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Archived Featured Donors

The William Penn Foundation

LISC is grateful for the support of The William Penn Foundation and its most recent grant of $750,000 to pilot a new model for neighborhood stewardship in support of capital investment in the Mantua Greenway of Philadelphia. The Mantua Greenway is a collaborative project that engages residents and other stakeholders in transforming a desolate, blighted, and under-utilized public space along Mantua’s northern border into a green corridor and recreational trail that will connect the neighborhood to community assets, including the Art Museum and Fairmount Park.

Isolation and a lack of connectivity present significant challenges to the neighborhood. Mantua's northern border is bound by Amtrak tracks and a chain link fence with only three access points. As a result, outsiders rarely pass through the neighborhood; Mantua residents struggle to connect with opportunities nearby; investment in the area is limited; and community cohesion is eroded. This pilot represents an opportunity to address these challenges impacting the Mantua neighborhood.

With support from The William Penn Foundation, LISC and our partners are moving this project forward by facilitating community engagement and capacity building around the design and stewardship of the Mantua Greenway and formation of a fundraising entity to sustain long-term resources for the project.

The final design will include a gateway opening to the trail, a green storm water management system, way-finding signage, and a new, more aesthetically pleasing fence along the rail tracks.

“We are excited about this project because it will not only transform under-used land into new recreational public space, but also because it is an example of how we can effectively engage communities in this work,” said Cara Ferrentino, Program Officer for the William Penn Foundation.

The William Penn Foundation has supported LISC for a variety of projects over the years to expand opportunities across Philadelphia.

The William Penn Foundation aims to help improve education for low-income children, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creative communities that enhance civic life and advance philanthropy in the Greater Philadelphia region.

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Robins Foundation

LISC is proud to recognize the Robins Foundation for its generous support to LISC Virginia, helping to improve educational outcomes for young children in the East End of Richmond. Thanks to a recent grant from the Robins Foundation, LISC Virginia and our partner, ChildSavers, are increasing child care providers’ access to training, certification, and capital to improve their quality of care. This multifaceted approach links workforce development, quality assurance training, small business development, and health access to create higher capacity child care providers who can better prepare children for school.

The approach is twofold: LISC provides small business grants and technical assistance to selected child care providers to build their capacity to better serve young children; and ChildSavers delivers trainings to the same child care providers to improve the programmatic elements of their facilities. Trainings include mental health consultation for early learning professionals, child development associate certification, kindergarten readiness, and progress of early childhood developmental milestones.

Through this effort, we seek to increase school readiness by 25% among children served through this program.

“Improving quality early child care helps create an environment of opportunity for everyone in Richmond to thrive,” said Kelly Chopus, CEO of the Robins Foundation. “Partnering with organizations like LISC and ChildSavers is key to achieving this goal and the mission of the Robins Foundation.”

LISC Virginia and the Robins Foundation have been partners since 1999. We are grateful for the foundation’s continued dedication to increasing quality of life for all residents of Richmond.

LISC received this grant through the Robins Foundation’s Community Innovation Grant program, which the foundation created to inspire innovative solutions to community issues. The grant program encourages nonprofits in the Richmond area to think big and to work collaboratively to address some of city’s greatest challenges.

The Robins Foundation aims to lead transformational change in the greater Richmond community by listening, learning, and engaging through innovative philanthropy that inspires solutions to society’s greatest challenges.

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The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation

LISC Chicago and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation have been partners for over 20 years. Through the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, presented at LISC’s annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), the collaboration has encouraged and rewarded design excellence and celebrated community.

Each year, the Driehaus Foundation award recognizes the architects of three real estate developments that are making a significant contribution to the social, visual, and cultural life of their neighborhoods through design that prioritizes human physical and psychological well-being. For consideration, a project must demonstrate superior design; enhance or serve as an integral part of the comprehensive development of the community; and exhibit a creative design solution that could become a model for projects in other neighborhoods.

As explained by Richard H. Driehaus, founder and CEO of Driehaus Capital Management LLC, “When we began in 1997, I hoped to encourage development that respects and strengthens the city’s unmatched architectural heritage and responds to human needs. Through the award, we have demonstrated that good design is not more expensive in the long run, and it enhances communities and improves lives. But even I have been surprised as the architects and designers of these projects have raised the bar in ways I could not have foreseen.”

To date, the award, which is decided by a jury that conducts site visits of the final candidates (approximately 10 a year), has been given to 60 projects across 29 Chicago neighborhoods. First place includes a cash award of $15,000; second place is $3,000; and third place is $2,000.

Blair Kamin, architecture critic at the Chicago Tribune, noted that “The Driehaus Award recognizes that architecture is not simply a downtown enterprise. It extends to the neighborhoods of the city and the people of the city. And, it comes from a guy who grew up in the neighborhoods, and he didn’t forget where he came from.”

The application deadline for The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design is September 7, 2017. The annual CNDA award program will be held on March 1, 2018 at McCormick Place.

