The winners of this year’s Michael Rubinger Community Fellowship award have long been focused on ways to expand economic opportunity and build safer, stronger communities. Through the fellowship program, they now have the chance to focus on transformative efforts they might not otherwise have the time or resources to pursue. “All of us in community development stand on the shoulders of local leaders,” said Michael Rubinger, the former LISC CEO for whom the program is named. “When we nurture them, we expand the nation’s capacity to create jobs, build housing, improve health and fuel cohesive communities.”
Our ten inaugural Rubinger Fellows have come to the end of their fellowship year, and our hats are off to them! In addition to the manuscripts, playbooks, poems, sermons and other creations the fellows produced to cap the year, they shared some reflections on their highlights and lessons learned as Rubinger Fellows. Watch the videos to hear what they had to say.
Community transformation demands a mosaic of resources, and one of the most important is knowledge—especially when it comes to understanding how government policy has shaped racial and income inequality in our neighborhoods. That’s why LISC Milwaukee has been sponsoring community book groups (90 in all) to read "The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein, an indispensable narrative of how federal and local legislation created and enforced racial segregation across America over the course of the 20th century. To celebrate this community learning effort, Richard Rothstein visited Milwaukee to speak to residents and local leaders about his book and strategies for reversing segregation.
The International Economic Development Council honored LISC president and CEO Maurice A. Jones with its top award this week, in recognition of LISC’s work to promote inclusive growth and economic development under his leadership. “Jones’s work has greatly enhanced the economic prosperity and quality of life for individuals and businesses in the communities his organization serves,” said the Craig Richard, the Council’s board chair.
For 15 years, LISC has been investing in Kalamazoo's historic Edison neighborhood, where decades of deindustrialization and decline had severed residents from jobs, educational opportunities and accessible healthcare. Today, gleaming new community facilities and flourishing small businesses are generating good jobs, and preparing people for employment. And resident-led projects to beautify the district and create social bonds are nudging the neighborhood into a more connected, dynamic future.