How do you gauge the wellbeing of people and places?
One of the most important measures is the economic prospects of the people in a community. Can they successfully compete for good-paying jobs with opportunity for advancement? Can they purchase quality goods and services in a lively retail environment, where entrepreneurs and businesses flourish? Do their children have the chance to reach their full potential?
LISC’s economic development strategy is aimed at supporting healthy ecosystems that promote prosperity. We are focusing our program work more intensively than ever on sparking opportunity in the places we serve. Together with our partners, we are committed to strengthening local economies to attract and expand businesses, prepare talent, grow entrepreneurship, renew main streets and, of course, create living wage jobs.
When people gain the power and confidence that comes with stable, well-paying employment, or when they see their small businesses as equity invested in the future, that success ripples out into the community and sustains the vitality of the country at large. When the basic necessities of life cease to be a worry, children do better in school, families have more time together, cultural life blossoms.
Economic Development Investment in 2016
- $187.4 million invested
- $923.3 million in total development
For LISC, a critical component of this vision is equipping residents with the skills they need to land and keep good jobs. Through our network of 80 Financial Opportunity Centers across the country, we support education and training that empowers low-income people to compete in a fast-changing, competitive economy. This compliments LISC’s comprehensive efforts to help people find a home they can afford to rent or own, and to access good schools and health care, all in a safe community. Together, these are the ingredients for wellbeing.
In 2016, LISC staff and our partners pursued this strategy all across the country--in the regions surrounding our 31 local offices and in hundreds of rural counties. In Houston, for example, an $8 million investment in a new workforce center will support training for 10,000 low-income residents each year in growth fields such as health care, construction and maritime industries. In Boston, we launched an innovative new loan fund so that local entrepreneurs can compete for contracts from Northeastern University – an effort designed to rev up business for women- and minority-owned enterprises and create jobs in the surrounding neighborhoods.
In places as varied as San Francisco, Richmond, Phoenix and Duluth, we support commercial corridor revival, stoking commerce in neighborhoods that have languished on the margins of the economy for decades. LISC’s meticulous market assessments help local leaders develop plans for recovery and growth, with many projects across the country fueled in part by LISC grants, loans and the tens of millions of dollars in private capital generated by key federal programs, like the New Markets Tax Credit.
The stories that follow offer snapshots of the many ways LISC, our funders and our myriad partners on the ground work to promote business and job growth in underinvested areas and create new opportunities for residents. We are adamant that the tens of millions of Americans living below the poverty line or struggling to make ends meet be able to share in the great prosperity of this country—for the good of themselves and their families, and for the health of our society.