The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced that it has raised more than $400 million for its Project 10X initiative to bridge racial gaps in health, wealth and opportunity—bringing it 40 percent of the way to its $1 billion goal for the 10-year investment effort.
LISC, one of the nation’s largest community development financial institutions (CDFIs), launched Project 10X in November 2020. The initiative builds on more than 40 years of LISC investments in affordable housing, economic development, health, safety, education and jobs, all designed to create opportunity for people and communities that have been excluded from full participation in the nation’s prosperity.
LISC’s initial Project 10X investments are supporting a broad range of opportunities in Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities—from capital for minority-owned banks and businesses to grants for health and education programs to new levels of support for homeownership and family wealth-building.
“We are working with public, private and nonprofit partners to make investments that take on entrenched inequality—whether that means making sure BIPOC-led developers have better access to capital or helping Black and Brown families get fair home appraisals so they can build intergenerational wealth and invest in their communities.” noted Lisa Glover, LISC’s president and CEO. “In that way, Project 10X is additive to work we have been doing for decades.”
LISC is deploying Project 10X capital as equity, debt, and grants that are specifically designed to address the drivers of the racial wealth gap and build wealth for BIPOC families, businesses and communities. Most of the capital raised to date is through LISC’s Black Economic Development Fund and the Emerging Minority Developers Fund, created by LISC’s National Equity Fund (NEF) affiliate, with additional grant and loan funds assembled as well.
“Year after year, study after study, we see data that demonstrates how much more difficult it is for entrepreneurs of color to access the capital they need to build and grow,” noted George Ashton, managing director of the LISC Strategic Investments group, which oversees the Black Economic Development Fund. “If we can help address that with investments in minority-led banks, businesses and anchor institutions, the positive ripple effect extends throughout the communities where they operate.”
Project 10X is also helping address specific local challenges. In the Twin Cities, for example, LISC is working with partners in Minneapolis and St. Paul to create and support the Community Asset Transition Fund, a $30 million fund designed to help BIPOC communities rebuild from the civil unrest and pandemic losses of the past year. The CAT Fund helps nonprofit community organizations finance the temporary acquisition of critical properties that might otherwise be lost to outside speculators, which helps protect community ownership and build community-based wealth. It is designed to give hard-hit business and property owners the chance to rebuild and lay the groundwork for additional investments in the years to come.
“This is what LISC does—assembles capital, convenes partners, and supports the kind of community infrastructure that not only attracts additional economic activity, but protects the interests of long-time residents,” said Peter McLaughlin, executive director of LISC Twin Cities. “The Project 10X approach raises capital specifically devoted to efforts that address deep disparities, so we can invest right now to safeguard BIPOC assets, while also laying the foundation for transformational growth in the future.”
In addition to investments, LISC is also deploying Project 10X grants to support a range of targeted, community-based solutions and demonstrate approaches that can be replicated across the country. Some are national in scope, like a recent multi-city program to help fund BIPOC-led nonprofits that are empowering young people, or a new partnership to connect professional athleteswith community development opportunities.
Others are locally designed and implemented. For example, in Indianapolis, LISC is helping fund a systemic strategy focused on healthy food access, supporting a plan that links urban farms, farmers markets and community kitchens to schools, homes and wrap-around services. The goal is to support both BIPOC food businesses and BIPOC residents as part of a comprehensive community-driven strategy.
In Chicago, LISC is fueling health and employment programs to narrow BIPOC disparities, including efforts that help prepare people to enter the workforce after time in jail or prison.
And in Louisville, where LISC is preparing to open its first local program office in the coming months, the organization is working with partners to seed grants to Black entrepreneurs and Black-led nonprofits through local business development organizations.
LISC is continuing to raise funds to support efforts like these in urban and rural communities throughout the country, Glover stressed, as it moves toward its $1 billion Project 10X goal. “We are still in the early phases of this effort, and we will not let up in our commitment to it,” she added.
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $24 billion to build or rehab more than 436,320 affordable homes and apartments and develop 74.4 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org.
Colleen Mulcahy, for LISC
SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)