LISC launches first Financial Opportunity Centers in Philadelphia, extends national network to 64 communities

Aug 02, 2012, 17:27 ET from Local Initiatives Support Corporation

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is expanding its nationally recognized network of Financial Opportunity Centers to Philadelphia, launching two new programs here to help low-income families find work, stabilize their finances and lay the groundwork for a sound economic future.

The new Centers opened recently in West Philadelphia and Eastern North Philadelphia, joining 62 other such facilities in 19 cities across the country.  The Centers focus on financial literacy, job training and placement, debt reduction, budgeting, public benefits access and long-term financial counseling, all as part of a comprehensive package of personal finance support.  Nationwide, LISC Financial Opportunity Centers provided financial and employment services to 13,000 people in 2011.

"These Centers concentrate on the financial bottom-line for low and moderate-income people," said Andrew Frishkoff, executive director of Philadelphia LISC.  LISC is a national nonprofit that has invested $12 billion to revitalize distressed communities—including more than $295 million in Philadelphia.  LISC operates through 30 urban programs around the country and a national rural program that works in 70 communities nationwide.

"We are thrilled to bring this program to Philadelphia," Frishkoff said. "This is a proven strategy for changing people's financial behavior and improving their long-term financial outlook."

LISC Financial Opportunity Centers take the kind of long-term approach to financial planning that is commonplace among more affluent residents and tailor it to the needs of low- and moderate-income families, explained Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO.  It's work that is critical to recovery in struggling neighborhoods, he said.

"We can't help communities emerge from economic decline if we don't help families achieve financial stability," Rubinger said.  "This is part of our broader work to raise standards of living, to ensure residents can walk down safe streets, send their kids to good schools, play in gang-free parks, shop at their neighborhood grocery stores, get care from their local doctor and find jobs within their community. These Centers connect to all of that. They can be life-changing."

In Philadelphia, LISC is partnering with two experienced community-based organizations to operate the new Centers—University City District and Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha. LISC is collaborating with such long-time funders as State Farm, the Citi Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, and the Oak Foundation to support the Centers.

"Part of State Farm's mission is helping individuals realize their dreams," said Marcia Tompkins, public affairs manager for State Farm in the Northeast. "We are proud of our work with LISC and the partnership and funding of the Centers. It's an example of a private-public partnership coming together for the community."

"In all of our giving efforts, the Walmart Foundation strives to meet the unmet needs of low-income individuals and support organizations that help people live better," added Tim Smyer, market manager, Walmart Stores.

"Becoming knowledgeable in making short- and long-term financial plans, achieving goals and understanding financial products are essential skills in today's world," added Don Haskin, senior vice president with Citi and its Pennsylvania community development director. "The Citi Foundation is deeply committed to financial inclusion for low- and moderate-income individuals, families and communities."

LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised $12 billion to build or rehab 289,000 affordable homes and develop 46 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. LISC support has leveraged nearly $40 billion in total development activity. For more information, visit

Colleen Mulcahy, National LISC
312-342-8244 or

Emily Yoder, Philadelphia LISC
267-923-3801 x. 18 or


SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation