In this week’s Stanford Social Innovation Review, LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones takes a close look at the outcomes from one of the largest single-city community development efforts in the country, the decade-long New Communities Program (NCP) in Chicago. Most notable, Jones writes, is data on community networks and how closely they connect to local growth and opportunity. The evidence confirms what community developers have long assumed but previously never proven: a durable local infrastructure of nonprofits, businesses, and other stakeholders is able to both attract and absorb capital in ways that measurably improve residents’ quality of life.
Is Indianapolis feeling the strains of gentrification and displacement? LISC Indy wanted to find out, so they commissioned a study from the Center for Community Progress. The results were mixed, some surprising, some not: only five of 200 Census tracts have experienced displacement while many more have lost significant population, income and jobs. Areas that are home to artists have been epicenters of revitalization, and are key to LISC’s Great Places 2020 initiative to transform five Indy neighborhoods in the next four years.
A recent report by LISC and the Institute of Museum and Library Services describes some of the visionary ways these anchor institutions are helping improve their neighborhoods. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, local libraries (one in an affordable housing complex) and community museums offer everything from recreation facilities and digital learning labs to meeting space and cultural programming, according to what patrons need and ask for.
Education Week takes a close look at LISC's recent study on charter schools and their efforts to finance new school facilities to meet skyrocketing demand. Many are struggling to find capital they need to build, expand and upgrade schools, which primarily serve disadvantaged students and low-income communities. States like Colorado, Texas and Utah have responded with innovative programs that leverage their states' credit ratings to boost charter school bond issuance. Schools that qualify can spend less on interest payments and more on classroom instruction.