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July 2, 2021

Where Does $100 to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Go?

by Anne Paddock

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) was established in 1979 “as a nimble non-profit with strong community partnerships that would connect hard-to-tap public and private resources with underinvested places and people….” Sounds like United Way and in many ways the organizations are similar except that LISC is a much smaller version with 37 local offices in 2,200 counties in 45 states (compared to thousands of United Way offices in all 50 states).

In the most simplistic terms, LISC is a non-profit that raises about $150-$200 million annually, spends about $140-$160 million (with about $50 million, or about 33% of revenue, on grants). Because LISC has spent less than they have raised, the organization has managed to accumulate nearly $400 million in net assets by the end of 2019.

There are 4 related tax-exempt organizations and nearly 300 related organizations taxed as a partnership or as a corporation or trust, most of whom are engaged in low income housing or community development.

The most recent Form 990 (2019) reveals that LISC collected $202 million in revenue, most of which came from 4 sources:

  • $918 million:  Other (not specified)
  • $ 80 million:  Contributions, Gifts, and Grants
  • $ 44 million:  Government Grants
  • $ 27 million:  Interest – Community Development

Expenses totaled $162 million and were categorized as follows:

  • $64 million (31% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $48 million (24% of revenue):  Grants
  • $13 million (6% of revenue):  Fees for Services (primarily management)
  • $13 million (6% of revenue):  Interest
  • $ 9 million (5% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 7 million (3% of revenue):  Loss Provision/Receivables Loss
  • $ 4 million (2% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences
  • $ 4 million (3% of revenue):  Other Expenses (no detail provided)

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 31:  Compensation

-$  6:  Fees for Services (primarily management)

-$  5:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  2:  Travel and Conferences

-$  3:  Other Expenses (not detail provided)

-$ 47: Subtotal Expenses:  Compensations, Fees, Office, Travel, and Other

 $ 53:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 24:  Grants

-$  6:  Interest

-$  3:  Loss Provision/Receivable Loss

-$ 33:  Subtotal:  Grants/Interest/Loss

 $  20: Revenue Unspent:  To General Fund

Based on the above, LISC:

  • Spends about half of revenue (or $47 out of every $100) on expenses to run the organization;
  • Spends about a quarter of revenue (or $24 out of every $100) on grants; and
  • Saves about 20% of revenue (or $20 out of every $100).

LISC made 529 grants greater than $5,000 to 529 other 501 (c) (3) organizations and 54 to other organizations. The largest grant recipients were:

  • $1,831,000:  Community First Fund, of Lancaster, PA
  • $1,530,000:  Finanta, of Philadelphia, PA
  • $1,141,000:  Impact Loan Fund, of Philadelphia, PA
  • $  640,000:  HMONG Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, of Milwaukee, WI
  • $  620,000:  AMOS House of Providence, RI
  • $  565,469:   North Lawndee Employment Network, of Chicago, IL
  • $  562,600:  Southwest Organizing Project, of Chicago, IL
  • $  524,800:  Rebuilding Together Houston
  • $  516,146:  Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corp of Houston
  • $  500,000 Rocky Mountain Institute, of Boulder, CO

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019), click here.

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