The Director’s Log: July 2017

Dear Friends:

Some of you (and you know who you are) still have not submitted your idea to us for our #NCBigIdea challenge.

There may be good reasons for this. You may be in a holler without Internet service (we are getting there – remember you can report your rural broadband challenges here). You may (as a girl I asked out once told me) have to wash your hair tonight. Maybe you’re trying to whittle your Big Idea list down from 37 to 1 (Pro tip: find 36 friends and give them each one of your ideas to submit). Or maybe you have one of these excuses.

We forgive you. But now you need to SEND US YOUR IDEA. It is so easy. You can tweet it to #NCBigIdea or type in the URL and fill out a quick form. We’d love to hear it.

Still stuck? Take a listen to any of the first six months of podcasts we have posted for First in Future – you don’t even have to listen to the whole pod – the answers from our guests generally come in the last five minutes.

If you are a visual learner, go to UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel website and watch the video episodes of First in Future online – 15 more episodes are posted there.

But don’t riff off of their ideas – come up with your own. We’ll recognize the winning idea submitter and I’ll write them a song of tribute. Deadline is coming up: July 31, midnight.

One idea category we are hearing from a number of people: what can we do to strengthen rural communities, or better connect them to urban areas? In many places, rural pastors hold part of the answer. In this month’s digest, Kylie Foley, head of our Rural Faith Community project with The Duke Endowment, shares what we and a group of rural faith leaders are learning.

We’re also getting a number of ideas asking what we can do to connect or reconnect people to their communities, to the notion of service. We hope you will check out our website for information about our idea called Service Year NC. On August 11 we will have our second “Service Year Accelerator” meeting with the insightful leaders from Greenville, Rockingham County, Wilkes County and Wilson who are piloting the program and developing insights we will all benefit from. Really exciting things!

Two other notes:

  • First in Future is now on the air on UNC-TV’s NC Channel, broadcast four times a week. Tune in! It’ll be on every Sunday at 10:30 am and 4:00 pm, every Wednesday at 9:00 am and every Thursday at 7:30 am, with a new guest each week. Beginning the week of July 31, you can see NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie, followed the next week by Martin Center President Jenna Robinson, then Community Colleges head Jimmie Williamson and serial entrepreneur Jud Bowman. Check your local listings for channel numbers here.
  • And on August 30 we will be kicking off a series of six “Crib to Career Workshops” across the state as part of our central focus on early childhood development through our kidonomics program. These meetings, led by policy manager and kidonomics lead Donnie Charleston will focus on the return on investment of early childhood education funding. Stay tuned for an announcement of dates and locations.

Lots of fun activity coming up, and lots of ways for you to join us. We hope you will find a way to connect to us, your communities and the state. We appreciate your support.