Lisa L. Glover LISC CEO

Robert E. Rubin LISC Board Chair

IF 2021 TAUGHT US ANYTHING, it's that our country's social and economic inequities continue to cause needless suffering and make all of us—and our economy—vulnerable. It also taught us that place-based economic strategies can go a long way toward upending those inequities.

Throughout the year, tens of billions of dollars in public, private and philanthropic investments flowed to communities throughout the country, offering a buffer against the effects of the pandemic while also addressing the racial and socio-economic disparities that impact millions of people.

More to the point, community development financial institutions (CDFIs) like LISC were able to swiftly deliver vital resources to underserved communities because we were already deeply engaged at the local level. Whether helping inform federal and state relief strategies or offering investment pathways for corporate and philanthropic partners, LISC was able to combine the strengths of our local and national relationships to address a wide range of challenges.

Our work is ongoing, of course. Even as employment and economic growth have rebounded, millions of people are still struggling, and prior gaps in health, wealth and opportunity have been worsened by the pandemic. Given the widening divides, it is critical that we continue to invest significantly in equity and opportunity so that our communities, and by extension our economy, are more just, more resilient, and more competitive in the future.

Toward that end, LISC delivered a record $2.7 billion in impact-focused capital to communities in 2021, bringing our total investments over the past two years to $4.7 billion. We tailored many of those investments to address immediate concerns, like pandemic relief for small businesses, while at the same time investing in long-term recovery and growth.

It is critical that we continue to invest significantly in equity and opportunity so that our communities, and by extension our economy, are more just, more resilient, and more competitive in the future.

Our Project 10X initiative, which is designed to address the systemic underpinnings of racial inequality, contributed significantly to those efforts. We launched the 10-year program at the end of 2020 and have since raised $650 million of our $1 billion goal through such vehicles as the Black Economic Development Fund and the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, which are bridging gaps for minority-owned banks, developers and businesses, as well as for the communities they serve.

Our affordable housing activity also reflects these broad aims. In 2021, as we have for decades, we financed critical rental and for-sale development projects to answer the country’s growing need for affordable and workforce housing—including record investments from our National Equity Fund affiliate.

At the same time, our local teams worked to mitigate evictions and foreclosures, led programs to make home appraisals more equitable, tackled speculation and the dislocation that comes from rapid gentrification, fueled home repair programs to help families protect their assets and bolstered housing providers as they navigated rising costs and ongoing health risks.

A similar comprehensive approach was central to our economic development and small business work. We provided financing to shore up childcare centers, improve commercial corridors, expand business development organizations and invest in the future of our workforce—all while targeting small business relief to underserved owners, employees and communities.

LISC delivered a record $2.7 billion in capital to communities in 2021, bringing our total investments over the past two years to $4.7 billion.

Finally, it’s worth noting the change we made to our leadership structure at the end of 2021, promoting Denise Scott, the head of our local program network, to president. It further reflects LISC’s deep commitment to local impact, as one of the rare CDFIs with staff members on the ground throughout the country. Our entire leadership team is focused on advancing an efficient infrastructure of programs, policies and financial resources to support their work with community partners.

As we move forward, it is our job to help others recognize the value of CDFIs, and the critical importance of place-based strategies that elevate both urban and rural communities. It is a moral and economic imperative for the country to build on the progress made to date so families and communities can fully participate in a dynamic, growing, broadly shared prosperity.