Reconnect Rural and Urban – Communities




As part of the ReCONNECT NC series, the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) will host six Emerging Issues Forums over the next three years, each focusing on a different topic to address North Carolina’s loss of community engagement.

Local communities and organizations—with their traditions, willingness to work, and history of coming together in the toughest of times to solve the biggest of challenges—can help launch us on the path to reconnection. These experts can lead change and inspire others to become part of a more connected North Carolina.


ReCONNECT Rural and Urban

The second Emerging Issues Forum in the ReCONNECT NC series, ReCONNECT Rural and Urban, will examine the interconnectedness of rural, suburban, and urban (herein referred to simply as rural and urban) economies, and strategies to more effectively promote and leverage these connections for increased success. The February 11, 2019 Emerging Issues Forum will explore the origin of the perceived “rural-urban divide,” discuss and debate the barriers to and opportunities for cooperation between rural and urban communities, and highlight examples of rural and urban communities working together to build shared prosperity in ways that will inspire and energize other communities across the state.

How can your community get involved? 

IEI is now accepting applications from NC “communities” that are actively working on successful efforts to address shared challenges or promote and more effectively leverage interconnections between different community types (i.e., rural, suburban, and urban). “Interconnections” may include shared governmental or nonprofit services (economic development, water, education, transit, other), articulated workforce training systems, joint planning efforts or other partnerships. IEI will follow these communities over the duration of the project, capturing their successes and lessons learned in case studies that will be shared statewide.

Who Can Apply? 

Specific to this cohort, a “community” refers to two or more communities (e.g., county, city, town, neighborhood) of a different type (i.e., rural, suburban, and urban) that are working together to leverage their interconnections in ways that benefit both communities. In this regard, a typical funder-grantee model would likely not be considered. Communities can be contiguous or noncontiguous. IEI will also consider two or more rural communities that are working together to leverage the assets of a proximate urban area. Lead applicant agencies may include, but are not limited to, entities of local government, education institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, and faith communities.

To be considered for the cohort, each community should identify a diverse local team of 4-5 representatives from the different community types (rural, suburban and/or urban) to participate in a series of cross-community capacity-building meetings over the course of two years (see cohort structure below).


Selected applicants are showcased in the next Emerging Issues Forum, ReCONNECT Rural and Urban, on February 11, 2019 in Raleigh. The application is short, and straightforward. If selected, participants receive:

  • Statewide platform to amplify work
  • Opportunity to speak at the forum
  • Network of peers from across the state
  • Training and tools over the next year to enhance your initiative

Applicants may include, but are not limited to, local government, education institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, and faith communities.