During her prestigious year-long Michael Rubinger Community Fellowship, SCC Deputy Director Meridith Levy will focus on the effects of impact loan-making.
Somerville, Mass.– Meridith Levy, deputy director at Somerville Community Corporation, has been selected by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to receive a Michael Rubinger Community Fellowship. Levy is one of only 10 local leaders in the community development field to be chosen for this prestigious national award. In its inaugural year, the fellowship offers participants the chance to deepen their work around economic opportunity issues and disseminate their expertise.
“To be chosen as a Rubinger Fellow is quite an honor for both for Meridith and for Somerville Community Corporation,” states Daniel LeBlanc, SCC’s CEO. “Meridith is the only CDC professional from Massachusetts, or even from New England, in this fellowship cohort. This is a testament to the level and quality of her work – and to her understanding of the power of community and economic development to help individuals, families and communities thrive.”
In addition to a monetary award, LISC will bring the fellows together twice during the year for peer learning and sharing, as they pursue individual projects that respond to critical demands in rural and urban America. Issues being addressed range from economic development and financial literacy to affordable housing and community engagement. For her project on impact lending, Levy will do in-depth research to explore impact community investment and lending models that help address the demand for better housing and jobs, while also protecting residents from displacement in the face of fast-moving economic forces.
The program is named in honor of Michael Rubinger, LISC’s long-time CEO, who pioneered new approaches to revitalizing communities throughout his 40-year career. One of LISC’s first employees, Rubinger stepped down in 2016 after 17 years at the organization’s helm. The Fellows program was established to honor his legacy of leadership.
“If you were to only look at the billions of dollars LISC has invested over the years, you might miss one of the most fundamental elements of this work: strong local organizations driven by committed professionals who are closely connected to their communities,” said Rubinger.
“They are the staying power of what we do,” he stressed. “Without them, intermediaries like LISC, the public sector, investors and even developers can’t do their jobs effectively. They are essential, and we owe it to our field to find new ways to build and nurture them.”
Rubinger Fellows are professionals that have proven themselves compelling leaders, but who also have a great deal more to contribute to their communities, as well as the capacity to help advance the field as a whole.
In her 15 years at SCC, Levy has been deeply involved in efforts to preserve affordable housing, connect residents to good jobs and spearhead community planning efforts. She specializes in land-use organizing and public policy. Prior to her work at SCC, she was organizing director at Twin Cities
CDC (now NewVue Communities) in Fitchburg, Mass. Over the years, she has built on her experience organizing with family farmers in Minnesota as part of the Land Stewardship Project.
Meridith holds a master’s of art and a master’s of science from Tufts University, one in urban and environmental policy and the other in agriculture, food and the environment. She’s involved in local advisory groups and programs, including the Somerville Jobs Linkage Advisory Committee, MAPC Equity Policy Agenda Advisory Group, the Boston Ujima Project, and currently serves as co-chair of the Mel King Institute Steering Committee.
Support for the Rubinger Fellowship is provided by Lisa & Dick Cashin and Robert E. Rubin, with additional support from Nancy and George Walker; Bank of America; Citi Foundation; Ford Foundation; The Kresge Foundation; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; MetLife Foundation; Morgan Stanley; State Farm; The Greater Milwaukee Community Foundation; and Philip D. Murphy.
For more information on the winners and the projects they have designed for their fellowship year, visit www.lisc.org/fellowship.
Somerville Community Corporation creates affordable housing, connects people to jobs, promotes financial stability and builds power with its members to achieve strong policy results in Somerville, Mass. In the face of one of the strongest markets in the country, SCC has made preserving and enhancing the city’s diversity the overarching priority that drives SCC’s work, so that people of all backgrounds can live and thrive in Somerville.
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1980, LISC has invested $17.3 billion to build or rehab 366,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 61 million square feet of retail, community and educational space.