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Philadelphia LISC’s Sustainable Communities Initiative was born out of a realization that healthy communities are not just made of bricks and mortar. They also require a strong foundation of communal respect and action, safe and secure families, a skilled workforce, and numerous other quality-of-life measures like hope and faith in the future.

Beginning in 2006, Philadelphia LISC embraced a new strategic plan that emphasized comprehensive, cooperative action over transaction- and organization-focused models of the past. By putting a premium on comprehensive thinking and approaches—and by drawing on a more diverse range of partners and internal capabilities at both the local and national level—we now are actively seeking to make needed connections between previously isolated efforts. 

We are not simply building affordable housing, but also improving transit options so residents can get to work from that housing; not simply providing the financial education to help keep residents in their homes, but also connecting them with the training and employment opportunities to help stabilize their family’s long-term financial outlook.

The underlying concept behind our Sustainable Communities Initiative is to concentrate efforts in particular neighborhoods, building local coalitions that work across traditional programmatic and organizational boundaries to try to create a critical mass for sustainable growth and development.  We partner with  local community development corporations and other neighborhood nonprofits to first create a common vision and work plan for the target area, and then to implement it.

Click here for an interactive look at our strategy

In each of our Sustainable Communities target neighborhoods, our objectives are to:

  • Expand capital investment in housing and other real estate.
  • Build family income and wealth, including improving residents’ skills and access to living-wage jobs.
  • Stimulate local economic activity, including connecting targeted neighborhoods and their residents to the regional economy and beyond.
  • Improve residents’ access to quality education.
  • Develop healthy environments and lifestyles, including safe streets and recreational amenities, community health clinics, and environmentally sound design.


Beginning in 2007, the first community named as a targeted Sustainable Community under this initiative was in West Philadelphia.
Read more about SCI-West here»


In October 2009, Eastern North Philadelphia was named as the second Sustainable Community.
Read more about SCI-Eastern North here»