I know you’re used to getting the 2-1-1 every week. We launched the newsletter in March to track the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Cape Fear region using United Way of North Carolina’s 2-1-1 data. The goal was to provide readers with another tool to respond to this unprecedented challenge. We hope it was helpful and illuminated the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. With the easing of restrictions, now was a perfect time to create a newsletter that better shows the data platform we’ve been creating. 

We’re calling it The Beacon.

A beacon warns, guides, or offers support. It sends out a light to illuminate a path. Sometimes a beacon is a source of inspiration. We want this newsletter to be all of that. We want it to warn you when the data finds a trouble spot. We want it to inform you as you apply your ground truth to a problem. We want it to support your work by showing you outcomes and impact. 
The Cape Fear Collective is working to establish an accurate snapshot of health, economic, and social disparities in the Cape Fear Region. Each week we’ll offer a glimpse of some of the data insights from our work. We believe data should be current, accurate, and accessible to every organization and citizen. We will endeavor to find new and useful sources that may shed light on trouble spots in our community because social disparity and inequity live in darkness. 
Data is power. 
Let The Beacon help turn on the lights.
To learn more about the Cape Fear Collective’s data and analytics work, click here. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions on data sets or analysis send us an email at or look us up on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
COVID-19 Sentiment Poll
Earlier this month, we released our COVID Sentiment Poll, a three-question survey looking at the financial impact of the pandemic and speed to normalcy regarding COVID-19.

We had 177 responses from 34 different cities and towns (63% of responses came from New Hanover County). Most of our respondents (65%) said they would wait a month or longer to "return to pre-COVID" schedule and behavior if restrictions were lifted.

There is an interesting relationship between "speed to normalcy" and self-perceived financial impact: Those with more significant financial impact were also willing to wait longer. Of those heavily or severely impacted, over half claimed they would wait longer than a month (57% and 100%, respectively).
Our team also spent some time looking at projected 2020 Census response rates. New Hanover County has set a goal of 80%. Currently, every tract in our six-county region is falling behind that goal, with almost half (46%) of the tracts stalled at a response rate of 50% or lower.
As we think through ways to help New Hanover County increase response rates, it is helpful to look at those tracts in relation to that 80% goal. One explanation of the low responses in coastal areas is the number of households with year-round residents. Within New Hanover County, there are a few tracts downtown with very low response rates, as well as tract 9501 (which will be split in 2020) in Bladen County.


UNCW’s Dr. Rachel Carroll, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and Dr. Mark Lammers, professor and director of UNCW’s Data Science Program, have developed two tools that track COVID-19 cases in the Cape Fear region.
Carroll created a spatial-temporal tool that maps COVID-19 in the United States, North Carolina, and the Cape Fear Region. Lammers developed a visualization tool that tracks COVID-19 cases by county in North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina.
Both tools update daily using data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Cape Fear Collective and the Wilmington Chamber partnered with RTI International to bring a comprehensive skills analysis to our six-county region. The survey data will provide current and regionally-specific information for policy makers in workforce, education, and economic development.  As an employer, whether in a large corporation, small business, nonprofit organization or government agency, please take a few minutes to complete the survey today.
SHARE Cape Fear provides an online portal for nonprofit organizations, including faith-based groups and churches with 501(c)3 status, to build a profile, set up a wish list, and call for volunteers. Neighbors to the site are able to connect with those organizations and sign up to help either through monetary or goods donation or volunteering. Registration for SHARE Cape Fear is free. For more information, visit
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