March 18, 2013 – Leaders of North Carolina’s community economic development sector reconvened March 18 for a third Leadership Institute to examine strategies for creating prosperous communities, advocating for supportive public policies and attracting new sources of funds to support their work.
“A lot of people have jobs today who wouldn’t, because of your work. A lot of people are living in homes today because of your work. To them, dignity is when you have your own home and pay your own bills,” Billy Ray Hall, executive director of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, said in opening remarks.
The March gathering followed two 2011 Leadership Institutes that brought together the sector’s many players – public, private, academic and nonprofit – to grapple with strategies for responding to unprecedented economic challenges, new public spending priorities and a widening wealth and income gap between the poorest and wealthiest people and communities.
The March Leadership Institute work groups focused on:
- Reconfiguring the Sector – examining whether commonly needed services can be provided across the industry to prevent duplication and resource drain.
- Organizing and Base Building – building support among community members and providing them with information on policies that will affect them.
- Diversifying Funding Strategies – identifying new strategies for generating resources that can be leveraged by the community economic development infrastructure already in place in North Carolina.
- Redefining Wealth – innovating to find new ways of building wealth for low-wealth people and communities, including financial capital, natural capital, social capital, intellectual capital, political capital and built capital.
- Next Generation Leadership Development – addressing the needs of retiring sector executives while preparing the next generation leaders to succeed.
Bill Rowe, director of advocacy for the N.C. Justice Center, and David Heinen, director of public policy and advocacy for the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, presented key pieces of legislation that will impact community economic development efforts, including:
- HB 82, reduction and likely 2013 sunset of the N.C. Earned Income Tax Credit.
- HB 203, repeal of consumer protections from foreclosure rescue scams, rent with option to buy and contracts for deeds.
- SB 89, re-emergence of “pay day loans.”
- HB 274, Tax Payer Bill of Rights would put a constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot to limit the growth of the state budget, effectively making permanent the steep cuts to state funding for essential services from the past four state budgets.
- HB 4, (already signed into law) drastically reduces benefits, eligibility and period of receipt for unemployment insurance, including loss of federal emergency benefits program.
The leadership institutes are co-hosted by the N.C. Community Development Initiative, N.C. Association of Community Development Corporations and the N.C. Rural Center as part of an ongoing effort to examine the critical challenges facing the state’s low-income and minority communities and how to catalyze economic growth and prosperity.
For more information, visit www.ncacdc.org.