The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is issuing $100 million in general obligation bonds to help accelerate its work around economic opportunity and drive investment capital into underserved urban and rural communities across the country.
LISC is a national nonprofit and one of the nation’s largest community development intermediaries, having invested more than $17 billion to build up the economic infrastructure of disinvested places. Its offering represents the first time a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)—a designation for specialized lenders focused on the needs of low-income people and places—has tapped the bond market for growth capital.
The LISC bonds have no geographic or programmatic restrictions, making them a flexible opportunity for a broad range of investors. Morgan Stanley is serving as the underwriter for LISC’s planned financing.
LISC has posted record results in the last two years, including investing more than $1.3 billion in grants, loans and equity in 2016 to support economic development, affordable housing, health care, community safety, education, family financial stability and employment.
“From a pragmatic economic viewpoint, this work could not be more critical,” said Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary and LISC’s long-time chairman. “The lack of economic mobility we see in both large cities and small towns is having a profound effect on the country.
The financial stability initiatives include a national network of nearly 80 Financial Opportunity Centers; occupational skills training and Bridges to Career Opportunities programs; and credit-building products like Twin Accounts. Financial Opportunity Centers are career and personal finance service centers that help low- to moderate-income people build smart money habits and focus on the financial bottom line. The cornerstone of the model is providing services in an integrated way—rather than as stand-alone services—and with a long-term commitment to helping clients reach their goals.
LISC offers advocacy and technical assistance to organizations across the country, as with the online Integrated Service Delivery portal, and the annual grants from the federal Social Innovation Fund for community groups to get their own Financial Opportunity Centers up and running.
LISC’s financial stability programs connect low- to moderate- income families with the financial and labor market mainstream. LISC offers employment and career services, financial coaching and education and low-cost financial products that build credit, savings and assets.
The funder puts priority on affordable housing/education efforts and its local offices oversee and make grant awards. The overall goal is to help nonprofits become strong and stable neighborhood institutions characterized by effective and responsible fiscal management and capable of carrying out a range of community revitalization activities. Organizational grants go to assist local nonprofits in improving administrative structures, management and financial systems and real estate development and management capacities. Planning grants cover costs associated with the creation of new programs that are important to a nonprofit’s overall mission and needs of the community’s residents. Project grants help cover costs associated with real estate development that further neighborhood revitalization goals.
LISC’s network of local offices provides on-the-ground assistance to schools and their surrounding communities by financing individual school facilities.
LISC also has launched an initiative to support its Local Program Offices with national expertise in developing high-quality education programs to impact learning more directly in its Sustainable Communities sites. In addition to the existing education work at the local level, Education Initiatives will initially assist local program offices to develop out-of-school time (OST) programs in collaboration with community groups, schools and national OST providers.
Info: https://goo.gl/gDWC0Y (bond program).