Communities across the country are celebrating State Farm's grant of $4 million to LISC. The grant will support Financial Opportunity Centers, the Community Safety Initiative, MetroEdge commercial corridors and education programs in 11 cities. "When we deal with all of those together, rather than as unrelated problems, we give families the chance to reach for the next rung on the economic ladder and help their communities flourish," said Michael Rubinger, President and CEO of LISC.
LISC, State Farm Join Forces to Provide Employment Assistance through Financial Opportunity Centers
Bloomington, IL (February 4, 2014) - Karen knows first-hand about the struggles to build a better life for her family, especially when employment opportunities are scarce and financial pressures are mounting.
“Helping someone in a time of need is what being a good neighbor is all about,” said Kellie Clapper, assistant vice president, Philanthropy/Human Resources with State Farm, which recently announced a two-year, $4 million grant to LISC for community revitalization work. “Our mission is to help people realize their dreams by supporting innovative efforts that help make communities safe and stronger.”
The State Farm grant will support a range of LISC programs critical to the recovery of distressed neighborhoods in 11 cities: Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, Peoria (Ill.), Philadelphia, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area and Tacoma (Wash). In particular, the grant will focus on efforts to build financial opportunities for families, improve community safety, revive vibrant commercial corridors and spur better educational outcomes.
Turning Fears into Hope
Karen is a single parent in North Philadelphia, where the poverty rate tops 60 percent. She was laid off from her bank job of 15 years when her branch closed back in 2011, and she could not find work. Nearing the end of her unemployment payments, she feared the worst for her family.
That’s when she turned to a nearby LISC Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) for help, one of more than 70 sites around the country that provides financial counseling and employment services specifically tailored to the needs of low- and moderate-income families. State Farm funds the Philadelphia FOC in addition to other Centers around the country.
Karen took advantage of the FOC’s employment and financial coaching which positioned her to be hired for not one but two jobs—the first, a part-time position helping support a neighborhood improvement initiative and, a few months later, a full-time position as an account executive at a credit union. Now, she is holding down both jobs and her family is thriving.
“State Farm is supporting the heart of our work in neighborhoods that have really been suffering—places where economic mobility has ground to a halt thanks to job loss, shuttered businesses, besieged schools and dangerous streets,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. “When we deal with all of those together rather than as unrelated problems, we give families the chance to reach for the next rung on the economic ladder and help their communities flourish.”
State Farm and LISC have a long history of collaboration. Over the past 14 years, State Farm has invested nearly $114 million in grants, loans and equity in LISC’s work to make distressed neighborhoods better places to live. Through LISC, State Farm has supported more than 22,300 homes that are affordable to low-income families and 11 million square feet of commercial, retail and community space in underserved areas.
“This work doesn’t happen by accident,” Rubinger noted. “This is a partnership that changes lives and over time is helping shift the outlook for whole neighborhoods. We are grateful to State Farm for its tremendous commitment to these efforts as well as its ongoing financial support. It is invaluable.”
About State Farm®:
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.com or in Canada www.statefarm.ca.
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has invested $12.9 billion to build or rehab 298,300 affordable homes and apartments and develop 49 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org.