PROVIDENCE, February 27, 2018 – LISC Rhode Island’s year-end report, “By The Numbers,” shows a record-breaking investment in Rhode Island during 2017. The totals reported by the non-profit reflect a $26,764,004 dollar investment, comprised of $2,263,112 in grants and $24,500,892 in investments in mission-driven real estate development located around the state.
The total dollars invested in 2017 exceeded last year’s total by more than $1.7 million, and greater than 2015 by nearly $8 million.
“It’s great to have this level of investment in Rhode Island,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director. “Last year, we set a goal of investing $25 million to celebrate our 25th year in Rhode Island. To have surpassed that amount this year is a great achievement. With this level of investment, LISC has been a real change-maker.”
In addition to the monetary investment, LISC provided more than 2,000 hours of technical assistance in program areas and on projects with more than 135 local partners and community organizations. That is in addition to the nearly 10,000 hours contributed to Rhode Island Community Development Corporations (CDCs) through the AmeriCorps program, administered by LISC.
“Part of our overall investment in the community is delivered in the form of technical assistance to the partner,” says Cola. “Our program managers have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the process. We can help our CDCs by convening key partners, identifying the experts, and navigating program funding requirements to help get things done.”
A number of additional strategic initiatives were undertaken in 2017. LISC invested nearly $13 million in one landmark project to build the Central Falls Community Health Station, a project that uses a combination of grant funding, New Market Tax Credits, loan financing and federal funding to cover the $15 million project costs. The Health Station will represent a new way to deliver health care to the residents and provide a “one-stop-shop” of services within walking distance of most Central Falls residents.
“We were completely on board with their plans,” said Cola. “I felt this was a critical project to get behind with a comprehensive funding stack. This kind of community development not only has the potential to completely change the life and health of the residents in one of our most underserved communities, but also stands to create an anchor institution for future development in the community. It’s a win-win for everyone in Central Falls.”
Additional initiatives include the expansion of the LISC Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC) and Bridges to Career Opportunities (BCO) programs to include the re-entry population. In addition to ongoing program funding for FOC and BCO, LISC distributed $476,000 to Amos House to specifically target this population with meaningful services and supports. The funding was part of a grant LISC National received from the Department of Labor to expand proven methods for reducing recidivism.
“As a result of this funding, Amos House will provide intensive wraparound supports related to barriers specific to the re-entry population. Participants will be able to complete the education and skills training components of the BCO program and transition to employment. It will translate into meaningful change for this vulnerable population,” said Cola.
Another key investment in 2017 was nearly $2 million in the construction of a new affordable housing complex at 93 Cranston Street in Providence. The new building will include 30 residences of mixed-income housing and the Urban Greens Co-op, an 8,000 sq.ft. community-owned grocer which will offer healthy, affordable, sustainably-sourced and local food options.
“We were committed to helping the Urban Greens project happen,” said Cola. “Not only did it add critical housing, but it also added a source for fresh fruit and vegetables in a food dessert. Because of that, LISC could access funds from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative to make this project viable.”
LISC Rhode Island focuses on projects and programs related to affordable housing and mission-driven real estate; technical assistance and funding for improvements in child care and early learning facilities; improvements in health equity through our work as the backbone agency for the Pawtucket/Central Falls Health Equity Zone; and various Income and Wealth Building initiatives through the Financial Opportunity Centers, Bridges to Career Opportunities program and the administration of the SNAP Employment and Training program for the State. Other national program areas include Creative Placemaking and Public Safety, which are both located in Rhode Island.
LISC Rhode Island — Together with residents, partners, and local leaders, LISC Rhode Island forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across our state – great places to live, work, visit, do business, and raise families. Our strategies – investing in real estate, increasing family income & wealth, stimulating economic development, improving access to quality education, and supporting healthy environments and lifestyles – work together to improve the health and well-being of our neighbors. LISC has invested $372 million in neighborhoods across our state, helping to create more than 7,900 affordable homes and support the development of more than 2 million square feet of commercial, child care, educational, and community space. We are committed to building strong neighborhoods and healthy communities where individuals, businesses and families can thrive.
eklinkenberg (at) lisc.org