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Institute for Emerging Issues

Institute for Emerging Issues receives $2M grant from The Duke Endowment for rural faith communities program

The grant continues to fund the program for another five years.

duke endowment logo
RFCAI is made possible through the generous funding of the Duke Endowment.

RALEIGH, NC—The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University has received a $2M grant from The Duke Endowment (TDE) to continue its successful Faith and Community Initiative, Rural Faith Communities as Anchor Institutions (RFCAI) program for another five years.

The purpose of RFCAI is to build the capacity of rural churches to serve as community anchor institutions. The RFCAI program at IEI has existed in partnership with The Duke Endowment since 2015 to fold rural North Carolina faith leaders into local and state-wide leadership on emerging issues. Through data, appreciative inquiry, group work, and leadership development, IEI invites rural faith leaders to its Emerging Issues Forums and a faith-centered annual event (the RFCAI conference), and the team provides guidance, networking, and technical assistance on community-congregation partnerships throughout the year. With the disruptions of national and denominational politics as well as changing rural landscapes, IEI will be prioritizing regional partnerships with faith leaders and their communities. This place-based focus has emerged from working across the urban and rural divisions and the need to promote and strengthen connectivity, mutual learning, and collaboration within regions and across the state.

“Rural faith leaders that partner with IEI have changed how we do our work at IEI. Not only do they represent millions of North Carolinians, but these leaders are community changemakers,” said Kylie Foley, IEI’s Rural Faith Programs Manager. “The questions they ask of themselves and rural communities are the same ones driving deep innovation in any sector. Their thoughtful and action-oriented relationships are making our schools, towns, families, and institutions more compassionate and forward-thinking.” 

“The RFCAI initiative has taught us a lot about how to work alongside rural communities,” said Sarah Langer Hall, IEI Interim Director. “We’ve been able to apply a similar framework to IEI’s other community efforts.”

“Churches are rooted in their communities through deep relationships and engaged members,” said Robb Webb, director of the Endowment’s Rural Church program area. “This makes them critical partners in community growth and development. We’re pleased to join the Institute for Emerging Issues and United Methodist leadership in helping them take these assets and put them into practice for the common good.”


About the 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 The Duke Endowment

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds, and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.