NEWARK, N.J., May 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- One of New Jersey's top impact investing strategists is set to take the helm of a leading community development organization, with ambitious plans to expand local investments in affordable housing, economic development, health, education and jobs.
Jorge Cruz, a 30-year veteran of community investing who most recently served as chief external affairs officer with New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), is the new executive director of LISC Greater Newark, the local arm of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). LISC is one of the nation's largest community development organizations, with some $24 billion invested nationwide, including more than $151 million in Newark.
"We are thrilled to have Jorge join the LISC family and lead our work in Newark," said Lisa Glover, LISC president and CEO. "His experience will be a tremendous asset as we expand our efforts to create economic opportunity, especially in under-resourced communities," she said.
At NJCC, Cruz led the capitalization and fund design of the Garden State Relief Fund, providing grants and loans to small businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic. He led the capital-raise process to create the Equitable Small Business Initiative, a joint loan fund in partnership with the African-American Chamber of Commerce of NJ to help close the capital gap for entrepreneurs of color. He also led the formation of the Partnership to Invest in Transformative Community Health fund, a collaboration with philanthropic groups and healthcare systems to address social determinants of health.
"Jorge understands how to launch and lead ground-breaking initiatives that change lives," Glover said. "He knows how to work with a wide range of investors, philanthropic funders, community partners and policymakers. He knows from experience that solutions must be locally tailored—developed with and for residents—not imposed from afar. That could not be more important right now, as we help communities recover from COVID-19 and address the persistent inequities that affect so many families," she stressed.
Before joining NJCC, Cruz was chief strategy officer for the Jewish Renaissance Foundation, where he helped drive collaborations focused on community revitalization and resident health. Earlier, he was executive director of Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation, leading one of the state's largest affordable housing developers; served as president of The Bruno Group, working with corporations to design philanthropy programs; and served as an aide to the mayor of Perth Amboy, coordinating city grants and collaborating with the Mayor's Office of Economic Development.
"Our Greater Newark neighborhoods and communities are filled with talent and drive; our job is to open up opportunities via LISC's vast toolbox to connect our people within the New Jersey footprint to realize their full potential," Cruz said. "LISC is working to create the kind of broadly shared prosperity where people have the chance to succeed regardless of race, class, gender or geography. We're investing in strong and healthy communities, and I can't think of a time when that has been more important than right now."
In addition to his professional efforts, Cruz volunteers his time with a number of organizations, serving on the boards and commissions including the Center for Nonprofits and Academy for Urban Leadership. He currently serves on the external affairs committee of National NeighborWorks Association; corporate advisory council of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; and as vice chair of the board of the Jewish Renaissance Foundation. Prior involvement also includes serving as organizational designee to Opportunity Finance Network's government affairs committee and to the regional board for the CDFI Coalition. He has also served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Governor's Juvenile Justice and Prevention Advisory Council and New Jersey Policy Academy to End Homelessness.
Cruz graduated from The College of New Jersey with a bachelor's degree in sociology and completed work in urban design and planning at Rutgers University's Bloustein School of Public Policy.
He can be reached beginning May 3rd at [email protected].
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $24 billion to build or rehab more than 436,320 affordable homes and apartments and develop 74.4 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org.
Colleen Mulcahy, for LISC
SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)