On Thursday, May 17, 2018, LISC CEO and president Maurice A. Jones testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, urging its members to implement Opportunity Zones in ways that will truly benefit Americans in under invested communities. The policy can spur billions in private investment in the country’s most distressed census tracts and play a major role in closing the opportunity gap, he said. But we need federal tax incentives and other strategies to help the program succeed.
In a speech to Capitol Hill Housing’s annual fundraiser in Seattle, Denise Scott, LISC’s executive vice president for programs, plumbed the fraught topic of gentrification. How can development be successful and equitable at the same time? The answers, Scott explains, lie in intensive investment guided by community residents and an unwavering commitment to affordable housing.
Working together to revive communities has never been more urgent, Sherry Magill, head of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, told the annual gathering of LISC staff in November. But in an era when the public’s sense of community responsibility and faith in local government have hit an all-time low, rallying support for our work is especially tough. The keys to reaching our common goals, Magill promises, lie in telling powerful stories about our successes, fortifying our partnerships with anchor institutions, and keeping up the good fight.
In remarks delivered in Washington this month before a coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), LISC's Board Chair Robert Rubin, the former Treasury Secretary, says they have been "seeding innovation and helping the change the outlook of disinvested neighborhoods all over the country." CDFIs proved a vital resource especially during the recent recession, which took a "disproportionate toll on our poorest communities." "[B]ringing the residents of inner cities and distressed rural areas into the economic mainstream (is) central to our national competitiveness and the future of America's economy," says Rubin.
A week before a recent community cleanup day, Helen Dunlap and other consultants from LISC, walked the business corridor along Williamsburg and Government roads in the Richmond, Va., neighborhood of Fulton Hill.