Over the next ten years, LISC will direct 50 percent of our annual investments to fuel inclusive economic development in underinvested communities across America. That means preparing people to take on high quality, well-paying jobs. And it means ramping up our work to help small businesses succeed and transforming vibrant commercial and industrial [...]
Bill Taft, the longtime executive director of LISC Indianapolis, has been named senior vice president of economic development for LISC and will be spearheading our work to grow enterprises and create jobs in the places that need them. In the following Q&A, he talks strategy, practice and what it takes to build inclusive local economies in real 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.
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.
Maurice A. Jones testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress this week, urging its members to implement Opportunity Zones in ways that will truly benefit Americans in underinvested 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 an op-ed for Yahoo! Finance, LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones hit home the value of financial literacy as an essential skill on the path to financial wellbeing for all Americans—and to a healthy U.S. economy. Thinking back to his own childhood and the lessons in money management he absorbed working on his family’s farm, Jones calls for the public and private sectors to join forces and connect underserved youth to the kind of financial education that can make the American Dream a reality.