For more than 25 years, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has been working to make our nation’s underserved neighborhoods better and stronger. In 2005, LISC marked its 25th anniversary as a community development intermediary with a renewed commitment to investment in housing and real estate in low-income neighborhoods, along with increased attention to family income and wealth, stimulating economic development, expanding access to quality education, and encouraging healthy lifestyles and environments. For 15 of its 25 years, LISC has drawn both inspiration and practical lessons from the experience of the Comprehensive Community Revitalization Program (CCRP) in the South Bronx. In the early 1990’s, CCRP took aim at improving the social, economic and human service infrastructure of some of our nation’s most impoverished neighborhoods. What it achieved were real outcomes that changed neighborhoods and the lives of people who live in them. In addition, it helped to reshape the entire field of community development by showing how community-based organizations could, with the right support, broaden their focus from bricks and mortar revitalization projects toward much more comprehensive approaches to improving the quality of their neighborhoods.
CCRP is now widely recognized as a path-breaking community building program. Its design and operation have inspired other national funder initiatives and countless neighborhood rebuilding efforts in communities across the country. Within LISC, CCRP has repeatedly served as a point of reference for local and national programs intended to reinforce LISC’s core strengths as a real estate investor in neighborhood revitalization efforts. LISC’s National Community Building Initiative during the mid-1990’s and Chicago LISC’s later New Communities Initiative (NCI) and New Communities Program (NCP) are just three of many examples that drew directly upon the CCRP experience.