We’re excited to feature an organization near and dear to MJ for February’s charity of the month: Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The work of LISC closely aligns with our Purpose and is summarized in the following statement:  

Together with residents and partners, we forge resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America–great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. 

MJ has had the pleasure of working with LISC in the past. Through our Together4Impact campaign, a portion of the funds raised went to LISC’s 2020 Small Business Relief Grant Program, which ultimately supported 76 different businesses, of which 99% were Black or Latinx entrepreneurs and 59% were women.  

As February is also Black History Month, it’s timely to highlight this wonderful organization and one of their national projects: Project 10X. This initiative is LISC’s most ambitious project to date. Its objective is to upend the racial health, wealth and opportunity gaps that keep tens of millions of Americans from sharing in our country’s prosperity and their personal potential. 

Why 10X? LISC provides some key statistics and numbers to illustrate the name of this ambitious project: 

  • The average white family’s net wealth was at least 10 times that of the average Black family. 
  • There is at least a 10-year gap in average life expectancy between Black and white people in many American cities. 
  • LISC is dedicated to investing in and pushing forward this initiative for the next 10 years. 
  • The organization maintains that this effort requires “10X thinking”—10 times the vision, determination and dedication of previous initiatives. They are seeking out partners to join us in 10X investment to help ensure Project 10X creates maximum impact.

Project 10X is being launched at a critical time in our society. We’re all living in the aftermath of a pandemic, economic recession and reckoningall which have resulted in disproportionate impact on communities of color. There is a sense of urgency with this initiative and LISC considers it imperative that we do everything in our power to nurture systems that promote racial equity and wellbeing for every individual.  

The vision of Project 10X exemplifies the pillars of the MJ Foundation as its success will undoubtedly help overcome poverty, advance education, foster diversity and embrace humanity. LISC’s project targets four approaches to building equity: 

  • Generating enduring wealth and equity through homeownership and small business ownership  
  • Building credit and savings and strengthening financial institutions led by Black, indigenous and people of color 
  • Investing in community wellness, digital access, education, arts, and justice reform 
  • Supporting quality jobs with good wages and benefits 

 If you’d like to get involved, visit the Project 10X website to learn more. You can also search on their website for a local LISC chapter near you and check out volunteer opportunities.