- Leadership Q&A
- Year in Review
- Year in Numbers
- Our Partners
2019 was a remarkable year for LISC, with a record $1.8 billion in program activity. That includes $1.4 billion in equity investments, $333 million in lending and $55 million in grant making. Our annual revenue surpassed $195 million, which contributed to our growing net worth of $157 million, beating all our expectations.
Our strong results are especially important now, as deep health and economic challenges threaten the well-being of millions of people. LISC’s significant growth over the last decade leaves us well-positioned to weather the uncertainty of the coming months, in terms of both our own organizational capacity and our ability to support nonprofits, small businesses and community leaders around the country.
Our 2019 results also reflect our commitment to addressing the social determinants of health. Affordable housing, good jobs, safe streets, strong schools, quality medical care, opportunities for healthy, affordable food and recreation—all of those connect to a person’s overall health, as well as the economic well-being of their community. Our grants, loans and equity investments will remain focused on all of those—as well as Covid-19 relief—in 2020.
We’re grateful to the funders and investors who have stepped up to support this work. New partners who have joined us over the last year include health care companies, financial institutions, technology firms, professional sports organizations, industrial corporations, foundations, celebrities and public agencies—all contributing to efforts to catalyze opportunity in our communities.
LISC has long been known for direct engagement in communities, working closely with local and national partners to drive sustainable progress. What might be less obvious are the range of sophisticated financing strategies and instruments that underpin those efforts.
Our growing fund management business is a case in point. LISC both manages our own community investment funds and provides third-party management for others, who draw on our 40 years of experience to help them meet goals related to financial performance and local impact.
The funds we manage encompass wide-ranging, and often overlapping, goals—from lifting up rural communities to fueling small businesses and financing health centers. The LISC Good Jobs Fund, for example, provides mezzanine financing to projects that ramp up economic activity and create new employment options in communities with high rates of poverty. In 2019, that included projects like The Box Factory on the east side of Indianapolis, with financing to renovate a long-dilapidated warehouse into a dynamic mixed-use development, and the revitalization of the Roxian Theatre, a 1920s-era vaudeville venue in Pittsburgh. Both are designed to create jobs, restore properties to the tax rolls, generate local income, and transform crumbling local eyesores into vibrant commercial resources.
LISC-managed housing funds are also responding to pressing local needs. The Partnership for the Bay's Future, for instance, surpassed its $500 million fundraising goal in 2019, in its first year of work to address affordable housing needs in Northern California. To date, the fund has invested $30 million to produce or preserve 800 affordable apartments. The Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund grew to $53 million last year and is supporting local solutions to the housing crisis in the Queen City. And, the Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Accelerator Fund, in Boston, is leveraging the city’s expanding light rail network to fuel housing and commercial development in neighborhoods that have historically been overlooked for mainstream investment.
These funds, and dozens more that LISC and its affiliates manage, are vital to unlocking new sources of private and philanthropic capital to support strategies with a clear community benefit. That’s why LISC now has a dedicated strategic investments team that homes in on new opportunities. As we move forward in 2020, that work will include new funds focused on small businesses and COVID-19 recovery to help us all navigate the nation’s unprecedented health and economic crisis.
When LISC issued its $100 million bond offering in 2017—the first for a community development financial institution (CDFI)—it was part of a broader effort to tap into the growing universe of impact investors so LISC could finance expanded levels of housing, health, economic development and jobs.
Since then, LISC has continued to leverage the strength of our balance sheet to drive catalytic efforts. For example, the board has authorized LISC to put more than $15 million from our treasury accounts into impact investments, including a 2019 investment in the Sustain VC Fund, which provides capital to early-stage businesses with a social and/or environmental purpose. This is an opportunity to advance our core values while earning a reasonable financial return that will help fund our future community development activity.
We have also leveraged the strength of our staff, building and managing our organization to support high-impact strategies. Toward that end, we have significantly expanded our local program offices in recent years, especially in the South, and in 2019 we also relocated our New York City headquarters to space that supports the collaborative nature of our work.
Through it all, we have maintained a very strong credit rating from S&P (AA-), which recognizes our commitment to both catalyzing economic opportunity and safeguarding LISC’s financial position—as well as that of our funders and investors. That core financial strength is particularly critical as we navigate the health and economic crises across the country, and help our partners do the same.