LISC announces $25 million to spur economic opportunity in Rhode Island’s low-income communities

PROVIDENCE (September 21, 2015)–The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is kicking off its 25th year of work in Rhode Island with $25 million in new funding for projects and programs that will help create strong, healthy communities that are good places to live, work and raise a family.


LISC announced its Invest in Rhode Island program today alongside the state’s top political leaders, who applauded the economic opportunities the new capital would help spur.

“Everyone has a role to play in Rhode Island’s economic comeback. LISC is playing their part,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo.  “One of my top priorities is to provide opportunities for all Rhode Islanders and this initiative invests in Rhode Island providing key funding in affordable housing, workforce development programs and healthy communities.”

LISC and Gov. Raimondo were joined today by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Rep. Jim Langevin (R-R.I.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Sec. of State Nellie Gorbea, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Central Falls Mayor James Diossa.

Under the plan, LISC will make at least $25 million in grants, low-interest loans and equity investments over the next year to support new affordable housing, safe streets, vibrant commercial corridors, quality child care centers and schools, job training and placement programs, and health gains in places with high rates of poverty and unemployment.

“LISC has been a tremendous partner to Rhode Island Housing,” noted Barbara Fields, executive director of Rhode Island Housing, “together, we work to build a bridge to the middle class for more Rhode Island families. Like us, LISC recognizes that investments in affordable housing provide a major boost to our local economy — creating jobs, strengthening neighborhoods, and building a better Rhode Island.  We look forward to continuing to support LISC’s efforts as they move into this exciting next chapter.”

The extent of the investments will vary. For example, LISC will provide small grants and loans to help projects get off the ground, reducing underwriting risk so that private lenders and investors are comfortable providing financing. Other investments will provide significant development dollars to build new housing and community facilities. Additionally, funding will help nonprofits hire the staff and expertise they need to address pressing local issues.

“We’re proud to have supported LISC’s work here since day one. Their impact on everyday Rhode Islanders can be seen in safer neighborhoods, more affordable housing, improved early childhood learning and more economically secure lives in every corner of the state,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

Invest in Rhode Island builds on the $300 million LISC has already invested across the state since 1991, said Jeanne Cola, executive director of LISC Rhode Island. Those dollars have leveraged an additional $1.1 billion in investments in the state while supporting development of nearly 7,300 affordable homes and 1.9 million square feet of retail and community space.

“This $25 million is the largest single commitment we’ve ever made in Rhode Island,” Cola noted. “We want to do all we can to support the economic recovery of the state, and we also want to make sure low-income people are part of that recovery. This program helps do both.”

About LISC Rhode Island

LISC Rhode Island is part of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit that equips struggling communities with the capital, program strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. Since 1980, LISC has invested $14.7 billion to build or rehab 330,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 53 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. LISC Rhode Island began its work in 1991 and has since invested $300 million across the state, supporting development of 7,500 affordable homes and 2 million square feet of commercial and community space.