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This year we celebrate 25 years investing in rural people, places, and enterprises. We are proud of our OneLISC collaboration with community leaders, funders, and organizations that have infused a total of $905 million to provide technical assistance, loans, and capacity building for 86 local rural partners across more than 2,200 rural counties.
As we celebrate, we also offer a challenge to others—it's time for a deeper commitment, a promise, to forge resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity. What does that promise look like? We are calling for a pledge to catalyze at least 20 percent of community development impact in rural America.
Why 20 percent? For one, because 20 percent of our country’s population resides in rural places. That’s 60 million people who live, work, raise their families, go to school, play games and do business in rural communities. We want to see impact that matches those numbers.
We believe this kind of equity is an imperative for our country—to enable vibrant, healthy rural communities to thrive, for the good of people, of the environment, and of the country’s economy as a whole. From the standpoint of a competitive America, everyone must leverage the extraordinary talent and assets of the vast part of the nation that is not urban.
This is a not a measure of dollars invested—in part because costs vary so widely depending on geography. This is a measure of actual impact as gauged by units of housing created and numbers of jobs generated, small businesses incubated and people connected with opportunities that help them build the lives they want.
The LISC Rural Promise, then, is an invitation to all of us—to all the members of our organization, as well as to our funders and community partners. It’s an invitation to commit and extend time, resources and talent for the benefit of our rural places and the people who live there.
LISC CEO, Maurice A. Jones, shares the launch of the LISC Rural Promise, a commitment to elevate our impact in rural America by 20 percent over the next three years.
Q&A with LISC CEO, Maurice A. Jones about LISC's commitment to rural America.