Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

Local Initiatives Support Corporation logo (link)


Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $344,179,991
Expenses: $266,638,991
Assets: $1,254,868,497

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The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a left-leaning nonprofit community development organization created with support from the left-progressive Ford Foundation. LISC relies on government agencies, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and banks for its funding, which it then invests in a wide range of programs across the country through grants and loans. 1


LISC and its local partners engage in community projects that advance left-of-center policy outcomes. 2 LISC emphasizes its goal of “promoting racial, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity” in its target communities and in the organization itself, touting the fact that half of its staff are members of minority groups and two-thirds are women. 3


In 1979, a group of Ford Foundation officials developed the idea for LISC while touring community development projects in Baltimore, Maryland. The next year, the Ford Foundation kick-started LISC’s community development efforts in anticipation of the Reagan administration’s anticipated cuts to social welfare programs with an initial investment of $4.75 million into LISC. 4 The Ford Foundation was one of eight original LISC funders, which also included the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and Levi Strauss & Co. These funders helped LISC start out with an initial capital pool of $10 million. 5


LISC invests in a number of fields to advance left-of-center policy and community development initiatives.


LISC funds low-income housing projects, especially in communities allegedly undergoing “gentrification,” where real estate prices are rising. 6

Community Leadership

LISC advertises its success at amplifying “the voices of progressive leaders” and runs a variety of training programs for left-of-center activists and heads of local partner organizations. 7

The group is a founder of the Power Forward Communities, a coalition of nonprofits advocating for policy to improve local communities including decarbonizing and a focus on clean energy usage in low-income and disadvantaged communities. Other founders include Enterprise Community Partners, Rewiring America, Habitat for Humanity International, and United Way Worldwide. 8


LISC funds charter schools, early childhood care facilities, and other programs in low-income areas. 9

Race-based Investments

LISC maintains the Black Economic Development Fund in addition to its main programs, which target geographical areas rather than demographic groups. The Fund provides grants to development initiatives in primarily African-American communities. In the fall of 2020, the organization expanded its race-specific investing programs and introduced the Fearless Fund, which provides venture capital specifically to minority female-owned businesses. 10

Senior vice president for resource development Beth Marcus admits that LISC prioritizes female and minority applicants when reviewing applications for grants. The organization also claims that traditional tools for verifying an applicant’s background and eligibility are “marked by institutional racism,” and has program officers conduct second reviews of applications that initially get flagged due to poor ratings. 11


In 2019, LISC issued $1.8 billion in grants, loans, and equity, which generated development projects worth $4.7 billion in total. The organization has offices and additional presences in hundreds of rural communities across the country. 12

LISC has an outstanding loan portfolio of $475 million, while Immito, a LISC affiliate company launched in 2018, plans to lend more than $100 million per year. LISC has a total of $14.9 billion invested in equity. The National Equity Fund, an affiliate of LISC, has invested $12.4 billion in housing. LISC affiliate New Markets Support Company has invested $1 billion for economic development programs, and the Community Development Trust, another affiliate, has invested $1.2 billion to preserve the long-term affordability of low-income housing. 1314

Since its founding in 1979, LISC has invested more than $22 billion into various initiatives and built more than 400,000 affordable housing units. 15


Board Members

Robert E. Rubin, Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration, is the chairman of the board and also sits as co-chairman emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. Lisa Cashin is the vice chair of LISC, and previously held high-level positions in the real estate industry in the United States and abroad. Board member Tom Espinoza is the president of the Raza Development Fund, a community development financial institution serving Latinos. Board member Nilda Ruiz previously sat on the board of UnidosUS. 1617

Maurice A. Jones

Maurice A. Jones has worked as president and CEO of LISC since 2016. Jones previously worked as Deputy Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Barack Obama. 18 Under the Obama administration, HUD implemented a rule which withheld HUD financing from local, primarily suburban jurisdictions unless the jurisdictions graded themselves on their alleged racial and economic disparities and presented plans to address them, which sometimes included accepting the development of low-income housing projects. 19

Annie Donovan

Annie Donovan is the chief operating officer of LISC. Donovan previously worked as a Senior Policy Advisor to the White House during the Obama administration. 20

Denise Scott

Denise Scott is the executive vice president for programs at LISC. Scott previously oversaw the New York and New Jersey regional offices of HUD. 21


