LISC Launches South Carolina Community Investment Program to Fuel Affordable Housing, Businesses and Jobs in Upstate Communities

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

A $20 billion social enterprise is bringing its community investment model to Upstate communities as part of a major effort to expand affordable housing, businesses and jobs across the region.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has tapped Julie Franklin, a 25-year veteran of economic development efforts throughout the state, to head the new LISC Upstate South Carolina program, which will focus on catalyzing opportunity for residents of the region.

"Julie has spent her career working with local governments, nonprofits and investors to drive development plans that benefit local residents," said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO. "She is deeply connected to South Carolina's communities, and we're grateful that her passion and expertise will help drive efforts to build a more inclusive and equitable local economy."

Upstate SC is the 36th metro program office for LISC, which also fuels community growth through a national rural investment effort that reaches thousands of counties. LISC invests $1.5 billion annually in economic development, affordable housing, community safety, strong schools, and local health, while also helping people build the skills they need to compete for living wage jobs.

"As a whole, the Upstate is enjoying strong growth," Franklin said. "But not everyone has been able to participate in our economic expansion. To succeed in a globally competitive marketplace, we need to build up our local talent, strengthen our neighborhoods and fuel a broadly shared prosperity that allows everyone to thrive, regardless of where they come from or where they live."

LISC has supported individual projects in South Carolina in the past, but now is expanding its reach through a comprehensive, long-term, locally based program office. Previous investments include more than $67 million for affordable housing, community athletic fields, small business support and community safety outreach. Rural LISC has also supported work in Sumter, S.C., through a partnership with Santee Lynches Community Development Corporation.

Franklin will draw on her extensive local experience to build on those early efforts. She has spent the last decade as an advisor to city governments across the state on a range of initiatives, including municipal redevelopment corporations, affordable housing approaches, and public-private mixed-use land developments. She has worked with nonprofits to design high-impact strategies related to healthcare, public transportation, dispute resolution, and women- and minority-owned businesses. And she has assisted private businesses in new investment markets, as well as in public engagement.

Earlier in her career, Franklin was the City of Spartanburg's first economic development director, spearheading the downtown master plan, structured financing mechanisms, and public-private partnerships to support redevelopment and business growth. She also worked as economic development manager for the City of Greenville, where she managed revitalization programs for the West End and West Greenville districts, including the creation of the city's environmental justice program and oversight of the West End Market anchor redevelopment project.

"I am thrilled to be part of the LISC team and to bring the organization's innovative approaches and tremendous resources to my community," Franklin said. "There are so many collaborative opportunities here in the Upstate. I look forward to working with our local partners to identify the strongest ways for us to make a difference."