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Announcing the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund

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.

Dear Friends,

It goes without saying that as the Covid-19 pandemic fans out across our nation, it is unleashing unprecedented public health and economic challenges for the entire country—most especially for the people and businesses in the historically under-invested places that LISC is dedicated to supporting.

In fact, we are receiving dozens of daily reports from our thousands of community-based partners, in both urban and rural areas, about the urgency of their situation and that of the people and enterprises they serve. Those partners are on the front lines of this crisis, and they are our best intelligence on how and where resources should be deployed right now to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

In response, we are launching the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund to provide immediate and longer-term resources in three critical areas:

  1. Small business support: Entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communities we serve are at a high level of risk and need fast access to grants and patient, flexible loan capital—in addition to help connecting with government assistance—in order to remain viable, help their local economies remain intact and reconstruct following these challenging times.
  2. Organizational support for our community-based partners: In times of adversity such as these, neighbors turn to their local community organizations—CDCs, CBOs, financial empowerment entities, etc. These groups are the delivery systems for resources and services to residents, especially those most vulnerable to the impact of Covid-19. 

    By providing our partners with grants, working capital and other assistance, we can help them stay functioning, stay strong, outlast this pandemic and enable their communities to weather this crisis with emergency rental assistance, help applying for unemployment aid and a gamut of other supports.
  3. Access to technology: Never before has this been more critical, both for our local partners who must serve clients remotely, and for residents who need to work, attend school and connect with the outside world online. Our support will ramp up technological infrastructure, improve broadband access and cybersecurity, provide technical assistance for groups using meeting and other communications platforms, and much more. 

The LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund is seeking resources to provide assistance across all these areas. And all of this support will strengthen our partners and the communities they serve not just during this crisis, but in the recovery and transformation needed in the aftermath of this period. Donate to the fund here

We are thrilled that Verizon has already stepped in with a groundbreaking $2.5 million investment that will fuel LISC grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses confronting acute financial hardship and who need this capital in order to survive. And U.S. Bank has provided a $500,000 grant to provide crucial assistance to the community-based partners and small businesses that are part of our national network. 

Why have they chosen to work with LISC? For one, for our 40 years of experience catalyzing opportunity with the people and in the places that will be most disrupted by this pandemic. Including our own grants, loans and equity, we’ve leveraged $65 billion in investments into these communities.

And because we’ve been first responders before—we have led transformative relief and resiliency efforts during and after the Great Recession and in the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricanes Sandy, Harvey and Maria. Because we have a strong web of 2,500 seasoned local partners who know their communities, and know how to deliver and do so expeditiously. This is a national effort that we are extremely well-equipped to execute at the local level, on the ground, in the lives of people who are being hit first, and hit hardest, by the pandemic.

Moreover, we uphold an unwavering commitment to equity: we have always worked, and will continue to work, in underinvested communities, communities of color, communities in rural and urban America, that deserve the same attention, resources and seat at the table that more privileged communities have come to expect. 

The gifts to our initiative represent a tremendous beginning for which we are extremely grateful. Still, answering the call of our communities requires an all-out effort. Every investment in this fund will enable LISC to build resilience and provide support to those who need it the most, so they can surmount this challenge, and shore up strength for the future beyond it.

We are focused on basic needs and essential services right now, and we recognize that the situation is evolving quickly. Please reach out to me with any questions whatsoever. And please join us in our urgent response to the Covid-19 crisis and help us help communities—for the good of our country, and of our collective tomorrow.

In gratitude,

Maurice A. Jones
LISC CEO & President

To learn more about LISC’s response to the pandemic, visit our dedicated Covid-19 web pages or contact Beth Marcus, our SVP of Development.

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