An article in ImpactAlpha features Morgan Stanley’s chief sustainability officer and LISC board member Audrey Choi describing the “tremendous growth opportunities” in social impact investment. LISC’s recent first-of-its-kind bond offering, underwritten by Morgan Stanley, is a prime example of how benefit to the community can benefit business, too.
Four years ago, Southwest Chicago suffered high rates of vacancy, blight and crime. But a determined group of neighborhood organizers and their partners, including LISC, have begun to turn the community around. Now there are 21 vacant buildings instead of 93, and crime has plummeted by 53 percent. A new $1 million pledge from LISC is helping take the work even further.
Payday loans, with interest rates as high as 700 percent, drive low-income people deeper and deeper into poverty and suck resources out of local communities. To crack down on the high concentration of predatory lenders in Toledo, LISC helped push through a city zoning change that puts limits on payday lenders. Now, the state of Ohio is weighing similar protective legislation, and LISC is supporting employer-based small dollar loans that help workers build positive credit histories without getting trapped in debt.
An editorial in the Duluth News Tribune celebrates LISC’s history of investment and highlights CEO Maurice Jones’ vision for spreading growth and prosperity more broadly in Minnesota and all across the country. In fact, without LISC, say the paper’s editors, $300 million of economic activity, and countless jobs and projects, might never have been realized in Duluth.
Last month, LISC became the first-ever CDFI to make an S&P-rated bond offering—$100 million worth—to help bring capital to low-income communities. It completely sold out and was, in fact, oversubscribed. Now, a second CDFI, The Reinvestment Fund, has offered $50 million worth of bonds of their own. In an article for ImpactAlpha, Oscar Perry Abello examines how the brave new world of private-capital bonds could change financing for projects in underinvested places.