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Susana Vasquez Named LISC Executive Director

Susana Vasquez, who for nearly two decades has worked to redevelop Chicago neighborhoods, is the new executive director of LISC’s Chicago office. LISC, the nation’s leading community development support organization, has been redeveloping Chicago neighborhoods since 1980.

The move is a natural evolution for Vasquez, who joined LISC/Chicago in 2003 as a program officer and soon became director of the office’s most ambitious effort – the New Communities Program, a 10-year project to comprehensively redevelop 16 Chicago neighborhoods.

“Susana’s definitely suited for the demands of this job,” said Lori Healey, the chair of LISC/Chicago’s board of advisors. “She knows the city, she knows the neighborhoods, and she knows the community organizations. The leadership she displayed as NCP director will be of enormous value as she takes the helm of LISC’s most productive and creative office.”

Over the years, Vasquez, 40, has developed a reputation as a savvy organizer, a polished diplomat, a decisive executive and a skilled personnel manager – all essential qualities in navigating the complicated world of Chicago neighborhoods, local politics, multiple funding sources and numerous partnerships required to make underserved neighborhoods better and stronger.

After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in U.S./Latin American History, Vasquez cut her community development teeth as an organizer on the Affordable Housing Campaign (led by the Chicago Rehab Network), as a tenant organizer at the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, and as a community organizer at the Resurrection Project, where she became the deputy director. She left to earn a master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and returned to Chicago to work for LISC, where she oversaw the expansion of NCP from a three-neighborhood pilot program to the 16 neighborhoods it encompasses today.

“We think Susana’s unique qualities will ensure a seamless transition at the LISC/Chicago office, which has been a leader in our national focus on comprehensive community development,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC’s president and CEO. “We’re lucky to have her.”

Vasquez succeeds Andrew Mooney, who ran the office for 15 years before leaving to become Chicago’s commissioner of housing and economic development.

“We’re confident that under Susana’s leadership, LISC/Chicago will continue to be the nation’s leader in bringing new ideas and techniques to the business of neighborhood redevelopment,” said Julia Stasch, vice president of U.S. programs for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, primary funder of the New Communities Program. “She has a sophisticated grasp of the field.  She can get things done and will hit the ground running in this critical position.”

About LISC/Chicago

LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help community-based organizations revitalize underserved neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC/Chicago has infused $160 million into comprehensive development programs throughout the city, which has leveraged an additional $4.7 billion in community investment and resulted in the development of 28,000 units of affordable housing, over 5 million square feet of commercial space, and a wide variety of social and economic development programs.

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Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago connects neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier.

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