Looking to the Future, LISC Celebrates Three Years of Equitable Community Development in Charlotte


LISC Charlotte is celebrating its third anniversary of forging resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity in Charlotte. Coinciding with the anniversary, LISC will receive a $1.25M investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for community development in Historic West End.  The grant will support LISC’s operations and a new Historic West End Development Fund to empower minority developers.

LISC will leverage Knight’s support over three years to reinforce programs, projects and initiatives, and to raise additional funds to support the Historic West End corridor–a target area of investment for the Knight Foundation. A sum of $500,000 will help establish the Historic West End Commercial Development Fund, a target fund that will offer technical assistance and financing for small business and commercial developers with plans to develop in the Historic West End corridor.

“I could not be more proud of the LISC Charlotte team who has worked with an unwavering commitment to help achieve catalytic change in our communities,” said Ralphine Caldwell, executive director of LISC Charlotte. “The progress we have achieved would not be possible without the seed funding of the Knight Foundation. With their support, we have been able to establish strong relationships to convene, reinforce and enable local partners to pursue their community goals. LISC appreciates the renewed funding from Knight Foundation for direct services for another three years, and more targeted funding for critical and innovative projects in Historic West End.”

“LISC has played a pivotal role in building a more inclusive Historic West End that is thriving with opportunities,” said Charles Thomas, director of Knight’s Charlotte program. “The Historic West End Commercial Development Fund will help LISC Charlotte expand its important mission of empowering the residents of the West End to lead the development and success of their neighborhood.”

LISC Charlotte is excited to share three years of impact in its key areas of work–empowering people, transforming places, supporting enterprise and driving systems innovation.  Since 2019, LISC has worked with grassroots organizations, small businesses and commercial developers, community residents and large businesses to engage residents in the process of system change. Some of its greatest accomplishments include exceeding its five-year goal of securing and investing $25M by securing and distributing more than $60M in three years. The organization has also helped to create and preserve 1,047 affordable housing units through the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund,  deployed $3.9M to more than 220 small businesses, and supported Black-led development and resident-led neighborhood revitalization efforts in Historic West End. The detailed three-year report, Impactful Growth, is available here. LISC thanks its many corporate partners, community organizations and stakeholders who helped make its first three years effective and possible.