The fundamental role of LISC AmeriCorps members is to serve essential community needs. With the onslaught of the coronavirus epidemic, our members are adapting and devising creative new ways to help the rural and urban residents they work with handle the seismic social, economic and public health shocks of the crisis. (Photo: Americorps members in Jackson, MS in 2019; Member Cynthia Renteria is third from left.)
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.
Along with much of the world, we are closely monitoring the rapidly unfolding news of the Covid-19 pandemic. As ever, we are committed to meeting the needs of our partners and the communities we serve, and to supporting the wellbeing of our employees and the people and places where we live and work. Here are some of the things we are doing to respond to this unprecedented situation.
A new white paper on LISC’s capacity building efforts describes what it takes to position local organizations to meet the needs of their constituents and build equitable and inclusive communities. In the blog that follows, the authors discuss our country’s fundamental requirement for strong local associations—a need identified by a famous observer of American democracy nearly 200 years ago.