LISC generates most of its revenue from contributions. A smaller but significant portion of the organization’s revenue comes from profits from its financial services. In 2017, program services accounted for just under 30% of LISC’s revenue. Income from investments makes up a very small portion of revenue (just over 1% in 2017.) In 2017, LISC raised nearly $155 million in revenue and spent just over $146 million. This was a drop from the previous year’s nearly $182 million in revenue, but noticeably higher the preceding three years (2013-2015) when revenue fluctuated between $135 and $141 million. 22

Aside from the Ford Foundation, top financial contributors to LISC include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, and Pew Charitable Trusts. 23 In August 2020, wholesale retailer Costco committed $25 million specifically to the LISC Black Economic Development Fund. Streaming service Netflix and payment processor Square also made commitments to the Fund. 24 LISC president Maurice A. Jones referred to race-based investments by Square and other corporations as “economic justice” and “a racial reckoning.” 25


  1. About, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  2.        Mission, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  3.        Working for LISC, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  4.           Scott Kohler, “Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC),” Duke University. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  5.              Original Eight Funders, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  6.        Affordable Housing, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  7.     Community Leadership, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  8. Power Forward Communities, Accessed June 20, 2024.
  9.       Education, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020
  10.            George Ashton, “Why Investing Corporate Cash To Close Racial Wealth Gaps Can Shore Up Long-Term Growth, ImpactAlpha, October 28, 2020. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  11.      Beth Marcus, “Grant-Makers Must Build Equity into the Details,” NextCity, October 1, 2020. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  12.          Our Reach, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  13.              Investment Companies, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  14.        Lending, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  15. Impact, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  16.             Jerry Kammer, “What’s in a Name? The Meaning of “La Raza,” Center for Immigration Studies, January 7, 2015. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  17.        Board of Directors, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  18.             Maurice A Jones, President & CEO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  19.        Ashraf Khalil, “HUD revokes Obama-era rule designed to diversify the suburbs,” Associated Press, July 23, 2020. Accessed November 2, 2020
  20.             Annie Donovan, COO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  21.      Denise Scott, Executive Vice President for Programs, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  22.     Local Initiatives Support Corporation, ProPublica. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  23.            Major Supporters, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  24.            “Costco Commits $25 Million to LISC’s Black Economic Development Fund,” Local Initiatives Support Corporation, August 28, 2020. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  25.        “Square, Inc. Invests $25M in LISC Black Economic Development Fund,” Local Initiatives Support Corporation, September 24, 2020. Accessed November 2, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1980

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Dec Form 990 $344,179,991 $266,638,991 $1,254,868,497 $708,859,619 Y $243,715,816 $99,122,869 $1,868,276 $10,620,424
    2020 Dec Form 990 $462,416,393 $374,235,242 $1,164,391,357 $689,102,586 Y $396,729,988 $61,414,104 $2,087,528 $1,805,311
    2019 Dec Form 990 $202,088,773 $162,597,627 $971,499,905 $599,213,560 Y $138,929,880 $60,352,887 $3,411,382 $8,921,109 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $191,708,914 $155,373,050 $821,836,491 $498,551,156 Y $135,035,522 $53,329,923 $2,899,798 $8,890,886 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $154,610,978 $146,056,292 $732,361,177 $444,722,288 Y $106,451,418 $45,970,582 $1,877,085 $7,643,234 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $199,080,812 $181,669,096 $702,543,640 $423,303,856 Y $162,840,503 $35,455,709 $1,319,245 $7,151,232 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $136,957,578 $121,483,767 $532,851,753 $272,503,613 Y $98,640,981 $37,109,462 $1,108,562 $7,066,583 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $135,485,688 $123,339,773 $487,398,511 $241,774,939 Y $105,519,668 $29,105,677 $952,774 $6,506,585 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $141,326,502 $121,725,945 $446,094,574 $212,678,889 Y $110,906,468 $28,842,762 $1,303,895 $6,606,782 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $118,217,623 $102,872,937 $429,213,107 $215,581,114 Y $82,114,085 $33,181,252 $2,070,494 $5,841,040 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $149,668,788 $122,982,376 $440,406,573 $244,330,822 N $103,384,044 $43,601,030 $1,829,516 $4,825,993 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

    501 7TH AVENUE
    NEW YORK, NY 10018-5903