In honor of Independence Day, LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones reflects on how our country has thrived and prospered thanks in large part to the contributions of immigrants. Now is a time, says Jones, to recommit to the American promise of extending opportunity to all. And to that point, we are sharing a video story about our longtime partner, the Washington D.C.-based Latin American Youth Center. For 50 years, LAYC has helped disconnected youth, U.S. born and recent immigrants, navigate the journey to adulthood, so that they can flourish and contribute to the economic and civic life of our country.
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.
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 districts. “We have no doubt that this kind of progress is good for residents, good for communities and good for the country,’ says Maurice A. Jones, LISC CEO.
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.
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.