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.
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.