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.
Why is the U.S. falling behind other wealthy nations when it comes to life expectancy? LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones tells the New York Times that underinvestment in core human needs like housing, education and jobs is damaging the health outlook for millions of Americans. He pointed to innovative partnerships, like LISC's collaboration with Toledo-based ProMedica, as a way to raise standards of living and improve longevity. “Let’s make this the new standard of care…,” he urged.
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.
An op-ed in the Indianapolis Business Journal touted LISC Indianapolis’s very successful Small Business Façade Improvement program, which has made a huge difference for entrepreneurs launching and growing enterprises in post-industrial neighborhoods there. The program “primes the pump” for small businesses at pivotal points in their development, and helps boost the commercial and physical landscape of the surrounding area in the bargain.
Mark Zaitona, who immigrated from Iraq 20 years ago, has created three grocery stores—in Flint and Detroit, MI, and now in Toledo, OH—that bring fresh food, quality jobs and commercial vitality to communities deemed food deserts. An ABC news story profiles his latest enterprise and features Toledo LISC's Kim Cutcher (LISC has invested in two of the stores), who brought an $800,000 below-market loan to the project.