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Why Residents Should Always Have a Seat at the Table

Taking into account resident voices and the particular needs of local places is crucial to making grants for any community development work, writes Detroit LISC director Tahirih Ziegler in a blog for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. It requires time and collaborative effort, but in the long run, place-based grant making pays off in equitable progress for communities.

The excerpt below is from:
"Why Funders Shouldn’t Overlook Place-Based Grantmaking"
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy blog

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has worked in Detroit since 1990, investing close to $200 million in grants, loans and equity into neighborhoods in the city. Over the past five years, LISC’s work has focused on neighborhood investment around affordable and supportive housing, health clinics, grocery stores, safety initiatives, prosperity models and home repair financing for existing homeowners. While LISC continues to focus on housing as critical to stabilizing and strengthening neighborhoods, our work has evolved to reflect a more comprehensive concept of neighborhood revitalization that includes parks, public transportation, quality grocery stores, safe streets and access to good schools, health care, jobs and other amenities that make communities vital, appealing places to live, work and do business.

Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project in Detroit, MI
Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project in Detroit, MI

To do this work, LISC receives crucial support from the Kresge Foundation, the subject of a recent Philamplify report. I was excited to participate in NCRP’s recent webinar, “PIMBY: Philanthropy in My Back Yard” that connects the report to the practice of place-based grantmaking, and to discuss how foundation investment in communities is a prime strategy for long-term success.

In 2012, Detroit LISC began a place-based initiative to help build sustainable communities in five neighborhoods: two are in Southwest Detroit and have largely Hispanic populations (one of which is adjacent to the downtown central business district and has begun to attract entrepreneurs and people looking to move back to the city). One is a historically stable, middle class neighborhood in Northwest Detroit that was negatively impacted by the foreclosure crisis. Another is in a key location north of the city center along a new transit line scheduled to open in 2017. The fifth is a neighborhood in Northeast Detroit with a high concentration of children and returning residents but little real estate investment. Continued [+]...


Tahirih Ziegler, Executive Director, LISC Detroit
With nearly 20 years of community development experience, Ziegler honed her skills by rising through the ranks of the LISC organization, where she held several key leadership and capacity-building roles. Prior to joining the Detroit LISC office, Ziegler began as a Program Officer for Michigan LISC, and was subsequently promoted to the position of Executive Director.