Archived Featured Donors

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

LISC is grateful for our longstanding partnership with The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation to improve the quality of life for residents in the Washington, D.C. area.

We’ve received over $3.7 million from the Foundation to undertake neighborhood-based and people-based projects, programs, and initiatives. Our most recent grant from the Foundation supports two investment priorities:

  • Investing in people-based projects and initiatives that help balance the income disparity. Central to our vision and the most definitive way to actualize this strategy is through preserving existing and developing new affordable housing for people with lower incomes so that they can maintain a home in a city of ever increasing housing costs.
  • Investing in place-based neighborhood revitalization projects and initiatives that improve the quality of life and promote equity and inclusion. Central to this strategy is helping long-term and newcomer households afford to live in newly built communities and neighborhoods experiencing massive revitalization, revitalization that is not only bringing many improvements to the neighborhoods, but also pricing out people and families with lower incomes.

A key priority of these efforts is our Elevating Equity Initiative, a $50 million commitment to foster equitable and inclusive development in the neighborhoods within a one-mile radius of the future site of the 11th Street Bridge Park. One of the most catalytic projects the initiative has supported is The Commons at Stanton Square, which opened in June. The mixed-used development offers over 120 units of affordable housing as well as essential community services including early childhood education, nutrition programs, parental supports, emotional wellness, and out-of-school programs to children and youth in Ward 8’s Hillsdale neighborhood. The Commons will also be home to the new headquarters of Martha’s Table, also a grantee of the Cafritz Foundation.

“LISC does outstanding work to strengthen D.C. communities. We have been an active supporter of LISC since 1990, and we look forward to continuing our support of their important work,” said Mr. Calvin Cafritz, President and CEO of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.   

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation is the largest private, independent, local foundation focused on the D.C. metropolitan area and has awarded over $393 million to improve the quality of life for D.C. residents. 

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Florida Blue

LISC is thrilled to expand our partnership with Florida Blue and launch the first Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) in Jacksonville. The FOC model helps move families into the economic mainstream by integrating employment counseling, financial coaching and education, and connection to income supports.

The new FOC (Steps 2 Success) is a key component of the New Town Success Zone initiative, an effort to transform the New Town neighborhood in Northwest Jacksonville into a safe, sustainable community. FOCs traditionally are incorporated into neighborhood-based community service agencies. Nonprofit service agencies in Jacksonville generally are not neighborhood-based but emanate throughout the city from a centralized location. Because of the need for a neighborhood-based program, LISC partnered with Edward Waters College and the New Town Success Zone program to create a dedicated point of access within the community.

The Jacksonville FOC is also unique in that it integrates programming not just within one organization but across multiple agencies including United Way of Northeast Florida, Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida (LSS) and Family Foundations of Northeast Florida to provide financial education and employment coaching at the site.

The residents in and surrounding New Town expressed a need for quality, accessible jobs. The FOC will work closely with potential employers in the adjacent Rail Yard District to develop programs that can potentially connect people to defined, living-wage jobs in close proximity to their neighborhood.

As Darnell Smith, Florida Blue President of the North Florida Market said, “Florida Blue’s mission is to help people and communities achieve better health. Financial wellness plays a role in that. We appreciate the partnership with LISC to highlight community-based solutions to enhance the health and economic opportunity of residents and neighborhoods. We have seen the positive impact of our other partnerships in the New Town Success Zone, and we are confident that the FOC is positioned to create significant benefits for the area.” 

By broadening our scope and continuing to evolve, Florida Blue has more flexibility to make a greater impact on as many people as possible.

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Hudson-Webber Foundation

Hudson-Webber Foundation has been a Detroit LISC partner for nearly three decades. We’re grateful for this long-term collaboration to help improve the quality of life for all Detroit residents.

Most recently, the Foundation has invested in our newest effort, the Equitable Impact Investment Fund (EIIF). Through EIIF, Detroit LISC will invest $75 million to ensure that all residents can participate in and benefit from decisions that shape Detroit's neighborhoods. LISC will lead coordinated collaboration between local government, anchor institutions, philanthropy, and local nonprofits to invest in and foster meaningful change in Detroit neighborhoods.

