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.”
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.
LISC Jacksonville executive director Janet Owens recently spoke with WJCT, the area’s NPR affiliate, about the city’s incentive plan to eliminate food deserts and what it will take to make that happen. Owens, who was honored with a OneJax Humanitarian Award in April for her years of service to the city, discussed how that plan will need to a range of interconnected resources. It isn’t just about adding more groceries stores, she said. Partners need to come together to close the gap on the deeper issues that prevent neighborhoods from moving forward, like housing, economic development and employment.Listen Now
Ricardo Flores, ED of LISC San Diego, published an emphatic op-ed in the Voice of San Diego about the desperate need for more local and state spending to alleviate homelessness. As in nearly every part of the country, San Diego’s homeless population is growing, and last year suffered a Hepatitis A outbreak. “Today’s homelessness crisis has the potential to worsen into a catastrophic public health disaster,” warned Flores, explaining that preventive strategies, housing and support services demand much greater investment to head off a larger crisis.