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Our New Executive Director: Julie Barrett O’Neill


LISC names local expert in sustainable development to ramp up investments in Buffalo neighborhoods

Julie Barrett O’Neill takes over as executive director of LISC Buffalo on September 4

BUFFALO (July 13, 2018)—A community investment group that has driven more than $131 million into Buffalo neighborhoods has named a new executive director to lead its expanding economic development agenda and drive new capital into housing, businesses and jobs across the city.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) announced today that Julie Barrett O’Neill will lead LISC Buffalo, a cornerstone of community development in the city for more than two decades. O’Neill is a local expert on sustainable economic development, and she most recently worked as green program director and general counsel at the Buffalo Sewer Authority, where she led a $93 million green infrastructure plan, helped shepherd the city’s energy plan, and crafted waterfront revitalization and brownfield strategies, with clear environmental and economic goals.

O’Neill also spent a decade as executive director of Buffalo Niagara WATERKEEPER, a nonprofit focused on restoring local ecosystems and advancing economic growth. Earlier, she worked as an urban planner, consulting with city leaders in Buffalo and in other New York municipalities regarding opportunities for development and growth.

“Julie has a remarkable mix of experience that spans the public, private and nonprofit sectors,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO. “She understands how to build powerful and effective coalitions of multiple sectors, including economic and workforce development, health, education, housing, and community safety, to forge and sustain inclusive communities of prosperity and opportunity.”

LISC investments have touched thousands of residents in Buffalo, as well as in 31 other urban areas and 2,000 rural counties nationwide. Much of the organization’s local investing is concentrated on the West Side and in the University District, where LISC now plans to significantly grow its economic development activity. It is part of an ambitious national strategy that includes support for small business development, stronger commercial corridors and skills training for workers looking for ways to move into growth industries.

“Buffalo has demonstrated its strong revitalization potential,” noted O’Neill, a Buffalo native. “I am excited to work with LISC’s local and national partners to expand the reach and impact of Buffalo’s economic renaissance.”

O’Neill earned her Bachelor of Science (environmental studies) from the State University of New York in Buffalo and both a Master’s of Science (economic development and land use planning) and J.D. from the University of Iowa. She serves on the board of the Buffalo Niagara River Land Trust and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, among other local leadership positions.

O’Neill replaces Michael Clarke, long-time LISC Buffalo executive director, who retired earlier this year. She can be reached at 716-322-2310 or beginning on September 4.

About LISC

With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $18.6 billion to build or rehab 376,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 63 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit