Did you hear what’s brewing in Chicago? Starbucks Coffee Company announced a $10 million investment to drive economic opportunity in the city’s underserved communities. The funds, which are slated to help finance more than 500 loans to support small businesses and create jobs, will be disbursed among four community lenders with expertise in those neighborhoods, and LISC Chicago is one. The investment “will deliver clear benefits to residents, while making our neighborhoods safer and stronger,” said LISC Chicago ED Meghan Harte.
We need to look at the impact of investing in rural community development on its own terms, argues Suzanne Anarde, outgoing vice president and director of Rural LISC in an essay for Shelterforce. Projects may not touch the numbers of people or generate the returns of urban investments, but their effects are every bit as important, and ripple far and wide through the small, intricately connected networks of rural life.
In an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones and Howard Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare, describe how their new $100 million will take aim at the social determinants of health in Virginia. Investing in housing, job training and placement, education and transportation, among other requisites of a healthy life, are key to closing the life expectancy gap and creating a strong economy, they argue. Now is the time for corporations, nonprofits and charitable organizations to play leadership roles in making those investments a reality.
JP Morgan Chase and Fifth Third Bank announced on Wednesday that it will invest $9.1 million in minority-owned small businesses in Chicago neighborhood through its Entrepreneurs of Color Fund. LISC will continue to guide program mentorship, alongside our partner Acción Chicago. LISC senior director Steve Hall emphasized how the fund can help transform communities and forge opportunity: “It’s important for safety. It’s important for quality of life. And it really impacts the youth of those neighborhoods," he said.
Donsia Strong-Hill, executive director of LISC Milwaukee, was tapped to give the keynote address at Milwaukee Biz Journal’s Women of Influence Awards last week—and to mark that distinction, the Journal interviewed her about LISC’s investments to spark and grow small businesses in historically underinvested, minority communities. It’s a critical tool, said Strong-Hill, for supporting families of color to build generational wealth.