Top national nonprofits join forces to help low-income residents improve health, quality of life in distressed neighborhoods

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps teams up with LISC to integrate health into community development efforts nationwide

Jan 20, 2016, 15:08 ET from Local Initiatives Support Corporation

NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R)—a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute—announced a new national partnership today to improve health in low-income communities by taking on the underlying socioeconomic circumstances that fuel poverty and blight.

LISC and CHR&R have selected promising local initiatives in Boston, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia as initial recipients of expert, personalized coaching and other technical assistance support provided by CHR&R. LISC and CHR&R will also work together on a national level to disseminate best practices and share success stories to spur community investments that address non-medical factors that affect health, such as affordable housing, jobs, education, and crime prevention.  

"When we talk about building healthier communities, expanding access to quality medical care is important but insufficient by itself," said Amy Gillman, senior program director for health at LISC. "To really improve how well people live in every neighborhood, we also need to eliminate food deserts, make streets safer, expand recreational programs, and jump-start economic activity in high-poverty areas."

LISC is the nation's largest community development support organization, having raised and invested $15 billion since 1980 to improve the quality of life in hundreds of low-income neighborhoods.  CHR&R has annually measured the health of every county in the country since 2010; a related action center helps communities use health data to pursue evidence-based policies and programs to improve health.  

"Our partnership with LISC is a logical next step to improve health in local communities. Since health is influenced by factors beyond access to health care and personal behavior, we clearly need partners, such as LISC, that invest in local neighborhoods to create healthy environments," said Julie Willems Van Dijk, co-director of CHR&R at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. "We are eager to learn from each other to accelerate health improvement."

The three local efforts to receive early-stage support:

  • Boston: LISC is partnering with Boston Medical Center and community development leaders to integrate mental health services into community development programs, like LISC Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs). FOCs offer financial and employment counseling that help low-income families stabilize their financial outlook but do not typically focus on health and wellbeing.
  • Indianapolis: In concert with Indiana University Health, Eskenazi Health, the Marion County Public Health Department and neighborhood-based organizations part of Great Places 2020, LISC is working with the Indy Food Council to make fresh food, such as fruits and vegetables, more accessible in underserved communities.
  • Philadelphia: LISC is bringing together Drexel University School of Public Health, Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together and local community development partners to provide healthy home repairs for lower income families, focusing on safety, infrastructure, and energy efficiency.

For more on the intersection of health and community development, visit CHR&R's 2015 health rankings and LISC's Institute for Comprehensive Community Development.

About County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize help communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their homes, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what is making people sick or healthy. The Roadmaps and Prize show what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) collaborates with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) to bring this program to towns, cities, and counties across the nation. For more, visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About LISC
LISC equips struggling 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 $14.7 billion to build or rehab 330,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 53 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit

Amy Gillman, LISC
212-455-9840  or 
Adam Zimmerman, Burness
301.280.5710  or


SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation