2010 Annual Report

2010 Highlights

Goal 5: Health & Environment


  • 241 Playing Fields Renovated
  • $28 Million Invested in New Playing Fields
  • 450,000 Kids Using New Recreation Fields
  • 50 Neighborhoods with Community Safety Programs

Positive, sustainable change cannot take hold in low-income communities where crime is rampant, health care is nonexistent and the only green space is dirty, deteriorated and dangerous. Sustainable Communities look much different. They include green development and design for buildings and their landscape. They offer safe corner playgrounds for kids, lush walking paths for seniors, community police partnerships that reduce violence, and new ventures that attract urban farms and markets, and new neighborhood grocery stores. Sustainable Communities are healthy places to live and work, places where quality of life relies on a close attention to wellness in all its many forms.

In practice, for LISC, this runs the gamut. We support quality athletic fields, recreational facilities and art programs. We drive community safety efforts that mitigate foreclosure-related crime spikes. We fund the development of neighborhood health clinics, and we help connect farmers to urban food deserts so that low-income residents can access fresh produce and other healthy options. Healthy families build Sustainable Communities.

  • Health Care
  • The Arts
  • Community Safety
  • NFL Grassroots Program
Health care

La Maestra, San Diego, CA; Lisbon Avenue Health Center, Milwaukee, WI; Perspectives-Calumet Middle School, Chicago, Ill.; Children’s Campus of Kansas City, Kansas City, Kan.

Providing neighborhoods with the opportunity to raise healthy families is critical to LISC’s Building Sustainable Communities strategy. A truly sustainable community contributes to the physical well-being of the people who live there. Quality, affordable health care allows children to learn and grow into strong young men and women, parents to work and lead more productive lives, and neighbors to support each other in times of sickness and crisis.

Together with health care providers, community-based organizations, and schools, LISC is helping to reduce health disparities in low-income communities and create a culture of healthy living for children and families. That includes LISC support for school-based health clinics that provide children and adolescents with regular checkups and immunizations; community health clinics that provide preventative care to low-income residents from birth through adulthood; and case management services that help individuals with needs related to behavioral health, addiction, transportation, housing, food, child care and more.

Those same facilities likewise provide an economic boost to the areas in which they are located, often anchoring other revitalization efforts and connecting to work that improves education and housing, and creates jobs.

Overall, LISC has provided nearly $50 million for almost 40 health care centers across the nation. Access to affordable health care is vital to improving the quality of life for residents and a core component of LISC’s comprehensive Building Sustainable Communities approach.

The Arts

Philadelphia, PA; Norwalk, CT

Thriving communities offer residents an environment that enhances their health, enjoyment and overall sense of well-being. LISC knows that utilizing the visual and performing arts engages a community’s imagination, helps beautify its surrounding, and fosters pride in its residents. It has proven to be an energizing piece of our Building Sustainable Communities work.

In Philadelphia, the Mural Arts Program has created more than 3,000 murals and works of public art throughout the city, engaging residents in more than 100 communities and helping transform blighted space through the mural-making process. Philadelphia LISC has collaborated with the Mural Arts Program and provided it with more than $210,000 to support beautification efforts in retail areas served by LISC’s Commercial Corridor Revitalization Initiative. From murals and mosaics to bike racks and benches, the program has brought innovative design into the community that reflects both the history and the spirit of the neighborhood.

In Norwalk, Conn., the Stepping Stones Children’s Museum has been meeting the needs of the city’s youngest children since 2000 and is part of a broader Building Sustainable Communities effort. The museum provides up to 60,000 children from low-income families with hands-on exhibits and educational programs that engage, inspire and teach. A recent facilities, expansion financed with $9 million in New Markets Tax Credits from LISC allowed the museum to create additional programming that focused on children from Norwalk Public Schools, a priority district within the state with significant academic need. The improvements included not only green design elements, but a green education program as well.

Community Safety

Milwaukee, WI

Chief Edward Flynn of the Milwaukee Police Department has often stated that the goal of police is to “create neighborhoods capable of sustaining civic life.” In 2010, Milwaukee LISC scaled up a partnership with police and the District Attorney's Office to help achieve this vision of neighborhood vitality. Drawing on the resources of LISC's national Community Safety Initiative, LISC sponsored crime prevention trainings that brought 20 police officers, prosecutors and community developers together to tackle problem-solving projects around drug markets, gang violence and vacant nuisance properties.

Safe streets are an integral part of LISC's broader work surrounding quality of life in some of the city's most challenged neighborhoods. Community safety is critical to business development, recreational opportunities and the success of local schools—all of which are priorities—and it connects to our work surrounding the physical redevelopment of disinvested areas. That's why the Milwaukee District Attorney invited LISC to play a more active role in coordinating the county's Community Prosecution Unit: we are connected at the grassroots level to the organizations that can inform and impact local safety through a variety of programs and redevelopment projects. LISC's local safety partners have also been honored with a MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award and been feature at the national Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference this year. Communities are safer. People are safer.

NFL Grassroots Program


Since 1998, LISC and the National Football League have worked together to provide youth in under-served neighborhoods around the country with access to safe, quality community playing fields. This partnership has invested $28 million in 32 cities, leveraging an additional $100 million from local supporters, which has enhanced the health and social well-being of more than 450,000 children.

Supporting healthy environments and lifestyles is one of the core goals of LISC’s Building Sustainable Communities strategy. Recreation facilities provide a place for boys and girls to play, compete and lead healthy lives. Year round sports and after-school activities give young people safe, positive alternatives to delinquency or other destructive social influences like drugs and gangs. These places also give families the opportunity to connect with their neighbors, which strengthens the cohesion of the community.

With support from the NFL Grassroots program, LISC provides nonprofit organizations and schools with financing and technical assistance to create playing fields that typically include new synthetic turf, irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards and goals posts. For 12 years, this collaboration has built or restored more than 200 community fields nationwide, and has demonstrated that a strategic investment in recreational play areas pays multiple dividends—in young people’s lives, their healthy development, and the vitality of their community.