Community transformation demands a mosaic of resources, and one of the most important is knowledge—especially when it comes to understanding how government policy has shaped racial and income inequality in our neighborhoods. That’s why LISC Milwaukee has been sponsoring community book groups (90 in all) to read "The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein, an indispensable narrative of how federal and local legislation created and enforced racial segregation across America over the course of the 20th century. To celebrate this community learning effort, Richard Rothstein visited Milwaukee to speak to residents and local leaders about his book and strategies for reversing segregation.
The International Economic Development Council honored LISC president and CEO Maurice A. Jones with its top award this week, in recognition of LISC’s work to promote inclusive growth and economic development under his leadership. “Jones’s work has greatly enhanced the economic prosperity and quality of life for individuals and businesses in the communities his organization serves,” said the Craig Richard, the Council’s board chair.
For 15 years, LISC has been investing in Kalamazoo's historic Edison neighborhood, where decades of deindustrialization and decline had severed residents from jobs, educational opportunities and accessible healthcare. Today, gleaming new community facilities and flourishing small businesses are generating good jobs, and preparing people for employment. And resident-led projects to beautify the district and create social bonds are nudging the neighborhood into a more connected, dynamic future.
In this week’s Stanford Social Innovation Review, LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones takes a close look at the outcomes from one of the largest single-city community development efforts in the country, the decade-long New Communities Program (NCP) in Chicago. Most notable, Jones writes, is data on community networks and how closely they connect to local growth and opportunity. The evidence confirms what community developers have long assumed but previously never proven: a durable local infrastructure of nonprofits, businesses, and other stakeholders is able to both attract and absorb capital in ways that measurably improve residents’ quality of life.
LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones takes a hopeful look at the future in an interview with Philanthropy News Digest, pointing to the wealth of untapped talent in American communities as evidence that there are gains yet to come. "The question is, what do we do as a society to ensure that these people are able to fulfill their promise?” For LISC, that includes a range of local investments, from employment skills training to entrepreneurship to affordable housing development, all of which help expand economic opportunity and support a good quality of life.