LISC is taking swift action in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to mitigate economic impact on residents in the hundreds of communities where we work. We are launching the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund to assemble and deploy resources to our local partners, small businesses and residents who are being hit hardest. The Fund will deliver operating capital, emergency subsidies and IT support, as well as technical assistance, to keep our partners and their communities strong and functioning through this unprecedented situation.
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.
On a post-hurricane assessment visit to Puerto Rico, LISC Rural program officer Anna Hurt learned that baseball fields around the island are more than just a place for a game, they are a vital resource that brings the neighborhood together and boosts local economies. Damage to community fields is still deeply felt throughout the island. In this blog, Anna shares the value of bringing sports and recreation into the disaster recovery discussion and the launch of Play Ball Again, a new initiative to revive 25 fields for 17,500 boys and girls across Puerto Rico. Last week, LISC celebrated the opening of two such fields, with support from Maestro Cares Foundation, Good Bunny Foundation, UNICEF USA, and Chicago Cubs Charities, and showed how communities like the one where Ana lives come together for the love of the game, and one another.
Leading names in sports and entertainment joined community leaders and families in Loiza, Puerto Rico, to celebrate the first baseball fields restored through Play Ball Again, a LISC program that aims to revive 25 Little League facilities for 17,500 boys and girls across the island. Funded through strong collaborations with Maestro Cares Foundation, Good Bunny Foundation, UNICEF USA, Chicago Cubs Charities and Kohler Company, the program is focused on urban and rural communities that were hit hard by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
The deputy director of economic development for PathStone Corporation and a LISC Rubinger Fellow, Javier E. Zapata-Rodríguez has an insider's view on how the fallout from hurricane Maria has shaped economic development in Puerto Rico, the imperative of supporting small business on the island, and how Puerto Ricans have galvanized to build resiliency for themselves, two years after the megastorm made landfall.