Making a better future for the next generation in North Carolina.

Future Maker Profile: Carolina Forward

by | Jun 14, 2023 | Future, Future Maker, North Carolina, Politics | 0 comments

Future makers come from all sides of the political spectrum, but they share a conviction — the future doesn’t just happen — it is created by the paths we choose. If history is the single path we have traveled, the future is a path with many branches to choose from. Often we choose without knowing exactly where a branch may lead or what new branches we may find along the way. Being a future maker requires the wisdom to look for guideposts and the courage to choose.

Creating the world we want for our children will take a network of future makers who value the next generation as much as their own. These are the people and organizations who are willing to use their “time, talent, and treasure” to assure our children’s well-being. To be effective, they balance data, vision, and cooperative efforts.

I will be highlighting some future makers of North Carolina every month, beginning with Carolina Forward. Each time, I will be using a standard format so they are comparable. I admire Carolina Forward’s work. If you check them out, you might as well.

Just the facts…

Future Maker Name: Carolina Forward

Tagline: Build a better North Carolina with us.

How to Contact:


Social Media Presence:


  • Public policy research and advocacy organization – 501c(4).
  • Adding an educational foundation in 2023 – 501c(3).

Budget: $140,000 in 2022

Paid staff: None. Volunteer run.

Mission & Values: From their website…

Carolina Forward is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit policy organization that advocates for ideas, policies and values to build a stronger North Carolina that works for all its people.
We believe in a more just, democratic and prosperous state that works for everyone – not just the ones with money and power.

What we believe

Carolina Forward believes in North Carolina’s future as a strong, diverse, multiracial democracy. We believe that attempts to curtail the people’s voice through gerrymandering, voter suppression and racial disenfranchisement are betrayals of American democracy.

We believe that first-class schools, affordable housing, universal healthcare, racial justice, environmental protection and a thriving economy are not tradeoffs. They are all mutually complementary and necessary for one another.

We believe that corporate money is unavoidably corrupting to the democratic process, and that it is too entrenched in North Carolina politics – in both parties.

We believe in reclaiming the language of morality in public policy. Expanding opportunity for all, investing in education, ensuring affordable access to essential healthcare and protecting our most vulnerable citizens are not just political imperatives. They are also moral ones.

How they work:

  • Polling
  • Publishing articles and research reports
  • Publicity campaigns
  • Candidate endorsements
  • Campaign contributions
  • Campaign message testing

Accomplishments in 2022:

  • Doubled social media followers
  • 60 articles published
  • 2 policy papers published
  • 7 public opinion polls published
  • 9 candidate endorsements, of which 5 won office.
  • $375,000 raised for campaign contributions

What’s to like about Carolina Forward?

  • Good focus for generational issues: ”…first-class schools, affordable housing, universal healthcare, racial justice, environmental protection and a thriving economy….” Who can be against those?
  • Rapidly growing social media presence.
  • Their articles, reports, and polls have an (admitted) center-left slant, but appear to be fact-based and timely.
  • Other media outlets are beginning to quote them.
  • They are going beyond publishing by supporting candidates with messaging strategy and contributions.

Why be skeptical about Carolina Forward?

  • Relying on unpaid volunteers will limit their ability to grow as well as to recruit an economically diverse workforce.
  • By identifying with the center-left end of the political spectrum, they may miss good ideas from conservative sources and miss the opportunity to build coalitions with them.

Bottom line

Carolina Forward has a good start and could grow into an effective future maker for the next generation. I will be watching to see if they successfully make the transition to a paid staff and add political diversity to their leadership. I wish them well and have started making modest contributions.




Become a Future Maker

Future makers are those who care about what we are leaving for our future generations. They are informed people who would like to share their knowledge in order to help create a future where our children and grand children can thrive. If you have something to say and would like to contribute to this site as a writer, follow the link below.


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