Realizing the Need for Coordinated Investments in Systems Driving NC’s Health

the origin

The NC Investment Map

In recent years, stakeholders across North Carolina have mobilized behind an effort to improve value in the health system, including through greater investments in social drivers of health like food, housing, transportation, and jobs. However, to date these investments have been largely uncoordinated across funders, focused on immediate needs, and drawing on only a subset of potentially useful financial vehicles. Stakeholders across the state began to call for a way to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of these investments and, in turn, of the community resources and services they sought to support.

The result was a multisectoral collaboration to create the North Carolina Investment Map, a strategic and structured framework for mobilizing and aligning resources from public and private stakeholders in a coordinated way, to both improve health outcomes and strengthen the underlying economic context that enables health. The Investment Map initially focuses on ensuring sufficient healthy food and safe, affordable housing, through an economic development lens.


Partners & Advisors

The North Carolina Investment Map is the result of a private-public multi-sector effort between the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), The Health Initiative, and partners and advisors from across the state with expertise in food, housing, and community capacity, including community-based organizations, state and local public agencies, private corporations, and philanthropic organizations.   

  • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
  • Blue Cross NC Foundation 
  • Carolina Creative Works
  • Center for Environmental Farming Systems
  • Common Future 
  • Community Food Strategies
  • Community Health Acceleration Partnership
  • Community Solutions 
  • Cone Health
  • Dogwood Health Trust
  • Duke’s World Food Policy Center
  • Feeding the Carolinas
  • Forward Cities 
  • Gateway Wellness Foundation
  • Health Care Without Harm
  • High Point Food Alliance
  • HOM Inc.
  • Housing Assistance Corporation
  • Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
  • MANNA FoodBank
  • Mountain Housing Opportunities
  • MountainWise
  • NC Housing Finance Agency
  • NC Network of Grantmakers 
  • Nonprofit Finance Fund 
  • Piedmont Triad Regional Council
  • Policy Map
  • Self-Help Credit Union
  • The Community Foundation of WNC
  • The Duke Endowment
  • UNC-Greensboro Center for Housing & Community Studies
  • United Way of Greensboro
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of NC
  • Vaya Health

The promising strategies and funding estimates contained in this tool were developed collaboratively by participating partners and are not endorsed by DHHS. 


What The Investment
Map Does

As a result of this collaborative effort, the North Carolina Investment Map now exists as a public resource that:

  • Identifies statewide “promising strategies” for investment to ensure sufficient access to healthy food and affordable housing
  • Recommends statewide measures to assess if those strategies are effective over time
  • Analyzes the assets and gaps that exist relative to those strategies (in target regions)
  • Estimates the total financial or other investment required to implement those strategies (in target regions and, in some cases, statewide)


Informing The Investment Map's Guidance

The Investment Map is intended to inform not just what stakeholders can invest in for maximum impact, but also how. Recognizing that investments have the opportunity to have positive or negative side effects, the stakeholders behind the Investment Map placed community empowerment, economic opportunity, and racial equity as core values, alongside improved health outcomes.

As such, all of the Investment Map’s “Promising Strategies” meet detailed criteria and similarly, investment in alignment with the Promising Strategies should be informed by our core principles.


Initial Target Regions & Domains

The Map is intended to be a living tool that can inform investments in systems driving health across the state of North Carolina.

Although the first iteration of the Map focuses on food and housing systems, the Map can be updated and expanded to include other domains, such as transportation.

The Map’s recommendations in food and housing include strategies and measures chosen for their statewide relevance and value.

However, to quantify the assets, gaps, and necessary investments on a specific regional basis, two regions were chosen for initial analysis: Western North Carolina (18 counties) and the Piedmont Triad (12 counties).

These two regions were chosen according to the following criteria:

As with the domains, the creators of the Investment Map hope that there will be an opportunity to expand the regions of focus in the near future.

Promising Strategies Criteria

  • Informed by a diverse set of community voices ​
  • Requires community engagement for successful implementation ​
  • Addresses current or historical racial inequities ​
  • Creates lasting positive health and economic impact ​
  • Has a clear rationale for why it will be effective against its intended outcome ​
  • Produces outcomes that can be measured over time ​
  • Can be implemented through investment of public, corporate, or philanthropic resources ​

Promising Strategies Principles

  • Investors acknowledge and leverage what has been done in the past, what is being done currently, and what is already known to have/have not succeeded in North Carolina
  • Investors share leadership roles—planning, decision making, and implementing—with community residents and organizations that will be impacted by the investment results, ensuring leadership prioritizes BIPOC and represents the diversity of the community it represents
  • Investors cover the “full cost” of a Promising Strategy in BIPOC and low-income communities (i.e., from establishing an organization to receive investment to capacity-building, community engagement, and program delivery)
  • The investment builds community wealth and explicitly counters approaches historically used to take resources from low-income and BIPOC communities by structuring the benefit/risk profile of investment such that social and financial benefits are reinvested in those communities, and investment risk is placed with investors who have the resources to manage it