The Local Initiatives Support Corporation has announced a ten-year fundraising and investment initiative aimed at dismantling racial disparities across the United States.
Named for the estimated tenfold difference in average wealth between Black and white Americans, Project 10X will focus on narrowing racial gaps in health, wealth, and opportunity. Through the initiative, LISC will invest in businesses, community organizations, developers, and projects that catalyze gains for people of color and contribute to growth in the communities where they live.
LISC is seeding the project with $20 million of its own capital — including $10 million of a $40 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott — and will work with other investors and philanthropic organizations to achieve its $1 billion fundraising goal. Capital raised for the initiative will be deployed around four key priorities: generating lasting equity and wealth through homeownership and small business ownership; building credit and savings and strengthening financial institutions led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC); investing in community health, digital access, education, arts, and justice; and supporting quality jobs with good wages and benefits.
Progress toward racial equity requires impact investments that are flexible and creative, LISC president and CEO Maurice A. Jones noted, as well as new financial products specifically designed to address the legacy of racial discrimination and community-based solutions that can be tested, replicated, and scaled to meet local needs.
"Since the beginning of this country, we have been grappling with the issue of extending full humanity to all our people, regardless of race or place," said Jones. "We see it in the pandemic as well. The people on the front lines — our communities of color and our low-wealth communities — are absolutely vital right now, and yet they are also really vulnerable....Never in my lifetime have I seen the sense of urgency...the fierce urgency of now...to do something about these challenges. That's why we are launching Project 10X. We need this level of scale to do the comprehensive, long-term, deep work that is required."
(Photo credit: LISC)