A 30-Year Success Story: What’s Next for “LISC”?

kristy Community Development Solutions

“Welcome to Citiwire.net! There’s lots of phony talk about “American exceptionalism” these days. But I’d nominate one valid contender: the early and continuing foundation and corporate support of development for our troubled neighborhoods. A major leader: the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Since I first interviewed founder Mike Sviridoff in 1979-80, I’ve kept returning to LISC’s achievements — not often enough, but always with fascination. This week’s column focuses on the 30th anniversary and the new challenges posed by Peter Goldmark. … The accompanying Citiwire piece is a holdover of Rick Cole’s very interesting article on libraries.” — Neal Peirce

A 30-Year Success Story: What’s Next for “LISC”?
By Neal Peirce

For Release Sunday, April 11, 2011
© 2011 Washington Post Writers Group

WASHINGTON — In an America still rife with deep income divisions and families at their fiscal wits ends, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation — this year celebrating its 30th anniversary — stands out as a glowing exception.

The LISC secret? First, it’s grounded in neighborhoods rather than city-wide or distant control points. Second, it engages grassroots local organizations — community development corporations in particular — as its partners. And third, it has close ties to significant non-governmental capital — foundations (including Ford, its founder), and major corporate funders.

It’s easy today to forget the deep urban blight of the 1970s when LISC was born — a time when places like the South Bronx were global symbols of decay, “a cancer that damaged so many lives and consigned children to blighted lives,” said Peter Goldmark, former president of the Rockefeller Foundation, in keynote remarks at LISC’s anniversary celebration late last month.

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Libraries Can Lead in the Digital Age
By Rick Cole

For Release Friday, April 1, 2011

Steam powered the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century. Oil fueled the Global Economy of the 20th Century. The Digital Age of the 21st Century is clearly being driven by brainpower.

That makes education a key edge in global competition. Yet for all the focus on schools and universities, little attention has been paid to libraries – long a source of learning during and beyond school age years.

Some American cities have been building new landmark library buildings. But there’s been little thought and debate about what goes on inside.

Railroads declined because they failed to realize that carrying goods and people could be done without rails. Newspapers face extinction because they’ve been slow to adapt to the ability to deliver news without paper.

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