LISC National
About Us


Janet Owens, Executive Director

Janet Owens is the Executive Director of the Jacksonville office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC Jacksonville), the nation’s largest nonprofit community development organization that is dedicated to helping underserved neighborhoods become strong, healthy communities of choice—good places to live, do business, work and raise families. Since its opening in 1999, LISC Jacksonville has invested more than $93 million to build or preserve 1,943 affordable homes and apartments and developed more than 1.4 million square feet of space for commercial, community, and education purposes. Together these projects represent more than $326 million in total development in Jacksonville.

After taking the leadership role at LISC in 2010, Janet orchestrated the organization’s strategic shift to a comprehensive approach for community development. The implementation of this strategy has included the launch of the EPIC (Empower People, Inspire Change) Communities initiative, and the Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) program, an evidence-based model to help families achieve financial stability.

Before joining LISC in 2010, Janet was Vice President of Marketing and Communications at United Way of Northeast Florida and held previous leadership roles at Girl Scouts of Gateway Council and Volunteer Jacksonville and with the city governments of Washington, D.C, Adrian, Michigan, and Greenville, South Carolina.

Janet holds a bachelor’s degree from Russell Sage College and is a certified Housing Development Finance Professional. Janet is a Paul Harris Fellow and member of Rotary Club of Jacksonville She was recently recognized by Leadership Jacksonville as an outstanding community trustee at its 2018 Leadership Celebration. Janet serves on the boards of several nonprofit programs and has a lifelong commitment to helping vulnerable families, children and communities thrive.

David Pierson, Fund Development Officer

David joined LISC Jacksonville in 2015 after a successful career in performing arts and philanthropy leadership. Most recently, David was interim president of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra where he helped position it for the future. David also served as the Symphony’s executive director from 1988 to 1996. During that time, the Symphony grew substantially, and David was involved in many major projects including securing funds for the Jacoby Symphony Hall, the Jacksonville Youth Symphony and more.

David has extensive experience in philanthropy including at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, and as an independent philanthropic consultant staffing the Jessie Ball duPont Community Building Fund. His work included the design and implementation of the Reflective Practice Grantmaking Initiative; capacity building seminars for grant recipients; an annual community-wide convening for youth-development organizations; and the design, development and implementation of the Community Coaches Program.

During his career, David also taught music in Sydney, Australia and served as an adjunct professor for Arts Administration at Wright State University and the University of Dayton. David Pierson, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Indiana University.

John Sapora, Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Manager

The trauma and disruption of disasters can be transformed into opportunities for community investment and change.

As part of LISC's growing capacity to assist disaster recovery efforts across its national network, John focuses on (a) structuring a Hurricane Irma Unmet Needs Home Repair Initiative for vulnerable residents in low income neighborhoods, (b) collaborating with government emergency management, nonprofits and businesses to establish a Duval County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster), and (c) helping Jacksonville and Northeast Florida invest in mitigation and resiliency activities that reduce the suffering and high cost of disasters. John currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Northeast Florida Long Term Recovery Organization (LTRO) and chairs its Construction Committee comprised of CDC construction managers that utilize their pool of home repair contractors.

John joined LISC full-time in May 2019. His experience includes working as tenant intake attorney at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and 16 years as national legal counsel for The First Tee youth development program. Prior to joining The First Tee, John practiced real estate and finance law in Jacksonville, and remains active in working with churches and nonprofit organizations. He has a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida  Levin College of Law, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. in History from the University of Illinois.

Charles Shealy, Real Estate and Lending Program Officer 

Charles (Chuck) Shealy joined LISC Jacksonville in April 2017. Chuck has extensive experience in commercial lending and a strong history in working with municipalities, planning departments and neighborhood organizations to meet "smart growth" initiatives and reach mutually beneficial goals. 

Chuck has been involved in the Atlanta real estate market for nearly 30 years holding positions with Confederation Life Insurance Company; Maxwell Properties, Inc.; SCI Real Estate Investments, LLC; and Massell Commercial Real Estate. Prior to joining LISC Jacksonville, he worked for IGI Real Estate Consulting who has offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Greenville South Carolina. 

Chuck graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Finance and Real Estate.

Devin Thompson, Economic Development Officer

Devin Thompson joined LISC in 2016. Prior to moving to Jacksonville, he lived in Washington, DC, where most recently he worked for Jubilee Housing as Director of Institutional Advancement. While serving as the organization’s communications and advocacy leader, he spearheaded the $57 Million Jubilee Life Campaign, oversaw strategic plan development, helped integrate asset-building programs into housing, and managed the Newborn to College & Career Collective Impact Partnership. It was in this multi-partner community-led initiative that he found a passion for strategically balancing community voice and program development.

Before Jubilee, Devin worked for the Corporation for Enterprise Development (a leading think-tank and program incubator in the asset-building field) and also served as Associate Director of Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB). His work at CAAB included managing policy evaluation and advocacy, developing and evaluating pilot programming, and managing the region’s largest VITA coalition. He helped double CAAB’s annual budget in the years immediately following the Great Recession.

Devin grew up on Shelter Island, NY and graduated from Princeton University. After spending time in the financial services industry, he committed himself to community economic empowerment. He lives with his spouse and a small but growing "zoo" of rescued and re-homed animals.

Kathie Silvia, Administrative Assistant

Kathie joined LISC August 2011. Before joining LISC, Kathie worked for various non-profits in Jacksonville including United Way of Northeast Florida and Daniel Memorial, Inc., the oldest child care serving agency in the state of Florida.  Prior to working with non-profits, Kathie worked for Sears Distribution Center in Jacksonville for 15 years.

When not in the office, she enjoys going to the gym and has participated in several half-marathons and has run a full marathon.  She also enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren and working in the yard. But her one favorite thing to do, is decorating her house for Christmas.  Her house is the most decorated house in her neighborhood. 

Wilber Gonzalez, Director of Finance

Wilber currently is responsible for preparing and monitoring the annual budgets for several LISC offices and developing systems to improve the efficiency of their accounting and reporting processes. In addition, he is responsible for overseeing the design of the accounting systems, internal control procedures and financial reporting of numerous LISC subsidiaries.

Wilber brings to LISC over two decades of experience in accounting and finance which include working at Aruvil International, Diagnostic Health Services, and Federacion Nacional Comerciantes. He is fluent in Spanish and holds a bachelor’s in Accounting from Universidad de San Buenaventura and a CPA License from the New York Department of Education.

Wilber joined LISC in 2003 as a Junior Accountant and was promoted to the position of Director of Finance for LISC NYC in 2014. In 2015, he served as a budget and finance consultant to LISC Jacksonville and in 2016 he expanded his role in finance and budgeting as a permanent contracted staff consultant for LISC Jacksonville.