‘Following the Money’ in North Carolina Weekly Insight

I am continually interested in how the philanthropic sector operates. Foundations and other grantmaking entities can be mysterious institutions that redistribute wealth into a community based on some combination of strategy and whim. Making them more mysterious is the relative dearth of data and information about how they operate.  There are good reasons for this.… Full story »

A New Public Square Explainer Reach NC Voices Weekly Insight

Our national, state, and local government systems serve more people that were imagined at the point of design. North Carolina, for example, has more than twice as many people as the entire United States in 1790, the year before the state ratified the U.S. Constitution. On good days, I admire the governmental chassis the early engineers designed and remark at how well it has scaled.… Full story »

Social media, bots and civic engagement Reach NC Voices Weekly Insight

One of the difficulties with modern technology innovations is that they often require an understanding of previous technologies in order to be useful.  To appreciate the power of search engines like Google, a user must have an understanding of the web and an appreciation for its potential. The pace of these technological iterations is fast and can be overwhelming to follow. … Full story »

Understanding Data Weekly Insight

There are few topics that cause people to glaze over more than discussions about data. Even for those interested in data, discussions quickly shift into acronyms and lingo that is not intuitive and difficult for laypeople to follow.  I find discussions about data frustrating, particularly within the realm of government and public policy.… Full story »

Insight Explainer: Autonomous vehicles Explainer Weekly Insight

Any time I watch a movie or read a book set in the early 20th century, I wonder what it must have felt like to watch the rise of the automobile age. I imagine the awe that normal people must have felt to see chemically-powered machines change the landscape and infrastructure in America. … Full story »

Retiring “rural” Rural Weekly Insight

Discussion over the last several months have unearthed one of my personal bugaboos: how we talk about “rural” in North Carolina. Describing something as rural is similar to saying that a sick person has a cold.  At best, it communicates a broad range of symptoms without offering any precision. At worst, the description misdiagnoses an ailment and slows the attention to the root problem.… Full story »

Two birds with one stone: intergenerational approaches to education Aging Weekly Insight

For the last few weeks, I have been learning about how our aging population can positively affect education, particularly early childhood education. It has been an inspiring journey, one that has left me optimistic about our ability to structure scalable programs to meet dual needs. It is difficult to fully grasp the policy challenges our aging population presents.… Full story »

Reframing retirement as legislators consider ending state benefits Weekly Insight

As a former employee of the NC Department of State Treasurer, the agency that oversees retirement and health benefits for public employees in North Carolina, I have a professional and personal interest in retirement and benefit policy. I was closely watching the N.C. Senate earlier this week, as the Committee on Pension and Retirement and Age debated Senate Bill 467.… Full story »

Rural Broadband in North Carolina-A growing BRIGHTspot Rural Weekly Insight

Our business and personal lives are increasingly connected. From electronic health records, to online shopping, to social media, we spend large portions of our day online. That connectivity requires complex infrastructure that is difficult to understand and easy to take for granted. North Carolina government has tried to bring internet connectivity throughout the state for the last 20 years, and while we have come come a long way, there are still pockets of the state that lack the access to connectivity.  … Full story »

The U.S. Census – A grand tradition Weekly Insight

After our piece on congressional apportionment two weeks ago, we received a couple of questions about how the census works and why it is important. Asking for that type of explanation is like asking someone in Lexington to explain the advantages of including ketchup in barbecue.  (We at the Center maintain strict neutrality matters of politics and barbecue.)  Even though it is still two and a half years away, here are four points to consider as the 2020 census approaches.… Full story »