LISC National
Our Stories

Our Commitment to Social Justice

A Statement of Solidarity

The LISC WNY team shares our deep condolences with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the tragically long list of others who have lost life at the hands of police brutality and racist crimes. We know families and neighbors in our own community have also experienced this loss and injustice. There is real pain that words cannot capture, and so many are left feeling angry, powerless, and helpless. 

Western New York is not powerless. WNY is resilient and we, as a community, demand solutions that create a more humane society for our children to grow. We want to be clear that LISC WNY unequivocally stands with our community as an active partner working to reconcile a racist system that has perpetuated poverty, segregation, and health inequity for generations in our neighborhoods. We are humbled and inspired by the strength and courage of the organizations and residents leading this work now, along with those that have been doing the hard work long before this time.  

The trauma of racial injustice has recently been compounded by the significant and tragic impacts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our neighborhoods that have experienced historic disinvestment have also experienced a disproportionate prevalence of the COVID-19 virus. We know this is a result of a lack of investment in services and supports for things like economic stability, housing, social & community services, the built environment & transportation, access to health care, and education. 

As a community development financial institution (CDFI), LISC was originally established as an entity that directs money to people and places that need it most to reverse these effects. Today, LISC WNY - our small, new and growing team - is deeply committed to listening and learning more about how we can maximize our role as a CDFI to support these neighborhoods in realizing their own visions for the future.   

LISC's National CEO, Maurice Jones, said:

“Intention created the racial wealth gap. It will take intention to close it.” 

Our local office is energetically working with this intention. We are 

  • supporting the creation of stronger networks of community ownership; 
  • increasing opportunity for Black, indigenous people of color and other underrepresented populations in our own work (we’re hiring);  
  • empowering and inviting leadership from our neighborhoods of focus to the public processes in which we participate; 
  • advocating for policy reform that eliminates public health crises such as police brutality, disinvestment in education, community support services, & mobility infrastructure, and health disparity in low income zip codes; and 
  • investing in regeneration efforts led by neighborhoods that create healthy, vibrant places to live, while fighting against investment that results in displacement.    

Reconciling this system will be messy and difficult, and surely, we will make mistakes. We invite you to learn with us, participate in this journey, and help shape LISC WNY’s development. We will share our progress and work with you as we go and welcome recommendations about how we can continue to do better.  

Working together and in full support of lifting up our neighborhoods, we believe that we can begin to create a more just Western New York where all people are treated with respect and dignity no matter what race or zip code.  

In solidarity,  

Julie, Tyra, Saira, Kate, and Brittany  

A Message From Maurice Jones, LISC's National CEO