Cohort Big 3 Newsletter

The Cohort Big 3 newsletter is a monthly publication to connect communities participating in the Institute for Emerging Issues ReCONNECT NC peer-learning cohorts.

Each month we will send you updates on three things we think you should know about. 

1. Register now: ReCONNECT NC Cross-Cohort Meeting
We look forward to seeing you on February 11 in Raleigh for the ReCONNECT NC meeting with teams from all four ReCONNECT NC cohorts (communityrural and urbaneconomic opportunity, and technological opportunity)! The draft agenda can be found here.

In addition to more time for peer-learning, our activity will center around adaptive learning around failures (our version of a “Fail Fest”) and civic conversations in practice. We will meet from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm at the James B. Hunt Library on Centennial Campus in the Duke Energy Hall. All members of the leadership team should attend. Lunch will be provided.

Click here to RSVP by Friday, January 31.

2. Our Lessons Learned
For the past five years, IEI has been engaging community-based stakeholders in complex policy systems to generate meaningful impacts over time. We learn something new from each experience and strive to share these tools and lessons learned with other community efforts. While the focus for some of these tools are specific (e.g., innovation systems, early childhood health and development), much of the information can be applied to other topical areas. For example, the InnovateNC Toolkit walks one through how to form and manage an effective local team, includes a comprehensive asset map protocol, and offers communications resources. The KidsReadyNC portal is a clearinghouse for tools such as local fiscal mapping, results-based accountability, implementation science, and racial equity. The Rural Church Community Action Guide provides worksheets to help have a community conversation, regardless of faith involvement.

An effective team is essential to addressing any local challenge or opportunity. Here are some good ideas for good group characteristics as identified by our colleague John Dempsey Parker.



3.Building Local Capacity
Let’s face it—every community can benefit from more effective support. And it may be easier to find it than you think. Two ways IEI can help communities build capacity is by: 1) engaging a young person in a dedicated year of service, and 2) connecting local faith leaders to your work (yep—they work on economic and workforce development initiatives too!). Our Service Year NC (SYNC) Director Darryl Lester can help your community determine whether your project is a good fit for an AmeriCorps volunteer and the best organization to serve as a host site. You can also reach out to Noah Wilson of Mountain BizWorks (WNC Growing Outdoors Partnership – Rural and Urban Cohort) who is hiring an AmeriCorps VISTA member to serve on their team. You can also ask Molly Sheehan, our AmeriCorps VISTA, about her experience.

While it’s true that most of the pastors and lay leaders we work with in our Rural Faith Communities Initiative are from rural communities, our team is connected to faith leaders all across the state. Engaging faith leaders adds capacity in several ways—another perspective, better understanding of how people are impacted by your efforts, and alignment of often siloed efforts. Our Rural Faith Communities Program Manager Kylie Foley is here to connect you to leaders in your community.

Darryl Lester          |    919.515.3183    |
Molly Sheehan       |    919.513.0636    |
Kylie Foley              |    919.515.3542    |

4. Bonus: Broadband Story Slam
IEI is looking for brief but compelling true stories about how the Internet—or lack of access to the Internet—has affected people in NC in each of these areas: education, agriculture, health, and small business. Please share this call for stories with your networks.

Has access to high-speed Internet changed your life, education, livelihood, or business? Do you have a story that everyone needs to hear? Can you tell it in a really compelling way in front of a crowd? Apply today to tell your story to a statewide audience at the Emerging Issues Forum on February 10.

Learn more here. Apply by January 17!

We want to know how participating in the cross-community cohort is benefiting your work in big and small ways. What do you need from IEI or other cohort communities to help you achieve greater impact in your work? Click here to give your brief update.