The newly announced Cincinnati Access Fund has Fifth Third Bank and LISC Greater Cincinnati joining forces to provide capital and technical assistance for minority- and women-owned small businesses. The $3.5 million loan fund addresses the capital gap that many minority small business owners face. As Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO, stated, “We know from our own experience that community-based businesses—especially those in areas that others might consider too risky or complicated—are good investments when done right.”
Check out our top three reads of the week connected to community development work. This week, we're talking gentrification, creative placemaking and land use.
A deep-diving article in Next City plumbs the potential promise and perils of Opportunity Zones. Regulation and oversight of the tax incentive program are crucial to allaying displacement and making sure investments benefit under-resourced communities. LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones weighs in on the new wave of investors eager to get involved, noting that insuring transparency is key, so communities and their allies "really know what people are using this tool for and how they’re using it."
An article in The Wall Street Journal details a creative program to help neighborhood bodegas update their look and stock, and keep pace with demand as new, younger clientele moves in. Together with longtime partner Cypress Hills Local Development Corp, LISC is spearheading the "Commercial Corridor Challenge," supporting small businesses to prosper—not flounder—as demographics change.
In a blog for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Healthcare Quarterly, LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones makes the case for pioneering partnerships between healthcare organizations and community development, uniting to upend the roots of poor health. LISC’s collaborations with ProMedica and Bon Secours Health System, among other companies, are powerful examples of how our combined assets, knowledge and experience can begin to close America’s longevity gap.