LISC Rhode Island Awards More than $525,000 to Local Community Development Partners

PROVIDENCE, August 8, 2018 – Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island today announced more than $525,000 in grant awards for eight community development corporations in the state. The grants were made from LISC’s Neighborhood Development Fund (NDF) for the 2018-2019 season.

Since its inception, LISC’s Neighborhood Development Fund has awarded more than $10.2 million to community development corporations in Rhode Island. The program’s primary focus is to increase the ability of the state’s CDCs to produce affordable housing while addressing broader community revitalization issues.

“Rhode Island, like the rest of the country, is experiencing a serious housing crisis,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. “The rental market is very tight in many communities and the median house price has increased to the highest rate in 11 years. There is a critical shortage for housing for seniors and families, especially those earning below $50,000 a year.”

The eight CDCs receiving funding this year include: Church Community Housing Corporation; East Bay Community Development Corporation; NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley; Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corporation; One Neighborhood Builders; Stop Wasting Abandoned Properties, Inc.(SWAP); Smith Hill Community Development Corporation; and the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation.

“LISC provides crucial operating support. Without it, CDCs in Rhode Island wouldn’t be able to do what they do,” says Sue Bodington, President of the Board of Directors of Church Community Housing and former Deputy Director for Programs at Rhode Island Housing. “It is not easy work and it’s hard to find the funding to do what they do.

“For many years, Church Community Housing has been the primary provider of affordable homes in Newport County, which has some of the highest housing costs in the state. Without their work, housing would be out of reach for many of the people who work here and the local economy would suffer. Businesses rely on the very people who can’t afford to live here,” says Bodington.

Church Community Housing Executive Director Stephen Ostiguy oversees a restoration and expansion project for affordable housing units in Newport County.

In addition to funding operational costs, the NDF provides resources for professional development training, operational resources for computer and systems upgrades, and technical assistance to help CDCs strengthen internal operations.

“The Professional Development Series fills an important need for the successful operations of Rhode Island CDCs,” said Cola. “The work performed by our partners is critical to the economic growth and sustainability of our communities, and this is one way we work with them to ensure they have the necessary skills to excel.”

The Fund recently announced session topics for the 2018-2019 season of the Professional Development Series for Non-Profit Leaders. The training program works to build the capacity of executive directors and program managers and includes the evaluation and understanding of non-profit financial statements, human resource best practices and procedures, and board management and succession planning. The sessions explore commonly used financial terms, names and uses for key financial statements and reports, and the use of financial statements to understand business models and operational performance.

“We heard from our community partners that they would like to have a deeper understanding of financial statements,” said Cola, “so we are bringing back an outside facilitator to do a deeper dive into the financial aspects of leading a successful business. We also will include some sessions in the fall and early next year on networking, succession planning, HR and Communications.”

The NDF program uses a combination of federal funding and local philanthropic dollars to support the training program as well as to provide grants to qualified organizations.

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 $373 million in neighborhoods across our state, helping to create more than 8,000 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.