LISC unveils Project 10X, a $1 billion plan to tackle racial inequality
NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation’s largest community development organization is launching a $1 billion fundraising and investment effort to dismantle racial disparities across the country.
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced Project 10X, a decade-long initiative to bridge racial gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and build a more broadly shared American prosperity. Through Project 10X, LISC will invest in businesses, community organizations, developers and projects that catalyze gains for people of color and contribute to growth in the communities where they live.
The initiative’s name reflects its chief purpose: to directly address the estimated tenfold difference in wealth between Black and White residents in the U.S., which has been worsening in recent years. That wealth gap is indicative of more pervasive challenges as well, from poorer health and shorter lifespans to increased risks of eviction and incarceration among people of color.
“This is the American story,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO. “Since the beginning of this country, we have been grappling with the issue of extending full humanity to all our people, regardless of race or place.
“We see it in the pandemic as well,” he continued. “The people on the front lines—our communities of color and our low-wealth communities—are absolutely vital right now, and yet they are also really vulnerable,” he said.
LISC is seeding Project 10X with $20 million of its own capital—including $10 million drawn from a recent donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott—and is working with investors and philanthropic organizations to move toward its $1 billion goal.
It will deploy capital based on four key priorities:
- Generate lasting equity and wealth through homeownership and small business ownership
- Build credit and savings and strengthen financial institutions led by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)
- Invest in community health, digital access, education, arts, and justice
- Support quality jobs with good wages and benefits
Jones noted that LISC has worked in many of these areas for decades but through Project 10X will invest with a clear racial lens and an eye toward scale—moving beyond incremental change to achieve exponential impact.
“Never in my lifetime have I seen the sense of urgency…the fierce urgency of now…to do something about these challenges,” Jones said. “That’s why we are launching Project 10X. We need this level of scale to do the comprehensive, long-term, deep work that is required.”
He also noted that progress will require a range of impact investments that are flexible and creative, with new financial products that specifically respond to the legacy of racial discrimination and community-based solutions that can be tested, replicated and expanded to meet local needs.
“This is about being bold, ambitious and faithful,” Jones said. “We are talking to partners willing to join us in ’10X’ thinking, willing to stay in this for at least 10 years and willing to think about investing in multiples of 10. It is our biggest, boldest effort to eliminate racial gaps that represent America’s most pressing challenges.”
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 $22 billion to build or rehab more than 419,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 70.3 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)