Celebrating A Commitment To Communities In Need
Representatives from Caterpillar and the Caterpillar Foundation helped welcome LISC to Central Illinois.
Spirits were high on July 12 as thousands of neighborhood residents and community advocates gathered at two separate block parties to officially welcome Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to Peoria, Ill.
LISC-Peoria will help transform distressed neighborhoods on Peoria's east and south sides, including the 61605 zip code, one of the poorest regions in the United States. Originally announced in May, the LISC-Peoria program is a collaboration with the Caterpillar Foundation. The Foundation's initial investment of $3 million helped launch the project, but the work is just beginning.
"This is not a case of one size fits all," said Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. "Our approach is tailored to the particular needs of the community. If we don't have the active participation and engagement of the residents, organizations and businesses where we work, then we cannot be successful."
LISC brings more than 30 years of neighborhood-transformation expertise to Peoria. The organization's track record of success includes $12 billion in restoration funding and more than 300,000 affordable housing units throughout the United States.
In addition to raising funds and building homes, LISC partners with neighborhood residents, existing not-for-profit organizations, local leaders and elected officials to develop new businesses, child-care facilities, recreational parks and education opportunities.
"LISC is going to take the best and the brightest and pool those talents to build a better Peoria," said State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth, who grew up on Peoria's south side. "I look forward to working very hard to help create the Peoria we all want to see."
Next steps for LISC-Peoria include hiring an executive director and securing an office location. According to Caterpillar Foundation Vice President Michele Sullivan, the restoration project is an important piece of a larger puzzle.
"The Foundation's collaboration with LISC fits Caterpillar's broader mission of making sustainable progress possible around the world," said Sullivan, who also chairs LISC's advisory board of local stakeholders. "We are committed to addressing the root causes of poverty, not just the symptoms. With LISC's expertise, we can work together to transform poverty-stricken neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities."