LISC, Raza Development Fund pledge $30 million to spur transit-oriented development in low-income communities

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LISC, Raza Development Fund pledge $30 million to spur transit-oriented development in low-income communities

LISC, Raza Development Fund pledge $30 million to spur transit-oriented development in low-income communities

Secretary Foxx, mayors applaud effort to leverage light rail for local growth

PHOENIX (August 24, 2015)— Just days before the opening of the Central Mesa extension of the light rail, two local nonprofits have announced $30 million in funding to attract new housing and businesses to low-income communities along key transit corridors.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Mesa Mayor John Giles and Tempe Vice Mayor Corey Woods to help launch the transit-oriented development (TOD) program—a joint effort of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Raza Development Fund (RDF).

LISC and RDF drive programs to help revitalize disadvantaged communities. Both have a decades-long focus that has poured tens of millions of dollars into the Phoenix area.

“The transit-oriented development program shows that Phoenix has a tremendous strategy to ensure that the benefits of investing in transit reach every neighborhood,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “I encourage Phoenix to boldly pursue transit projects that are important to its future and that will pay them back in economic and social capital for many years to come.”

The LISC/RDF commitment expands on the partners’ 2011 Sustainable Communities TOD fund, which provided $20 million in seed money for local projects in areas often overlooked as too poor or too risky for private investment.  That fund helped build nearly 1,800 units of housing and 200,000 square feet of commercial and community space.

“To date light rail has attracted more than $8.2 billion in economic development along its 20-mile corridor,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “With LISC and Raza teaming up to more than double the size of their transit-oriented development fund to help build sustainable housing and businesses, we know for certain that this already substantial economic impact will continue to grow.”

Terry Benelli, LISC Phoenix executive director, said that TOD investments are particularly valuable for distressed neighborhoods that struggle to attract capital. “We want to make sure lower income areas can take advantage of TOD gains, just as more affluent communities do,” she said.  “The combined $30 million from LISC and RDF will encourage development in areas that might otherwise be overlooked.”

“As I reflect on RDF’s initial investment in the Sustainable Communities Fund, I am reminded that the country and our Valley of the Sun were in the middle of the 2008 financial meltdown; yet the Fund defied the odds and has been an extraordinary success!

We are pleased to announce this new pledge of $15 million dollars, that will allow us to continue financing health centers and affordable housing that meet the needs of families. ” said Tommy Espinoza, president & CEO, Raza Development Fund.

Nationally, LISC has invested $355 million in TOD efforts—including $90 million in Phoenix—which has helped fuel $1.9 billion in housing and business developments that are helping raise standards of living for low-income people and places.  The new $30 million for the Phoenix area is especially valuable because it provides predevelopment money to get projects moving, well before the first brick is laid.

About LISC Phoenix

LISC Phoenix’s transit-oriented development initiative, named Our Future is on the Line, responds to the potential for sustainable and equitable development created by the light rail system in our region.  Transit-oriented development can provide an alternative to current sprawl patterns that can reduce transportation costs, promote healthy living and create sustainable communities.

LISC Phoenix is part of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit that equips struggling communities with the capital, program strategy, and know-how to become places where people can thrive. Since 1980, LISC has invested $14.7 billion to build or rehab 330,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 53 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit

About Raza Development Fund

Raza Development Fund (RDF) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation and a registered Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) under the United States Department of the Treasury. Established in 1999 as a 509 (a) 3 support corporation, RDF provides National Council of La Raza affiliates and other Latino-serving organizations access to capital.

RDF is the largest Latino CDFI, with more than $250 million in total assets under management. Since inception, RDF has provided capital to Latino serving organizations nationwide. These organizations have received technical assistance and loans which have helped leverage nearly $2.5 billion in private capital for education, childcare, affordable housing and healthcare projects serving low-income families and individuals.