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Innovative funding lifts low-income families, attracts businesses to disadvantaged San Diego neighborhoods

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A new national funding program is lifting the prospects of some of San Diego’s disadvantaged neighborhoods with new businesses and jobs, better affordable housing and help for families who need to stabilize their financial outlook.

A $3.75 million grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation will help low-income people transform their struggling cities and rural communities into places that thrive.

“Our relationship with LISC has been instrumental in helping transform neighborhoods into more vibrant living spaces, which is crucial to promoting a strong California economy,” said Rick Bregman, Bank of America San Diego market president. “When we combine our business capabilities with the expertise of LISC, we have a tremendous impact on the individuals and communities we both serve.”

Over the next three years, LISC will direct $150,000 in grants to low and moderate-income neighborhoods in San Diego — all focused on improving the overall quality of life.

In San Diego, Bank of America’s (NYSE: BAC) support has already been making a difference. LISC, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee, operates a Financial Opportunity Centers in Colina Park. FOCs are one-stop shops that combine financial counseling with employment and income support programs. FOCs help low-income households advance in the workforce, increase income, build savings, and establish strong credit histories. Through Bank of America’s support, IRC’s FOC helped 111 people increase their monthly net income by $487, their net worth by $2,187, and their credit scores by 44 points.

The expanded funding is the latest installment in a steadfast partnership between LISC and Bank of America, which has provide more than $1.2 billion in grants, loans and equity investments aimed at raising standards of living across the country. Nationwide, Bank of America’s grant will help 47,000 people get the financial counseling they need to find good jobs, build savings, improve their credit, reduce debt and plan for the future.

“There is nothing simple about lifting people out of poverty,” noted Edward Lopez, executive director with LISC San Diego. “It’s not enough to build better housing and schools. It’s not enough to nurture new businesses or chip away at crime. We need to be tackling all those issues simultaneously if we are to create economic opportunity and help people live better. Bank of America is helping make sure we can do that.”

As a result of Bank of America’s latest grant, LISC San Diego’s six FOCs will be able to reach more low-income families as a result of the expanded program, building on a strong track record of leading economic recovery from the neighborhood up.

Last year, 1,756 people were helped at a LISC San Diego FOC with more than 75 percent receiving “bundled” services. Of those, 281 individuals increased their FICO scores, 362 improved their net income and 299 bettered their net worth. Additionally, approximately 350 persons received an employment placing.

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