EIIF will leverage more than $225 million over the next three years to create 6,000 new and preserved affordable homes, 5,000 living wage jobs for residents, and 100 small businesses.

Detroit LISC’s approach to this fund builds on our 27-year foundation In Detroit with an increased focus on economic development. Our priorities are attracting new businesses to struggling areas and expanding local income; conducting outreach to nontraditional partners, especially anchor institutions, to connect them to community planning efforts; and building the skills and earning power of local residents who have often been marginalized by the traditional economy.

Since 1990, Detroit LISC has provided more than $200 million in grants, loans and program investments, which has leveraged over $890 million to develop and preserve 6,200 units of affordable housing and 2.9 million square feet of commercial, retail and community space.

The Hudson-Webber Foundation has contributed over $200 million to Detroit nonprofits working in four priority program areas: community & economic development, safe & just communities, built environment, and arts & culture.

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Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

LISC and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation embarked on a multi-year partnership to create and launch the Catalytic Urban Predevelopment Fund to spur development in Kansas City neighborhoods by providing capital for the early, more risky phases of real estate projects.

The Kauffman Foundation and LISC launched the Fund in 2016 in partnership with the Hall Family Foundation, City of Kansas City, and Unified Government of Wyandotte County. The partners envisioned the Fund as a catalyst – offering low-interest, flexible predevelopment loans for projects ranging from affordable and mixed-income housing to commercial enterprises and community facilities.

LISC is grateful for the Kauffman Foundation’s inaugural support of the Fund, which has already seen results. Since its inception, it has provided $2.35 million in loans to support 14 projects that will lead to 250 new housing units, a cultural center, grocery store, and other community assets.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to increase economic growth and renewal in under-resourced neighborhoods across Kansas City.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation champions bold ideas on education and entrepreneurship to change futures because it believes that every person should have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and be uncommon.

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Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has been a valued LISC partner for over 30 years, providing support to LISC and our affiliates to uplift communities across our shared urban markets and rural areas, improving housing and overall quality of life for thousands of residents. Wells Fargo’s partnership continues to be critical in helping LISC achieve broad impact.  

Wells Fargo’s current $2.5 million Financial Capability grant supports LISC Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs). The grant helps underemployed residents in 15 metro areas increase their incomes and raise their standards of living through education, financial coaching, job training/placement and low-cost financial products. It is expected to impact more than 26,000 people, with an aim to connect more people to the skills they need for careers in local, in-demand industries, like information technology and healthcare. Wells Fargo funding will help launch new FOCs in Jacksonville and Atlanta, and expand existing programs in Boston, Chicago, Duluth, Houston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area and Richmond. 

LISC is also the proud recipient of a recent $2 million award under the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program. LISC Los Angeles will deploy these funds to programs that encourage entrepreneurship, attract new business, diversify local retail, and stimulate employment with a priority focus on African-American businesses.

Wells Fargo resources have also been foundational to LISC’s work in rural communities. A $220,000 grant supports our Healthy Housing Initiative, which develops and preserves affordable, healthy homes for individuals and families with low and moderate incomes throughout rural America.

Wells Fargo also provides invaluable support to local LISC offices in the form of local grant-making and leadership on 14 Local Advisory Councils.

“We are committed to strengthening the places where we live and work, and to seeing neighborhoods thrive,” said Mike Rizer, head of Community Relations at Wells Fargo. “ Through our partnership with LISC, we approach community needs from a local and national level of support to help accelerate economic empowerment.  ” “At Wells Fargo, we believe business can and should play a role in building stronger communities.” 

Please see this press release and article to learn more about our most recent national grants from Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo is committed to strengthening the communities where it operates, and to helping people succeed financially. 

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McKnight Foundation

LISC would like to thank the McKnight Foundation for the tremendous impact it’s had on our community revitalization efforts in Duluth and the Twin Cities.

