BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- State Farm and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) have announced an expanded effort to build economic opportunity in struggling communities through programs that encourage business development among entrepreneurs and skills development among low-income workers.
A new, two-year $4 million State Farm grant will expand LISC Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) in under-resourced neighborhoods--helping people improve their incomes, credit scores and savings through education and long-term financial coaching. At the same time, these efforts will help lift up commercial areas and provide safer and more vibrant places for business owners to set up shop, create jobs and grow local incomes.
"When it comes to helping people pull themselves up out of poverty, we need to address the unique range of economic factors they face in their communities," said Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. "Certainly, they need strong neighborhood businesses and good jobs. But that's not enough. Residents need the skills to be able to take advantage of an improving job market and build stronger financial futures. Our goal is to drive programs that work on both ends of that scale, while also addressing other critical issues that impact standards of living."
The new State Farm grant for 2016 and 2017 will focus on programs in 11 metropolitan areas—Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York City, Peoria (Ill.), Philadelphia, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Tacoma (Wash.), and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In addition to the LISC Financial Opportunity Centers, State Farm funding will provide financial support for LISC's national Community Safety Initiative, a program that helps to build partnership networks among residents, police and other stakeholders to reduce crime.
The range of work is as varied as the communities being supported. In Arizona, funding will advance a corridor redevelopment plan in Tempe and commercial revitalization work along Main Street in Mesa. In Houston, it will focus on community safety—which is critical for attracting businesses and jobs—and help the local network of six FOC sites reach more people with more services. And in Peoria, it will build up the region's still-new FOC effort, which includes centers in Peoria's South Side neighborhood and in Bloomington, as well as plans for additional sites to open next year.
"Over the past 16 years, State Farm has worked with LISC to provide grants, loans and equity investments that improve the quality of life in communities with high levels of poverty and unemployment," said Kellie Clapper, Assistant Vice President for State Farm. "We value our ongoing relationship and can see the positive difference LISC is making in neighborhoods with its comprehensive approach to community revitalization."
To learn more about the great work State Farm and LISC are doing in communities across the country, visit http://www.lisc.org/about-us/supporters/major-supporters/state-farm/.
LISC equips disinvested communities with the capital, program strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. It combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources. Since 1980, LISC has invested $16 billion to build or rehab 350,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 55 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org
About State Farm®
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.
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SOURCE State Farm