A central goal of the 2022 Emerging Issues Forum and a series of regional meetings afterwards is to promote local-level action that boosts educational attainment levels, especially for lower-income and students of color. For this reason IEI has chosen five community-based organizations to tell their stories and showcase their work to help close the educational attainment gap. Beyond lifting up each organization’s work, IEI will support each member of this cohort over a two-year period by promoting peer learning and delivering tailored capacity building expertise to address important organizational priorities.

This year’s community cohort is made possible by Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, the Anonymous Trust and the John M. Belk Endowment.   

Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County

The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County/Hendersonville is to inspire and enable young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. Through programs that strengthen the MIND, BODY and SOUL, the organization serves over 1,000 youth annually between the ages of 6 and 18 at an all inclusive membership fee of just $5 per child, per year. Learn More

Communities Supporting Schools of Wayne County

Communities Supporting Schools of Wayne County provides opportunities for students to stay in school, graduate and be successful in life. Since 1992, Communities Supporting Schools has worked to grow and serve the community. Principle areas of focus include Success Coaches in ten local elementary, middle and high schools and a Restorative Justice Program with an alternative dispute resolution model that emphasizes not just punishing youth offenders but giving victims a voice, restoring trust in the community, and redirecting youth.Learn More

Isothermal Community College

As an integral community partner, Isothermal Community College exists to improve life through learning by providing innovative, affordable educational programs and inclusive opportunities for personal, professional, economic, and cultural development. Isothermal serves Rutherford and Polk counties, with three locations and is a leading online learning college, offering more than 100 associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates that prepare students for University transfer or immediate employment. The college also offers short-term, non-degree programs in healthcare, hospitality, emergency services, and more. Isothermal also serves high school students at the REaCH early college, and also offers classes at area high schools through Career and College Promise program. Learn More

Wake Forest University Pre-College Programs

Wake Forest University Pre-College Programs serve rising seventh graders through incoming college freshmen by connecting them to opportunities in higher education at Wake Forest and beyond. The oldest program, College LAUNCH for Leadership, is a free nine-month college prep, social justice, and leadership development program for high school juniors in Winston-Salem, Charlotte and the surrounding communities. The weeklong Summer Immersion Program offers 9th – 12th grade students the chance to dive deep and explore a particular field of study while the weeklong Summer Exploration Program provides an engaging and challenging STEM curriculum. This curriculum includes hands-on STEM activities and simulations that allow students to dive deeper into topics that interest them. Learn More

Wilson Educational Partnership

The Wilson Education Partnership (WEP) is a unique and focused non-profit organization committed to improving public education by partnering with local businesses and being the conduit between them, Wilson County Schools and the community. The WEP is made up of business and community leaders who work hand-in-hand with educators to provide supplemental financial support, advocacy, leadership and professional expertise that benefits students and staff in Wilson County’s public schools. Learn More