative
Roanoke Electric Cooperative provides service to 14,500 members in Bertie, Hertford, Halifax, Northampton, Gates, Perquimans and Chowan counties. Chartered in 1938 to provide light and power to farms, the co-op today serves as an engine of economic development and provides educational, recreational and community assistance services to enhance the quality of life of its member-owners throughout the diverse communities it serves. Roanoke Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

About North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives
Driven by service and inspired by innovation, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives are building a brighter energy future for 2.5 million North Carolinians. Beyond providing electricity, each of the 26 not-for-profit cooperatives is investing in their communities and delivering new energy solutions to improve quality of life for co-op members in 93 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

About NC Broadband Infrastructure Office
The North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office leads the statewide initiatives to expand high-speed internet access, adoption, and use for all North Carolinians.

About ATMC
ATMC is a member-owned cooperative providing a multitude of communications services, including telephone, business services, wireless, broadband internet, cable television, and ATMC Security, in Brunswick County, North Carolina. ATMC provides services in additional areas through its wholly-owned subsidiary, ATMC, LLC. ATMC is the largest communications cooperative in North Carolina and one of the largest in the country. For more information on ATMC products and services, visit