WAYne Forward

Opportunity for all

Using community engagement, collaboration and action to achieve opportunity for all.


In 2016, Goldsboro was identified in national research as experiencing one of the greatest declines in its middle class in the country (Pew Research Center, 2016). 

From the report:  “the share of adults who are middle income fell from 60 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in 2014…one of the greatest decreases among the 229 metro areas analyzed.” The share of adults in lower income households also increased sharply over the same period.

Similarly, the latest available US Census data shows 21.8 percent of residents across Wayne County AND 25.3 percent of Goldsboro city residents living at or below the official federal poverty rate of $24,000 a year for a family of four. But as if that weren't bad enough, consider that 1 in 3 children in Wayne County live in poverty while among minorities, those ratio becomes nearly 1 in 2.

This cannot continue - not if Goldsboro and Wayne County are to grown and become healthy, economically competitive places with opportunity for all.

This is why the WAYne Forward coalition was formed as a grassroots effort to begin a community discussion of these causes and symptoms of poverty, the priorities of what needs to be addressed and the potential solutions for how to address those. This is a community effort, driven from the bottom up up. We want your voice to be part of this process. Please check out our Calendar of Events to find an opportunity to engage.

This effort is being guided by the following values:
  • We will take a strength-based approach.
  • We will conduct an inclusive process.
  • We will recognize that we are all in this together.
  • We will hold each other accountable to the activities and milestones we have established.
  • We will build on existing assets.
  • We will hold the preservation of humanity above all else.
  • We will foster a supportive environment.
  • We will build bridges and deconstruct barriers.

We will measure our progress by the following milestones:
  • Public understanding and will to support solution to poverty increased.
  • Sustainable solutions formed and established in systems.
  • Improved living conditions for residents.
  • Increased treatment for mental health problems for those in poverty.
  • Improved mindset of those in poverty and of the broader community.
  • Systemic disparities and oppression addressed.
  • Identification and creation of policy solutions.
  • Increased community involvement.
  • Increased community capacity.
  • Identify the various kinds of poverty.

Community Events


WAYne Forward Fall Event
08:30 AM - 09:00 AM
Check-In & Light Breakfast
Location: Goldsboro Events Center
09:00 AM - 09:30 AM
Location: Goldsboro Events Center

Description: Frame the day and the purpose around developing action steps through a community-driven process

09:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Goldsboro Events Center

Description: Focusing on 4 main issue areas: Education, Health, Affordable Housing, Workforce Development

12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
Framing WAYne Forward Luncheon
Location: Goldsboro Events Center

Description: Overview of the WAYne Forward initiatives & Presentation of Working Group Progress Report

02:00 PM - 02:30 PM
Pledge to Engage
Location: Goldsboro Events Center
02:30 PM - 04:00 PM
Creating Infrastructure for Change
Location: Goldsboro Events Center
04:00 PM - 04:30 PM
Moving WAYne Forward
Location: Goldsboro Events Center

Description: Closing thoughts, rapid response reactions on WAYne Forward and why folks have engaged, where they see the work heading.

04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
Building From Our Assets Reception
Location: Goldsboro Events Center

Description: Display asset maps, Non-Profits share their materials and information, Community members mingle with light refreshments


Goldsboro, a mid-sized city in Wayne County in eastern North Carolina, faces poverty challenges both historical and contemporary that are too commonly seen across much of the region. Traditionally divided along black and white racial lines, the city is in the process of being transformed by demographic changes, even as it wrestles with the consequences of two recent recessions and the economic transitions that swept the state in the early 2000s.

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Stalled upward economic mobility is persistent across North Carolina, not only in pockets of rural poverty but in the most dynamic urban areas.The imperative is clear: we need to build an infrastructure of opportunity to ensure all our citizens have a clear path to family-supporting work, that employers have the workforce they need to grow and innovate, and that our civic culture is one that supports prosperity for all.

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An infographic on the shared vision for our communities that ensures every person and neighborhood has the opportunity to prosper!

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From the NC Budget and Tax Center this snapshot provides a look at how well Wayne County is faring across key indicators of economic well-being and opportunity.

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