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A Message from Executive Director - Stephen Samuels

Over $3.7 Million Invested in 2015 

2015 was another exciting year for LISC in Kansas City. With the introduction of our 2015-2017 Strategic Plan, we launched several key initiatives to “equip struggling communities with the capital, strategy and know-how to become places where people thrive.” We could not be more proud of the relationships that have been strengthened and the bridges forged between sectors, neighborhoods, and cultures.

In partnership with the City of Kansas City, MO, Mid-America Regional Council, Urban Neighborhood Initiative, and the local council of the Urban Land Institute, LISC led the launch of the Kansas City Catalytic Urban Redevelopment initiative. This is a bold collaborative effort to create an implementation strategy, delivery mechanism and patient capital fund sufficient to spur catalytic economic development in one of the most distressed parts of the city. In July, we will share the next steps for moving forward as a community in the most meaningful way.

Over $800,000 was invested in the six communities that comprise LISC’s NeighborhoodsNOW program. These grants are critical to sustaining leadership that organizes resident participation and stewards programs for adapting vacant property, deterring crime, engaging youth, and fostering job growth. Our partnership with the NFL Foundation, the Kansas City Chiefs, and ESPN made it possible to give Northeast High a $225,000 grant that will go to work this summer as their football field gets a full makeover and becomes a beacon of pride again for the neighborhood.

I continue to be inspired by our relationship with the United Way of Greater Kansas City as we work together to reduce generational poverty and create new wealth for our region through the Financial Opportunity Center Network. LISC committed over $200,000 to continue growing this integrated services delivery model, including the addition of Community Services League as the fourth site in 2015.

Finally, for our eighth year, LISC provided a bridge loan of nearly $2.5 million to the Upper Room Summer Academic Program to help over 2,600 students enhance their skills in English, Math and Fine Arts. A previous evaluation demonstrated that with the help of certified teachers, youth counselors, and volunteer tutors, the average student gains one full academic year in reading.

All of this would not be possible without the incredible financial support that LISC received from local partners, giving us the bench strength to continually improve our impact and engage with the community at a depth that drives change with equity and inclusion. I would like to extend our thanks to our lead 2015 funders: Hall Family Foundation, H&R Block Foundation, Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation, United Way of Greater Kansas, Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, UMB Bank, Northpoint Development, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and KCP&L.