Watch the 20th Anniversary video about The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence:

Through strategic partnerships, the Foundation seeks to improve Chicago’s built environment, support cultural stewardship in the arts, strengthen democracy through journalism, and advance economic opportunity for the working poor.

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Winthrop Rockefeller

With a $160,000 grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF), Rural LISC is building the capacity of our community partners serving persistent poverty regions in Arkansas through our recently launched Road to Capacity Initiative. The initiative is designed to increase the capacity of our community partners working in persistent poverty areas - a classification for counties in the United States that have had a relatively high rate of poverty over a long period. This work is critical, as 85% of counties designated as “persistent poverty” are located in rural areas.

Through this initiative, Rural LISC selected four Arkansas-based partners to undergo our “Cap Mapping” assessment, which gauges each partner’s strengths and growth opportunities in asset management, board development, community connections, financial management, and real estate development. Rural LISC staff will use each partner’s Cap Mapping results to develop an advancement plan that outlines the organization’s challenges and strengths, and identifies strategies to address the challenges and leverage the strengths to build organizational and financial capacity through project or program development.

Thanks to the support from WRF, Rural LISC staff will present the advancement plans to the four partners in Arkansas. Once the partner organizations approve the plans, implementation will begin. The final objective of each plan is to position the organization to undertake a physical development or programmatic endeavor that will increase the overall health of the organization, including improved revenue generation.

LISC is proud to recognize the continued support of WRF, which has invested nearly $2 million in our work across the Arkansas Delta over the past 25 years. Thanks to its continued support, Rural LISC will build the capacity of community development organizations in Arkansas to improve the quality of life for residents living in persistent poverty areas.

WRF pursues its mission to improve the lives of Arkansans through strategic grant making and partnerships, and using its voice to help close the economic and educational gaps that leave too many families in persistent poverty.

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Victoria Foundation

Victoria Foundation and LISC have been partners since 1986, working together to strengthen communities in Newark, New Jersey. Further deepening its partnership with LISC, Victoria Foundation has chosen Greater Newark LISC to serve as its intermediary on a nascent Target Neighborhood Initiative (TNI), a resident-driven, targeted investment effort. The TNI focuses on two neighborhoods: Fairmount and Upper Clinton.

With a new one-year, $260,000 grant from the Victoria Foundation, Greater Newark LISC will expand its program efforts particularly in the area of resident engagement and leadership development in the two neighborhoods. With the foundation’s resources, Greater Newark LISC will further integrate the Newark Resident Leadership Institute into its core programming. Both LISC and Victoria Foundation recognize that sustained growth in communities is best achieved when residents are actively engaged in the process. The Leadership Institute helps Newark residents hone and grow their leadership skills to become more effective community advocates.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with LISC through the Target Neighborhood Initiative,” said Irene Cooper-Basch, executive officer of the Victoria Foundation. “We are working together to empower Newark’s residents to effect change where they live. The resident leaders created through this program will help revitalize Newark’s neighborhoods with benefits to be felt for years to come.”

The partnership between LISC and Victoria Foundation spans over 30 years, with the foundation providing LISC with a total of $2.5 million in grants. The continued generosity of the foundation has helped LISC invest over $99 million in Newark, supporting the development and preservation of 2,300 affordable housing units as well as the creation of 526,000 square feet of community and retail space. 

In addition, LISC benefits from the service of Craig Drinkard, Associate Director of Victoria Foundation, who chairs Greater Newark LISC’s local advisory committee.

Founded in 1924, Victoria Foundation is a private grantmaking institution focused on impacting the cycle of poverty in Newark, NJ. Issue areas include K-12 education, neighborhood revitalization, environment, and youth and families.

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Citizens Bank

LISC is grateful to Citizens Bank for its recent support of seven sites: Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut Statewide, Hartford, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, and Toledo. This generosity advances comprehensive community development efforts throughout the Northeast, for example affordable housing creation in Connecticut and preservation in Philadelphia; support for minority entrepreneurs in Boston, including a business plan competition for business owners from Boston’s majority-minority neighborhoods; commercial revitalization initiatives in Toledo, including an arts entrepreneurship program that provides creative entrepreneurs with training and capital; comprehensive and concentrated community development work to continue to grow the investments and productivity of our partners and communities in Buffalo; and the Growing Communities and Our Neighborhoods initiatives in Rhode Island, which improve quality of life and leverage additional resources in neighborhoods statewide.

Barbara Cottam, Head of Corporate Affairs at Citizens Bank, remarked “At Citizens Bank, it’s important to us to contribute to the overall health of the communities where we do business.  When the community prospers, we all prosper.  Through partnerships like those we have with LISC, we are able to invest in local solutions that are improving the lives of our neighbors by strengthening the neighborhoods where they live.”

Since 1992, Citizens has provided $119 million in grant, loan, and equity support to LISC, and serves on  six LISC local advisory committees.

Citizens Bank supports programs to fight hunger, teach money management, and strengthen communities.

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