The Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) is moving into Atlanta, making the city its 32nd local program.

With four decades of experience in community transformation, LISC invests more than $1 billion a year nationally to expand affordable housing, community facilities, businesses, and jobs while at the same time leading efforts to improve health, education, and community safety.

Maurice A. Jones
Maurice A. Jones

The nonprofit announced that it is enlarging its reach to Atlanta after extensive discussions with community and corporate leaders.

“Among our top priorities, both in Atlanta and across the country, is partnering with organizations that are focused on inclusive economic development, small business support, seeding entrepreneurship, and preparing the workforce for quality jobs,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO.

LISC leaders said Atlanta was selected because it’s a place where they can have real impact across several areas, including creating quality affordable housing and spurring economic development.

The organization has also been focused on expanding its footprint further into the South.

LISC’s first Atlanta investments include $270,000 for the rollout of its Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) model in the city.

FOCs serve the chronically un- and underemployed by providing financial and employment coaching and other tailored supportive services to help clients not only train for and find good jobs, but improve their credit, lower their debt, and save for the future. A study of other LISC FOCs found that:

  • 76% of clients increased their net income;
  • More than half increased their net worth; and
  • 60% Increased or acquired a credit score.

With additional funding from State Farm, MetLife, and Wells Fargo, LISC is launching its Atlanta FOC model in partnership with:

· The Centers for Working Families, which will focus on Atlanta’s Southside and Westside neighborhoods, as well as people in Neighborhood Planning Unit V;

· Lutheran Services of Georgia, which will provide FOC services in the Clarkston area of DeKalb County; and

· Urban League of Greater Atlanta, which will use a LISC FOC planning grant to expand its work in the city’s West Side “Promise Zone” and serve residents in the Vine City, English Avenue, Ashview Heights, and Atlanta University Center neighborhoods. Promise Zones are federally designated areas focused on ways to mitigate poverty, crime, and unemployment.