The McKnight Foundation has provided over $29 million in grants since 1991 to help improve the quality of life in our shared markets. We’ve used this funding to advance affordable housing, financial stability and economic development leading to measurable results. Leveraging the Foundation’s resources, LISC has invested over $700 million in both cities to develop or preserve 17,600 affordable housing units and 2.1 million square feet of commercial and community space. We’ve also served over 7,000 people through LISC’s Financial Opportunity Centers, our primary program for increasing financial capability.

The Foundation’s resources support a breadth of projects. In the Twin Cities, for example, LISC invested over $10 million into the new headquarters of Minnesota’s largest minority-owned business, THOR Companies. The company constructed its headquarters on a half-vacant intersection in the near north side of Minneapolis to spark economic and social activity in a historically high-poverty area. The $36 million Regional Acceleration Center is creating more than 76,000 square feet of office space and 16,000 square feet of retail, and also helping accelerate the first phase of the expansion of NorthPoint Health and Wellness Clinic.

Among LISC’s investments is a thoughtful and strategic model supporting quality of life neighborhoods in Duluth. The Lincoln Park Craft Business District is booming with revitalization having 30 new businesses and over 200 jobs created or expanded in companies employing creative placemaking techniques. Entrepreneurs are “crafting” desirable items, selling them locally, and exporting them across the country. LISC’s work through Foundation resources also includes operating support and capacity building to help organizations address critical housing needs. Gateway Towers preserved 150 units for a mix of seniors, adults with disabilities, and supportive housing for teens experiencing homelessness. This $18.5 million project was at risk due to the size and complexity; however, two local housing organizations that receive LISC support partnered together to find a long-term solution for its operation and renovation.

“The McKnight Foundation establishes strong partnerships to support initiatives that empower people across Minnesota,” said Kate Wolford, President of the McKnight Foundation. “Our collaboration with LISC is an important example of how place-based approaches improve quality of life.”

McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. The Foundation uses all its resources to attend, unite, and empower those it serves.

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City of Kalamazoo – Foundation for Excellence

LISC and the City of Kalamazoo entered into a historic partnership to grow economic opportunity and increase access to affordable housing. By 2022, the partnership will provide a total of $43.5 million to fuel these efforts across the city. The city will carry out its commitment through the Foundation for Excellence (FFE), an innovative collaboration by the city and private donors to support community revitalization.

LISC is elevating our role in economic development, particularly as it relates to job creation and job placement. We are piloting a robust economic development agenda in a handful of sites across the nation, one of which is the City of Kalamazoo. With the support of the city, we will put hundreds of individuals on a path toward living-wage jobs and improved economic futures. Our activities will include establishing a Financial Opportunity Center in the Northside neighborhood to help residents build credit, savings and assets; increasing small business lending; and funding façade improvements along commercial corridors.

The second pillar of this joint partnership is affordable housing. Our goals are to prevent tax foreclosures; facilitate the development of new and rehabilitated housing units; and provide resident homeowner education. Throughout the duration of this three-year partnership, we will impact over 500 affordable housing units and 750 Kalamazoo residents through financial and homeownership education programming.

“The City of Kalamazoo continues to improve life for our residents, and our partnership with LISC will allow us to leverage resources and expertise to build a more vibrant, prosperous, and equitable city,” said Jim Ritsema, City Manager.

“In the short time since its creation, the Foundation for Excellence has already had a profound effect in many of our focus areas,” said Laura Lam, an Assistant City Manager for the City of Kalamazoo. “We are excited to have the opportunity to work with partners like LISC, whose mission aligns closely with that of the FFE, to magnify the impact that these types of investments will have for Kalamazoo residents.”

This joint initiative also aligns with the goals of the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Strategic Vision and Master Plan, further encouraging the coordination of citywide resources to increase impact.

The Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence addresses challenges to the prosperity of the city to help make Kalamazoo the most dynamic, fulfilling and equitable place that it can be for all neighbors to live, work and enjoy life.

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