LISC National
What We Do


Douglass-Sumner residents remember their neighborhood as a bustling community that anchored Downtown Kansas City, Kansas, to its south, with businesses, a restaurant, many churches and two schools. This historic neighborhood was a stop on the Underground Railroad, the birthplace of Charlie “Byrd” Parker, and home to many notable local African Americans. 

With its close proximity to downtown and nearby quarries, steel mills and stockyards, Douglass-Sumner was a great place for working-class families for decades. Another draw was Sumner High School – now Sumner Academy – which was the first all-black high school in Kansas.  Desegregation in 1958 severely affected the community as families were forced to attend schools elsewhere.  Over the years, residents continued to leave. The neighborhood began a slow decline that eventually left it with more vacant lots than livable structures.

Today, LISC is partnering with residents of Douglass-Sumner to help develop a unified vision for their neighborhood and build the capacity of the organization. In partnership with CHWC, LISC is also building new houses in Douglass-Sumner. As a result, these formerly vacant and blighted properties are becoming homes to new families from diverse backgrounds.

Douglass-Sumner's  2016-2018 Quality of Life Plan outlines the neighborhood’s goals and strategies.


Douglss-Sumner's Neighborhood Monitoring Report provides detailed socioeconomic data about the community.



Ina Anderson, Senior Program Officer