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.
To commemorate the 50 year anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s passing in Memphis, our CEO Maurice Jones is interviewed on Sirius XM’s Make It Plain radio show. We are still striving for the vision of Dr. King. “We are doing the work that the sanitation workers were striking for. We are trying to create the beloved community,” says Jones.
In recent decades, the historically under-invested Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco has had few opportunities to offer its youth. But a creative new program, “Project Wreckless,” is enlisting at-risk young people to rehab classic cars, and offers job training, scholarships and mentoring to boot. All in a formerly abandoned ex-factory that’s beginning to look pretty spiffy, thanks in part to a façade grant from LISC.
You can feel the change, say residents. Police data show it, too. In just one year, crime and violence have dropped precipitously in Englewood, a Chicago neighborhood where LISC has long partnered with local leaders, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. How did it change? A concerted mix of strategic policing and community engagement, says Julia Ryan, LISC’s VP for health & safety—the very approach LISC supports in Englewood and dozens of communities across the country.
In response to a New York Times article on the role of citizens in crime reduction, Julia Ryan, LISC’s vice president of health and safety, wrote a letter to the editor underscoring the importance of community nonprofits and residents in the success of these efforts. Ryan points to LISC research that proves community-led strategies work and calls for appropriate investment in community-led revitalization.