Our Stories

Top 10 LISC Stories in 2016

If you wanted good news in 2016, you didn’t have to go any further than LISC’s new stories page. From January, when we announced $1.3 Billion of investments in our nation’s most vulnerable communities, to November’s #LISCLeads conference in Houston, we found stories of resilience and growth from throughout the country. As you sit back with a cup of cocoa (or something stronger) this holiday season, enjoy our most popular stories from this year.


10. S&P Rates LISC ‘AA’, Stable Outlook 

While discussions of bond ratings don’t usually make for thrilling copy outside of the business section, LISC’s "AA" rating means more capital is available for underserved communities nationwide. LISC CEO Maurice Jones called it a “powerful validation for community development investing and its capacity to help people live better.”

9. What Transformation Looks Like 

In January 2016, we launched our new website and our first article was with this compelling story of personal rebirth from Eastern North Philadelphia. Writer Faye Fiore and photographer Annie O’Neill profiled Faith Bartley, a Philadelphian who overcame addiction and a criminal record with the help of the People’s Paper Co-op. Faith’s story mirrors that of her neighborhood, which reversed high crime and drug use rates with help from LISC Philadelphia.

Faith Bartley, at the People's Paper Co-op, holding the handmade paper she created from the shreds of her old rap sheet.
Faith Bartley, at the People's Paper Co-op, holding the handmade paper she created from the shreds of her old rap sheet.

8. Rebuilding, Artfully, in Kentucky 

Articles about creative placemaking were very popular this year, not only for the stories of creativity in our communities, but also because of their compelling photography. This image of a Covington resident and her daughter in a community garden was one of the most shared items on LISC’s Facebook feed. 

“This was one of the most blighted areas in the neighborhood and in Covington,” says Sarah Allan, director of creative placemaking for The Center. Now, the meticulously remodeled buildings on "Shotgun Row" house artists and longtime residents, and face onto what was once a haven for drug dealers and is now a lush community garden, complete with a chicken coop. Neighbors tend the garden and animals, and harvest the produce and eggs.
“This was one of the most blighted areas in the neighborhood and in Covington,” says Sarah Allan, director of creative placemaking for The Center. Now, the meticulously remodeled buildings on "Shotgun Row" house artists and longtime residents, and face onto what was once a haven for drug dealers and is now a lush community garden, complete with a chicken coop. Neighbors tend the garden and animals, and harvest the produce and eggs.

7. Gaining Ground in “Great Places”

LISC Indianapolis' “Great Places 2020” initiative is one of the most successful comprehensive community development programs in the country. WTHR Channel 13, Indianapolis’s NBC affiliate, produced a report on the program’s impact.

6. $1.3 Billion (Yes, Billion!) Invested in Communities in 2015 

2015 was a record-breaking year for LISC, as we invested $1.3 billion in homes, schools, businesses, health centers and more in our communities. Check out our annual report, which shows the highlights of the year as well.

5. Home Matters: Notes on Eviction, Poverty and the Future of Housing Policy 

Matthew Desmond’s book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City shed a bright light on the lives affected by the affordable housing crisis. Andrea Ponsor from our policy team wrote a review of the book from LISC’s perspective, examining actions policy makers can take to ease the crisis.

4. A Toast to Michael Rubinger 

After decades of distinguished service, including 17 years as CEO of LISC, Michael Rubinger’s friends and colleagues gathered to laud his career. Michael's night was celebrated with a letter from President Bill Clinton, a video tribute and the creation of the Michael Rubinger Community Fellowship – and best of all, one adoring new puppy. 

3. Growing Community in the New South Bronx 

Banana Kelly CDC is one of LISC’s longest and strongest local partners. With text by writer Mary Talbot and photos by South Bronx photographer Ricky Flores, this article explored how LISC New York City and Banana Kelly supported each other through good times and bad to help hundreds of Bronx families find homes and careers. 

A block adjacent to Kelly Street, circa 1978.
Kelly Street and environs today
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2. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Creative Placemaking 

We sat down with Lynne McCormack, LISC’s director of creative placemaking, to talk about how creative placemaking is becoming an integral part of community development work.

1. LISC Names New CEO 

In June, the LISC Board announced that Maurice Jones, the secretary of commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, would be joining LISC as our new president & CEO. Maurice officially began work in September. In November, he outlined his bold vision for LISC in a livestreamed speech at the #LISCLeads conference in Houston.

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