LISC and the City of Kalamazoo entered into a historic partnership to grow economic opportunity and increase access to affordable housing. By 2022, the partnership will provide a total of $43.5 million to fuel these efforts across the city. The city will carry out its commitment through the Foundation for Excellence (FFE), an innovative collaboration by the city and private donors to support community revitalization.
LISC is elevating our role in economic development, particularly as it relates to job creation and job placement. We are piloting a robust economic development agenda in a handful of sites across the nation, one of which is the City of Kalamazoo. With the support of the city, we will put hundreds of individuals on a path toward living-wage jobs and improved economic futures. Our activities will include establishing a Financial Opportunity Center in the Northside neighborhood to help residents build credit, savings and assets; increasing small business lending; and funding façade improvements along commercial corridors.
The second pillar of this joint partnership is affordable housing. Our goals are to prevent tax foreclosures; facilitate the development of new and rehabilitated housing units; and provide resident homeowner education. Throughout the duration of this three-year partnership, we will impact over 500 affordable housing units and 750 Kalamazoo residents through financial and homeownership education programming.
“The City of Kalamazoo continues to improve life for our residents, and our partnership with LISC will allow us to leverage resources and expertise to build a more vibrant, prosperous, and equitable city,” said Jim Ritsema, City Manager.
“In the short time since its creation, the Foundation for Excellence has already had a profound effect in many of our focus areas,” said Laura Lam, an Assistant City Manager for the City of Kalamazoo. “We are excited to have the opportunity to work with partners like LISC, whose mission aligns closely with that of the FFE, to magnify the impact that these types of investments will have for Kalamazoo residents.”
This joint initiative also aligns with the goals of the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Strategic Vision and Master Plan, further encouraging the coordination of citywide resources to increase impact.
The Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence addresses challenges to the prosperity of the city to help make Kalamazoo the most dynamic, fulfilling and equitable place that it can be for all neighbors to live, work and enjoy life.