Area of Work: Community Development

Clients: Local Initiatives Support Corporation/National Equity Fund

Years of Involvement: LISC 1984 – Present/NEF 1984 – 2000

Challenge:

A continuing aspect of our work for more than twenty years, we have been perhaps the nation’s leading firm in creating awareness of the field of community development and in helping to create the tools that allow it to flourish – most notably the creation of and winning of permanent status for the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit and similar sister programs.

Approach:

Creation of media and organizational outreach strategy that had the twin goals of influencing public policy while building an asset base for community-based housing development. This involved the coordination of the work of community-based developers throughout Chicago and 30 cities in a manner that maintained visibility and could be aggregated to create continued political support for funding mechanism at the city, state and federal level while increasing capital resources from private corporations.

Activities (select):

  • Creation of strategies to reflect and accomplish goals, which fundamentally revolve around increasing resources
  • Writing and placement of media stories on a once-a-month basis (at least) that highlight neighborhood development activity in Chicago and other places
  • Extensive work with community development organizations, particularly on the south, west and southwest sides of Chicago
  • Creation of marketing materials
  • Creation of all press materials and press lists
  • Facilitating editorial board meetings and support
  • Organizing and publicizing outreach and press events in Chicago and 30 cities throughout the nation
  • Hundreds of media events, editorial meetings, events

Accomplishments (select):

  • Creation, passage and the accomplishment of permanent status for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit
  • Creation of the nation’s first corporate equity fund for affordable housing in Chicago
  • Raising and investing of $200 million by LISC/Chicago for community development in 35 “distressed” communities in Chicago
  • Creation and organization of the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA) in Chicago, which for the past 16 years have honored community-based developers throughout the city.  The event draws more than 1,400 people each year
  • Founding of the National Equity Fund and its growth to a $500 million fund each year with a portfolio worth more than $2 billion
  • Gaining and protecting permanent status for the Federal Housing Tax Credit
  • The establishment of the Illinois Housing Trust Fund
  • Creation of the City’s first homeownership program
  • The transformation of public housing policy
  • The garnering of unparalleled press and congressional support for legislative initiatives concerning the funding of housing and banking reform
  • A change in the nation’s perception of how housing should be financed and built
  • Creation of citywide and national awareness of the invaluable role of community development groups as an essential element of public/private/community revitalization partnerships
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