News & Event
Courtesy of LISC Rhode Island
Strengthening Nonprofit Leaders in Financial Management
This training is ideal for board members and staff.
Projects and topics include:
Stephanie A. O'Leary, BizOps Chief Financial Officer
Clifton Larson Allen LLP
Stephanie has 22 years of financial and accounting experience, specializing in the nonprofit sector. Her expertise includes financial and operational oversight, financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting, administration of grants, and developing and improving processes and procedures. She also has extensive experience working with organizations that receive federal funding and are subject to audit under OMB Circular A-133.
When: September 27, 2018
8:30 am: Registration/Breakfast
9:00 am -12:00 noon: workshop
Where: The Tech Collective
188 Valley Street, Building 3
Providence, RI 02909
Reserve Your Seat by Monday - September 24, 2018
Courtesy of LISC RI
The 2018 RI Kids Count Factbook, released on Monday, is fascinating. It provides a window into the lives of Rhode Island’s children, and it also offers some peripheral data that contextualizes how the state’s youngest residents are raised.
A portion of the Factbook involves housing security and the economic well-being of the family unit. According to the Factbook, in 2017, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Rhode Island was $1,385 — a $100 increase over the previous year. In order to live without a cost burden — when more than 30 percent of a family’s income is spent on housing — a worker must earn $26.63 an hour, at forty hours a week, to be able to afford that monthly rent. Last year’s minimum wage in Rhode Island was $9.60.
Some towns, to be sure, are more affordable than others. Foster, Glocester, Exeter, Richmond, West Greenwich and — believe it or not — Little Compton all average $944 per month in rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Topping the list in monthly rent is Jamestown at $1,932 per month for a two-bedroom apartment — a cost surely driven by seasonal rental rates. Providence comes in at $1,357 per month.
Perhaps the starkest data show how unattainable certain communities are to low-income families. If a poverty-level family (bringing in $20,420 per year) wants to live in Barrington for the schools, for example, they would have to fork over a whopping 92 percent of their income to rent and 100 percent of their income to a mortgage.
The whole Factbook, with stats on the health, safety, education and community of Rhode Island children, is worth a read. Click here for more.
Courtesy of Rhode Island Monthly
Career changers are common in today’s workforce. Those switching industries bring broad perspectives and fresh skill sets to new fields but can make the modern-day corporate ladder look more like a winding road at times.
But Jeanne Cola is lucky enough to have found her lifelong career at her very first job, at Citizens Bank. She started work there as a student, was exposed to all areas of banking through training and stayed for 25 years, learning how to create mortgage products for clients with low incomes along the way.
“I only left as the opportunity with LISC [Rhode Island Local Initiatives Support Corp.] would allow me more influence,” said Cola, who has been executive director of the organization, which helps get affordable housing and other projects off the ground within the state’s most distressed neighborhoods, for six years. “It was about moving into corporate banking, only from a community perspective. I could be deeply engaged in change for residents and create opportunities to make their lives better.”
A community-development financial institution, LISC opened its Rhode Island office in 1991. Its goal is to build healthy neighborhoods by linking local leaders and organizations with resources to improve the quality of life. With a national corporation behind it, Rhode Island LISC is able to open up access to resources residents wouldn’t otherwise have – including public and private funding in the form of loans, grants and equity investments – for local projects.
“Those first dollars that come in allow millions to flow in after,” said Cola. “That is what really influences that change. That’s where, in my opinion, you see the real influence of LISC due to its impact in the early stages, with early investments. But we have to operate in a fiscally responsible way to have more dollars to lend out.”
Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center in Providence, which serves households with low incomes, is an LISC project. Cola’s group first assisted in making the space appropriate for child care with its Child Care Facilities Fund, adding in grant money, a loan to refinance the state-licensed facility’s mortgage at a lower rate, assisted in a renovation for program expansion and refinancing with more favorable terms. According to its website, LISC has invested more than $850,000 at Beautiful Beginnings, which serves more than 100 children and their families with Early Head Start and other learning initiatives.
“Our goal is to provide what they need where a bank might not be able to,” said Cola. “So, we can be a catalytic influence.”
