In an op-ed for the Daily Yonder, Suzanne Anarde, VP of Rural LISC, and Matt Dunne of the Center on Rural Innovation take aim at pervasive media portrayals of a rural America in hopeless decline (witness a recent New York Times column by Paul Krugman). The challenges are real, they acknowledge, but far from intractable. We must take cues from small towns building innovative local economies, and invest strategically to spark sustainable development and growth in the heartland—for the good of the entire country.
In a letter to the New York Times responding to an article about dwindling opportunities for low-skilled workers, Sam Marks, LISC NYC executive director, makes the case for baking equity and inclusion into economic development incentives and policies. By doing so, New York and others cities can support affordable housing and businesses that offer middle-skill jobs, and ensure that all residents benefit, regardless of their background.
In recognition of Black History Month, LISC Phoenix program officer Dominic Braham reflects on the African-American history of his city, and how the influence of a historic “dividing line” between downtown and the redlined neighborhoods of South Phoenix still shapes its communities. Developing local leadership of color, connecting people with the region’s prosperity, and committing to racial equity as the city develops, he explains, are keys to authentic civic engagement and a more inclusive Phoenix. Photo courtesy of InSite Consultants.
In an opinion piece for the Providence Journal, LISC Rhode Island ED Jeanne Cola stresses the need for a dedicated funding stream to alleviate the state’s affordable housing gap—a gap that is widening as fewer resources are funneled to housing solutions. Without such funding, she writes, “money spent on education, workforce training and economic development will not have the impact we hope it all will.”
Mona Mangat has been a core member of LISC’s community safety team for more than a decade and was recently named National Director for Safety and Justice. She now leads our work to support community-law enforcement partnerships in neighborhoods across the country and spearheads LISC’s increased focus on “pre-entry” and “re-entry” programming: that is, strategies to help prevent vulnerable residents from getting caught up in the justice system in the first place, and to support formerly incarcerated people as they rejoin their communities and the workforce.