A Message from Maurice Jones
Recently, my 14-year-old daughter tested my knowledge of today’s popular music. After I failed to recognize four or five songs and artists, with exasperation, she asked, “Who do you know?” Proudly, I announced that my favorites included The Jackson 5, Whitney Houston and Prince. She interrupted, “Old school! Daddy, you are old school.”
My daughter’s observation highlights why I believe LISC continues to resonate with hundreds of thousands throughout America. For nearly 40 years, we have been catalyzing opportunity in urban and rural communities across our beloved country. Our approach is innovative and market-based, utilizing the assets in each community to multiply the beneficiaries of prosperity.
Instead of intervening from afar in the stories of the places and people we seek to serve, we are a part of the fabric of our communities.
From Buffalo to San Diego, and many locations in between, we have more than 30 offices and 700 team members living, raising families and working side by side with leaders and residents. Our presence in the places where we work facilitates the knowledge, trust and relationships that enable us to be entrepreneurial. Instead of intervening from afar in the stories of the places and people we seek to serve, we are a part of the fabric of our communities.
Our experience demonstrates that, arguably, the most potent agents of opportunity exist in the localities where people live: local schools and teachers, mentors, businesses and owners, housing, health facilities and providers, law enforcement, sports teams and coaches, faith institutions and leaders, etc. With residents and more than 2,000 partners we’ve invested more than $17 billion (leveraging approximately $50 billion in total) and provided thousands of hours of coaching, technical assistance and consulting services. The $1.3 billion that we provided last year represents our largest single-year investment on record.
Evolving with the marketplaces where we work, our investments are multidimensional. We create affordable housing, more than 365,000 units to date. We support vital community facilities, more than 61 million square feet of space. We collaborate with residents and police to reduce crime around hot spots, sometimes by more than 40 percent. We’ve completed hundreds of health and recreation projects, financed grocery stores in food deserts, constructed health centers in tough neighborhoods, developed football fields and basketball courts in places where these assets are scarce. We’ve helped thousands find and keep employment, improve their net incomes, increase their net worth and enhance their credit scores.
And after six months at LISC, my faith in old school innovation has only been strengthened. The work we do, the way we do it and our enduring commitment to improving the lives of those with whom we work produces impressive results.
I’m not sure whether my daughter was complimenting me when she called me “old school,” but I am interpreting it that way. And after six months at LISC, my faith in old school innovation has only been strengthened. The work we do, the way we do it and our enduring commitment to improving the lives of those with whom we work produces impressive results.
Thanks to the entire team at LISC for making 2016 so successful. Thanks, too, to residents, communities and partners all over the country for your trust and collaboration. We look forward to accomplishing even more with you in 2017 and the years ahead.
President & CEO
A Message from Robert Rubin
When people ask what still motivates me after 18 years as LISC chairman, I often reply with a look back to my days in Washington, when as Treasury Secretary I first toured a LISC redevelopment project in the Bronx. I had long believed that addressing poverty was both an economic and moral imperative. But I had not, before then, encountered a community investment model that so effectively aligned the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Two decades and many neighborhood tours later, I am even more convinced of this approach. By investing $17 billion in the physical infrastructure of low-income places, as well as in the prosperity and health of the people who live there, LISC has become an incubator for innovation in the community development field. Novel ideas are developed and tested locally, and successful strategies are shared with partners and colleagues across the country.
By investing $17 billion in the physical infrastructure of low-income places, as well as in the prosperity and health of the people who live there, LISC has become an incubator for innovation in the community development field.
From a pragmatic economic viewpoint, this could not be more critical. Our economy leaves a great deal of human potential on the sidelines. Roughly 15 million American children live in poverty, with limited opportunities to grow up and flourish as part of the mainstream economy. Millions of American workers have been marginalized by the loss of manufacturing jobs, especially to automation. The lack of economic mobility in both large cities and small towns is having a profound effect on the country.
Community development organizations like LISC are uniquely positioned to address these challenges. As you will read throughout this report, LISC posted a record $1.3 billion in investments in 2016. Among other things, that includes $248 million in new loans, the most we’ve done in a single year. We smoothly transitioned to a new CEO, Maurice Jones, who has energized our economic development work and set ambitious impact goals for all our programs, from community safety to affordable housing.
It remains to be seen whether or not the new political environment in Washington affects our objectives. Certainly, there are people on both sides of the aisle who share our commitment to economic opportunity. They are willing to listen to substantive proposals and support programs that have proven their worth.
We must refute the argument that “nothing works” when it comes to addressing poverty. In fact, a great many things work.
Those who know this work best should be deeply engaged. We must refute the argument that “nothing works” when it comes to addressing poverty. In fact, a great many things work. But, they need to be organized and scaled appropriately to meet local challenges. Private capital needs a conduit to address public needs.
As it has for nearly 40 years, LISC will continue to play the critical intermediary role. Ours is a broad strategy that benefits families and makes our economy more productive. It is imperative that we continue to make progress in 2017.
Robert E. Rubin