NEW YORK, June 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a move to help lift more families out of poverty, two longtime community development partners are driving new resources into troubled neighborhoods to revive deserted commercial corridors, build affordable homes and create jobs where they are needed most.
A $3.75 million grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will help low-income people transform their struggling cities and rural communities into places that thrive.
The expanded funding is the latest installment in a steadfast partnership between LISC and Bank of America, which has provided more than $1.2 billion in grants, loans and equity investments aimed at raising standards of living across the country.
In all, 20 urban areas where LISC works directly benefit from the expanded funding, as does LISC's national rural development program operating in 39 states.
In Chicago, for example, the grant is helping low-skilled workers get the training they need to move beyond minimum-wage jobs—with a focus on emerging opportunities in the health care technology field. In Boston, the grant is supporting entrepreneurs as they launch and expand businesses in distressed neighborhoods. New eateries, a dance studio and an optometry center have established roots in the Roxbury neighborhood. And a new business incubator is in the works to help aspiring artists boost their management skills and build revenue.
"These places are clamoring for new opportunities," said Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. "Yes, they need traditional brick-and-mortar development projects, like better affordable housing. But communities also need funders like Bank of America that focus on what it's really like to live in these communities. That's critical if we are to help them move past long histories of decline so they can become good places to live."
Toward that end, the grant also extends the reach of LISC's network of more than 70 Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) to help low-income people train for jobs, build credit, and manage the money they earn.
LISC FOCs are based on a national model, but each takes a targeted approach to address local challenges. For instance, the largely immigrant client base at a San Jose FOC will benefit from microenterprise training, as well as traditional financial counseling. Those who complete the training program will operate fresh food carts in low-income neighborhoods around the city, expanding healthy food choices for residents while helping families supplement their incomes. The first 10 Fresh Carts hit the streets last month.
Overall, the FOCs will support employment services and financial counseling for 47,000 low-income people.
"The work we do to help transform neighborhoods into more vibrant living spaces is imperative to promoting strong economies," said Bank of America Community Affairs Executive Ken Wade. "When we bring the capabilities of our business to an esteemed partner like LISC, together we have the power to provide the greatest impact for the individuals and communities we serve."
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has invested $13.8 billion to build or rehab 310,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 51 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org.
About Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small businesses, middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 49 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,100 retail banking offices and approximately 16,200 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 15 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Contacts: Colleen Mulcahy, for LISC 312-342-8244 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Noelle Bell, Bank of America 980-388-6791 or email@example.com
SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation