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.
From eBay Foundation president Amy Millington to a New York State land bank counselor, LISC AmeriCorps has provided fertile training ground for some 3,000 community champions over the past quarter century. This week, we celebrate the program's success, and the legacy of leadership that's driving connection, and transformation, in communities across the country.
This is AmeriCorps week, a national celebration of community service and the extraordinary program that nurtures local talent and fuels transformation. LISC AmeriCorps is at the heart of our $1 billion in grants to community-based organizations, and of our commitment to building impassioned local—and national—leadership to show the way.