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Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Kalamazoo is a local office of the nation’s leading community development support organization, working in Kalamazoo neighborhoods. We help make neighborhoods stronger!

We believe that everyone should have the right to live in safe, prosperous neighbourhoods full of opportunities. Since 1988, LISC Kalamazoo has been working towards this vision by providing funding, financing, and technical assistance to community development corporations, nonprofit developers, and policy and advocacy organizations in Kalamazoo. With LISC’s support, community developers have been able to and will continue to provide affordable housing, spark economic development, and increase access to high-quality education, transportation, and other crucial resources.

LISC Kalamazoo works to identify and evaluate different approaches to organizing its work in community development. The overall goal of this effort is to provide participants with both the tools and the insights on how to make critical choices regarding how, when, and why an organization would want to work collaboratively with others to design, manage, or implement a comprehensive community development strategy.

Strategies We Pursue

  1. Equip talent in underinvested communities with the skills and credentials to compete successfully for quality income and wealth opportunities.
  2. Invest in businesses, housing and other community infrastructure to catalyze economic, health, safety and educational mobility for individuals and communities.
  3. Drive local, regional, and national policy and system changes that foster broadly shared prosperity and well-being.

Kalamazoo LISC invests in these elements:

  • Expanding investment in housing and other real estate
  • Increasing family income and wealth
  • Stimulating economic development
  • Providing technical assistance
  • Supporting healthy and safe environments and lifestyles, and
  • Placing AmeriCorps Members with our partners.

Together, with residents and partners, LISC Kalamazoo forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across our community; making the greater Kalamazoo area a great place to live, work, visit, do business and raise families.

LISC National Headquarters

28 Liberty Street, Floor 34
New York, NY 10005

Phone: (212) 455-9800
Fax: (212) 682-5929

Kalamazoo Office

Contact Information

  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Kalamazoo
    201 W Kalamazoo Ave, Ste 310
    Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • Chuck Vliek
  • Executive Director
  • (269) 459-4120

Sponsored by the City of South Haven, South Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Lake Michigan College.

Congratulations to Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry for receiving his first loan through Northern Initiatives. With help from his SCORE mentor, Cheri Bales, Gregory did a fantastic job on developing his business plan and showing real entrepreneurial spirit. We wish you much success, and look forward to your upward movement. You are a wonderful role model.

—Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry

I appreciate your ears for listening, your eyes that see my vision and your heart that makes you who you are.  I thank you for your time. You are making a difference.

—Shawntel Lindsey, Director, The Artbor Community Connections Center

The WMed Innovation Center is a perfect environment for innovation to grow and become a successful commercial enterprise.


WMU Business Connection logo

Whether you are seeking a research partner or want to enlist the help of student groups in developing business plans, or just looking for ways to engage with WMU, the Business Connection office can find the resource to help move your business forward.


A loan (from Local Initiatives Support Corporation) helped expand our cafe to triple our seating, add a kids space, increase much needed staff work areas, and make other improvements to the space.


MEL logo

The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is the State of Michigan’s digital library. It has excellent resources available to Michigan residents at no cost.


Western Michigan University’s Starting Gate helped me take an idea and transform it into a much more attainable reality. Whether providing talks with investors and business owners or accountability, the ultimate goal is helping your business succeed.

—Peter Shutt

Kalamazoo County Land Bank logo

The Kalamazoo Land Bank did robust community engagement around the vision and gave us something to work with that was solidly desired by people in the neighborhood. Having a vision meant we had to protect it. That’s something I thank the Land Bank for. It was difficult. It didn’t make anything faster or easier, but we got a better project in the end as a result of it.

—Matt Hollander

Buy Local logo

Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo is a hard working grassroots group focused on the greater Kalamazoo community and its small businesses. Their events and networking opportunities are the best!

—Cheri Bales

SBDC logo

Michigan SBDC is a great company providing top notch service to local businesses all over Michigan. The consultants are professional and the student workers contribute with excellent work!

—Martin Herman Sorensen