LISC CEO Rubinger: Toledo faces unique challengesWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo is similar to the bigger cities of Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles, according to Michael Rubinger, CEO of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
But what sets Toledo apart is raising money to fix dilapidated neighborhoods, he said.
With fewer foundations and corporations because of the city’s size, it’s harder to secure local money, Rubinger said during a recent visit to the Glass City.
Compounding Toledo’s challenge is the bad economy, which doesn’t help, he said, but many donors usually do continue to see the benefit of LISC.
“We do OK, not badly in a recession,” he said.
Rubinger flew in from New York City, home of the corporate office, to attended Celebrity Wait Night at Zia’s Italian Restaurant at The Docks. The April 21 event was presented by LISC Toledo. For part of the evening, Rubinger stood outside at The Docks, one of the projects LISC Toledo is proud to call its own.
One way Toledo is trying to get more money is by broadening its base of support, said Hugh Grefe, senior executive director for LISC Toledo. But with that money, LISC will have to help those communities, too. It’s a push, pull, he said.
“Great cities have great urban cores,” Grefe said. “ People don’t live in cities, they live in neighborhoods.”
Since its inception, LISC has procured more than $75 million for local community development projects with contributions of $4.2 million from local sources. LISC also attracts money from national, state, county, city and private sources.
Rubinger said the future of Toledo’s program, and the nation’s, is the “Sustainable Communities of Choice” initiative. With the foundation of affordable housing set, LISC wants to make sure residents are safe, have adequate education, job access and health care.
“Housing is a basic need,” Rubinger said. “Housing alone is not enough.”
On the web visit www.lisc.org and click on links.