Our Stories

LISC, State Farm Build on 16-Year Partnership to Expand Economic Opportunity

State Farm has announced a new $4 million grant to extend the reach of LISC Financial Opportunity Centers around the country and strengthen commercial corridors in low-income areas. “This is a partnership that changes lives and over time is helping shift the outlook for whole neighborhoods,” commented Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. Since 2000, LISC and State Farm have worked together to support comprehensive programs to build stronger communities.

Building economic opportunity in struggling communities

State Farm® provides support to LISC with new $4 million grant

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., February 25, 2016 —  State Farm and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) have announced an expanded effort to build economic opportunity in struggling communities through programs that encourage business development among entrepreneurs and skills development among low-income workers.

A new, two-year $4 million State Farm grant will expand LISC Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) in under-resourced neighborhoods—helping people improve their incomes, credit scores and savings through education and long-term financial coaching. At the same time, these efforts will help lift up commercial areas and provide safer and more vibrant places for business owners to set up shop, create jobs and grow local incomes.

“When it comes to helping people pull themselves up out of poverty, we need to address the unique range of economic factors they face in their communities,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. “Certainly, they need strong neighborhood businesses and good jobs. But that’s not enough. Residents need the skills to be able to take advantage of an improving job market and build stronger financial futures.  Our goal is to drive programs that work on both ends of that scale, while also addressing other critical issues that impact standards of living.”

The Hoops in the Hood summer basketball program empowers Chicago residents to reclaim their streets and promotes peace. State Farm's Lori Manning welcomed the players at the most recent annual cross-city tournament.
LISC combines its on-the-ground presence with national expertise and resources to support local community-police partnerships and enhance national learning and cross-site exchange about community safety best practices. (Milwaukee Police Department)
State Farm is a key supporter of LISC's Transit-Oriented Development projects in Phoenix.
In Houston, a LISC Financial Opportunity Center (one of 80+ nationwide) connected Traci to one-on-one financial coaching. After building her credit and savings, Traci was able to buy a dump truck and become self employed. (Kim Christensen)
LISC is working to revitalize Tempe's Apache Boulevard. The Apache Eats restaurant crawl promoted local businesses.
State Farm Community Specialist Naomi Johnson joined LISC staff and community partners to demonstrate a healthy kale salad recipe for concertgoers at the inaugural State Farm Neighborhood Sessions event in the Bronx.
LISC was excited to bring our Financial Opportunity Center model to Peoria with the support of partners like State Farm, Caterpillar, and JP Morgan Chase. Peoria is the first new LISC site established in over 15 years!
State Farm has been a leading sponsor of the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation since 2002, honoring outstanding central city projects and people. The Ballet Folklórico Nacional of Milwaukee helped celebrate in 2015. (David La Haye)
LISC's Financial Opportunity Centers provide support and access to training or services to help clients gain employment. (courtesy of University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative)
LISC provides CPTED--Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design--trainings to promote safe and clean commerical corridors. State Farm supported these trainings in several sites, including the San Franciso Bay Area.

The new State Farm grant for 2016 and 2017 will focus on programs in 11 metropolitan areas—Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York City, Peoria (Ill.), Philadelphia, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Tacoma (Wash.), and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.  In addition to the LISC Financial Opportunity Centers, State Farm funding will provide financial support for LISC’s national Community Safety Initiative, a program that helps to build partnership networks among residents, police and other stakeholders to reduce crime.

The range of work is as varied as the communities being supported.  In Arizona, funding will advance a corridor redevelopment plan in Tempe and commercial revitalization work along Main Street in Mesa. In Houston, it will focus on community safety—which is critical for attracting businesses and jobs—and help the local network of six FOC sites reach more people with more services. And in Peoria, it will build up the region’s still-new FOC effort, which includes centers in Peoria’s South Side neighborhood and in Bloomington, as well as plans for additional sites to open next year.

“Over the past 16 years, State Farm has worked with LISC to provide grants, loans and equity investments that improve the quality of life in communities with high levels of poverty and unemployment,” said Kellie Clapper, Assistant Vice President for State Farm. “We value our ongoing relationship and can see the positive difference LISC is making in neighborhoods with its comprehensive approach to community revitalization.”

About LISC

LISC equips disinvested communities with the capital, program strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. It combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources. Since 1980, LISC has invested $16 billion to build or rehab 350,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 55 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org

About State Farm®

The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.com.

See more stories from
visit the local office's website
Explore the LISC local offices involved in this story.

For Immediate Release:

February 25, 2016


Missy Dundov, State Farm
309.766.7087 or missy.dundov.sg5r@statefarm.com

Colleen Mulcahy, LISC
312.342.8244 or c.mulcahy@sbcglobal.net

Download as PDF