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Investing in hope: EdNC’s top five articles of 2018

It pleases me to no end that EducationNC’s top article this year is about philanthropist Ann Goodnight. Ann invested in EdNC before we even launched, before she really even knew me. Since then, from schools to myFutureNC meetings and more, she has traveled all across North Carolina with us. And she reads EdNC!

Recently, I was invited to give an IGNITE speech in Charlotte. 5 minutes. 20 slides. 15 seconds each slide. And you have no control over advancing the slide deck. Really fun, y’all. Nerve wracking, but fun.

“My name is Mebane,” I said to the crowd of teachers, “and I am in the business of hope, which is why I built EdNC.”

I believe in our students, our state, and our future.

When I was hired to build EdNC — along with our founders, Gerry Hancock and Ferrel Guillory — we had a small bucket of money to work with. The Low Wealth School Consortium had invested — wanting a trusted source of education news, a voice in the conversation, and someone to tell the stories of the challenges and opportunities facing their districts. Under Leslie Winner’s leadership, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation had invested. Under Brad Wilson’s leadership, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina had invested.

And Ann.

I will always be thankful to John Hood and Chuck Neely for helping me to diversify our board of directors, our writers and thought leaders, and our funders across the political spectrum. 

This year, MC Belk Pilon and the John M Belk Endowment invested in our expansion to cover birth to career, allowing us among other things to pull off our blitz of all 58 community colleges.

This investment and EdNC’s work across North Carolina ensures our state is the most information rich state in the nation when it comes to the issue of education.

MC taught us this year what it means to go “up in the bucket.” She didn’t just invest in us. She visited 18 community colleges with us. She listened. She learned. She led.

Our @NCLeafChief Dan Gerlach, Duke Energy’s Amy Strecker, and the Duke Endowment’s Robb Webb also joined us on the road, listening, learning, and leading with us.

Johanna Anderson and Johnny Belk at the Belk Foundation have been our thought partners in thinking about the impact of our work. Thanks to Molly de Aguiar and the News Integrity Initiative, we are excited to roll out our industry-leading dashboard in early 2019. 

SECU Foundation invested this year in our First Vote NC, which won the national Civvy’s award! An investment from the ChildTrust Foundation allows us to embed in schools and communities in eastern North Carolina.

And we are thankful to partners who support our journalism, including the Park Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Oak Foundation. Here you can see all of our supporters.

Below are our articles you read most in 2018.

We want to make sure our work remains free and accessible, and we intend to ensure more North Carolinians consume and share our content in 2019 than ever before, but we can’t do any of this without you. 

Thank you for investing in us. Thank you for going up in the bucket with us. Thank you for believing in our students, our state, and our future. Thank you for helping us build EdNC and a greater North Carolina.

Thank you for being part of Team EdNC.





Ann Goodnight declared ‘North Carolina’s No. 1 citizen and leader for education for all time to come’

Mapping the 2017-18 school report cards

Jacqueline Robinson: More than three decades in education almost did not happen

A Greensboro assistant principal with a passion for teacher opportunity

Colorblind: North Carolina’s teaching force—like the nation’s—fails to match student demographics

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.