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LISC Twin Cities has an ambitious goal between 2019 and 2022: we’re aiming to triple our investments in underserved communities over this four-year period. This includes a commitment to directing investments to projects led by independent developers of color (DOC) who live in these communities and lead community development organizations.
LISC Twin Cities hired JOG Associates, LLC, a Minnesota based, women-of-color owned, consulting firm with expertise in strategic planning, participatory action research, process optimization, and transformative leadership, to study the DOC Capacity Building Initiative. The purpose of the research is to name the barriers that developers of colors face and to guide LISC’ Twin Cities actions over the next four years.
Over the past 30 years, LISC Twin Cities has invested more than $900 million in grants and loans to support local community development projects. We have leveraged close to $3 billion in additional financing supporting development projects to revitalize communities and bring more significant economic opportunity to residents by providing capital, strategy, and know-how to the local community of development partners. Yet despite the past efforts of LISC and other stakeholders, developers of color are not progressing to more advanced stages of financing to activate and complete their real estate development projects and beyond.
To successfully reach our 2019-2022 investment goal, LISC Twin Cities seeks to uncover the barriers that developers of color face, with the willingness to act on the findings, conclusions, and recommendations to address the real problems that restrict the progress of developers of color. The investments and collaborative challenge we face is formidable, even moreso now in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the time to act is now.
The findings of this study point to barriers beyond capacity that are historic and systemically rooted in racism. Some of the key findings include:
To align with LISC Twin Cities’ commitment to increase its investment in under-invested people and communities of color, key recommendations from the study include:
LISC Twin Cities is committed to leading change by focusing on building ownership in historically low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, aligning economic opportunity with place-based investments, and recognizing identity and culture as components of thriving social capital. Directing investments to developers of color who are a part of underserved communities will help us reach our goal of tripling investments in these areas between 2019 and 2022. If you’re interested in learning more, read the DOC report where you’ll find more of the study findings and recommendations that will give LISC Twin Cities the insight to reach our four-year goal.