An investment of $2.5 million from Verizon is making it possible for LISC to begin offering critical relief and resiliency-building support to small businesses facing immediate financial threat because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will go to make grants of up to $10,000, especially to entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served places who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. Verizon will highlight and bolster these efforts through their inaugural "Pay It Forward Live" online concert series.
We have, and it’s right in line with our commitment to skilling up women to take on well-paying jobs in growth industries. LISC L.A. program assistant Samantha Salmon weighs in on how recognizing women in the building fields is a means for paving the path for our sisters, and how LISC invests in creating opportunities for girls and women to succeed in non-traditional fields.
LISC’s SVP of economic development Bill Taft, LISC LA executive director Tunua, Thrash-Ntuk and Hanna Love of Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program offer a concrete outline for how local organizations, stakeholders and policy makers can help spark economic vibrancy and inclusion in historically under-invested communities. Invoking the myriad causes of LA’s homelessness crisis, the blog for Brookings offers a multi-pronged place-based and people-centered approach that is forging authentic change in South LA, and in parts of Philadelphia and Indianapolis, too.
“It is time not only to invest more, but also invest differently, in the well-being of American workers, especially the significant pool of untapped talent that already exists,” said LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones and Citi EVP Ed Skyler in a joint op ed published in USA Today. They urge employers and nonprofits to look closely at the success of community-based Bridges to Career Opportunities programs as a model for helping unemployed and underemployed workers break down barriers to quality jobs, while helping businesses fill millions of open positions that they need for growth. Citi Foundation has partnered with LISC on a $10 million grant to fuel 40 Bridges programs across the country.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Nonprofit Quarterly, LISC COO Annie Donovan delves into LISC’s 40 years of connecting capital to disinvested places, and people to opportunity. From spearheading a “comprehensive” approach in community development, to elevating health and racial equity in its investments, to forging a $500M affordable housing fund for the Bay Area, LISC continually refines and augments its work. The commitment to truly upend inequalities demands intentional action, says Donovan, which has led LISC to take on “more capacity building, more support for advocacy. That is how you create systems change.”