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.”
Twenty years ago, J.F. Bryan IV, a Florida insurance executive with a deep-rooted commitment to his city’s communities, spearheaded a fundraising campaign that got LISC Jacksonville off the ground. The story of Bryan’s tenure as head of LISC Jax’s local advisory board shows what it takes to drive a successful LISC program—boundless dedication to creating opportunity, and an intimate knowledge of local places and the people who make them hum. Says Bryan, “Every neighborhood, regardless of how challenged, has human resources.”
Since 2012, LISC Philadelphia has been supporting and honing the Community Connectors program, forging a model for resident engagement rooted in local places, that leverages local knowledge and strengths. An article in Generocity delves into the workings of the program, the neighborhood people who make it tick and how LISC’s sustained partnership has helped improve community connection, safety and wellbeing across the city.