Problem-solving is a big part of Cola’s role at LISC, along with her team. She is tasked with finding creative solutions. Sometimes this means careful consideration of an end user’s individual situation and adopting a different approach than originally planned. But due to LISC’s unique business model, she always has the flexibility needed to make those decisions on a case-by-case basis.
“If there is a project that will advance the LISC mission, then Jeanne will move mountains to get it done,” said Joseph Silva, senior vice president of commercial lending at Pawtucket Credit Union and chair of the LISC Local Advisory Committee.
Finding those new ways to accomplish things was a skill Cola had practiced regularly in banking. But in areas of relationship-building and fundraising, the nonprofit world took a bit of adjustment on her part.
She had strong external community relationships from her former position, connections that were honed for more than two decades. Those collaborations continued when she came to LISC, but forging new, internal relationships within LISC took time, she said. Reporting to and getting to know members of the LISC Local Advisory Committee and how they all worked together was more uncharted territory. Then, when it came to fundraising, she had to learn fast. “A funder relationship is different. Now [at LISC], I was the fundee.” But Cola saw the investment in relationships and advisory-committee collaborations not as challenges, but as opportunities to grow as a leader.
Central Falls Neighborhood Health Station is one of LISC’s latest collaborations.
Blackstone Valley Community Health Care is building a $14.5 million, 47,000-square-foot health center that will create more than 80 permanent jobs and serve up to 84 percent of Central Falls residents. LISC, recognizing the value in the center reducing health disparities, is financing $12.56 million via its Healthy Futures Fund, which offers better terms and rates than traditional financing.
Cola will continue to help every community in Rhode Island have choices in opportunities, actively searching out partners to make that happen, supporting nonprofits and their leaders who are on the front lines. She noted that the state needs 3,400 new housing units annually over the next 10 years, according to Rhode Island Housing Authority, to remedy the housing crisis here. She wants folks to know that transformations take time, and that LISC sees its work not as stand-alone transactions, but as vibrant transformations.
“I love my job,” said Cola. “I don’t know if you can tell.”
Courtesy of Providence Business News
PROVIDENCE – LISC Rhode Island ended 2017 having invested $26.8 million, including $2.3 million in grants, the nonprofit announced Wednesday.
LISCRI surpassed its investment total for 2016 by $1.7 million and set a record for the national nonprofit’s investment in Rhode Island.
“It’s great to have this level of investment in Rhode Island,” said Jeanne Cola, executive director, in a statement. “Last year, we set a goal of investing $25 million to celebrate our 25th year in Rhode Island. To have surpassed that amount this year is a great achievement. With this level of investment, LISC has been a real change-maker.”
LISCRI highlighted its $12.6 million investment into Blackstone Valley Community Health Care’s Central Falls Community Health Station, a project that combines the organization’s health services into a “one-stop-shop.” The project will bring family doctors, pediatricians, emergency medicine specialists, nurses, obstetricians, midwives, social workers, emergency medical technicians, physical and occupational therapists, recovery coaches, health coaches, community health workers, translators, dentists and pharmacists into one building with the intention of covering 90 percent of the Central Falls population.
“We were completely on board with their plans,” said Cola. “I felt this was a critical project to get behind with a comprehensive funding stack. This kind of community development not only has the potential to completely change the life and health of the residents in one of our most underserved communities, but also stands to create an anchor institution for future development in the community. It’s a win-win for everyone in Central Falls.”
The nonprofit also highlighted that it provided more than 2,000 hours of technical assistance in program areas and on projects with more than 135 of its local partners and community organizations in 2017.
LISC also noted that it administered the AmeriCorps program, which contributed 10,000 hours to Rhode Island Community Development Corporations.
Other LISC Rhode Island investments and initiatives:
LISC Rhode Island said it focuses on projects and programs related to affordable housing and mission-driven real estate, technical assistance and funding for improvements in child care and early learning facilities, improvement in health equity, and various income and wealth-building initiatives through financial opportunity centers.
Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.
By Mary MacDonald - December 13, 2018 4:20 am
PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Housing and Mortgage Finance Corp. board awarded $200,000 in grants in November to several city-based programs that support homeownership, financial counseling and environmentally “green” infrastructure.
The funds were awarded to six programs in Woonsocket, Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, according to a news release.
The housing agency received 24 applications for the funds.
The November recipients were:
Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@PBN.com.
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Providence, RI 02903
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