ESPN, Under Armour and LISC have announced that four new communities are eligible for grants through the Replay initiative to transform vacant lots into community recreation hubs. The program, which is in its second year, will award a total of $430,000 to help neighborhood groups in Atlanta, Detroit, Oakland, and Toledo ensure that sports and recreation are accessible to all residents. As LISC’s senior program director for Sports & Recreation, Beverly Smith, stated, “Our on-the-ground experience in local communities coupled with the resources and expertise of ESPN and Under Armour has been a highly successful formula for creating useful recreational spaces.”
As we kick off 2019, LISC is continuing to grow its investments in economic opportunity and its on-the-ground presence in communities across the country. We unveiled a new program office in Charlotte this week that will spearhead $25 million in investments over the next few years—all designed to boost affordable housing, improve economic mobility and raise standards of living in North Carolina’s largest city. Long-time community leader Ralphine Caldwell has been named executive director to lead the effort.
LISC has named George Ashton as its new managing director for strategic investments. He plans to lead LISC’s work on Opportunity Zones with a clear-eyed view of the potential for community gains—focusing not just on how much capital can be raised, but on deploying it in ways that fuel lasting benefits for residents. “We are going to drive opportunities that make sense for places we are trying to serve and the systems that we are trying to change,” noted Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO.
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.”
Citizens Bank has announced funding to expand the impact of LISC Financial Opportunity Centers in three cities, fueling programs that help people train for jobs in growth industries and move from entry-level positions to career pathways. "By supporting these programs through the Citizens Charitable Foundation, Citizens is helping us create opportunities for more people to raise their standards of living—and, in the process, contribute to economic growth in their communities,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO.