Community Wise

Candice Streett

'Not your mama's library'

By Candice Streett
Executive Director, Virginia LISC

Like a lot of the South's once-segregated cities, Petersburg, Va., is beset by challenges. A quarter of adults do not have a high school diploma; a third of its high school kids don’t graduate on time; unemployment is high; jobs are scarce; and health problems like diabetes and heart disease are too common. It’s as though the 21st century left Petersburg behind, which is precisely why its magnificent library is so important to its future. More[+]...

Small business school for Chicago's entrepreneurs

Some of the most important business leaders in Chicago never got their MBAs. They were too busy starting and running the small businesses that make the economy of the city’s neighborhoods hum. So LISC Chicago helped long-term local partner The Resurrection Project launch the Entrepreneurship Training Program, an intense series of weekly workshops teaching everything from accounting and finance to online marketing. “These are the kind of factors that make a huge difference in whether a small business can stay afloat and raise its profits,” says Dionne Baux, LISC program officer. More[+]...

A prescription for healthier neighborhoods

Amy Gillman

Community development isn't just about where low-income people live; it's about how well they live. Zip code and health are intrinsically linked. In the first of a series of articles on this from the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, LISC's Amy Gillman looks at how and why community development has become so critical to the question of better health in distressed areas, with everything from good housing and strong schools to local health centers, fresh food markets and athletic programs helping sever the long-standing link between poor places and poor health. More[+]...

After foster care, hoping for home

Elizabeth Ministry

There is nothing easy about being a teenage mom. But for young mothers aging out of the foster care system the challenges are staggering. In Washington, D.C., LISC is supporting an innovative program that not only provides housing for these young women but teaches them the kind of life skills that will help them succeed, both for themselves and for their children. LISC's Oramenta Newsome describes the two-generation approach of The Elizabeth Ministry (TEM) in a recent piece for the Center for Women Policy Studies. She and co-author Dr. Carolyn Graham, founder and president of TEM, explain how the group's five-year independent living program gives teen moms a safe place to land and learn as they get ready to leave the foster care system. Nationally, 400,000 children are in foster care and more than 20,000 are "emancipated" each year, often with nowhere to go and no help finding their way. More[+]...