Christine Morris named as first executive director of LISC Hampton Roads program
HAMPTON ROADS, Va., Jan. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has named one of the state's most innovative community development officials to lead its new community and economic development efforts in Hampton Roads.
Christine Morris, formerly chief resilience officer for the city of Norfolk, will serve as the first executive director of LISC Hampton Roads, which will collaborate with community residents, nonprofits, business leaders, policy makers and philanthropic groups on ways to catalyze opportunity and build a broadly shared prosperity throughout the region.
Hampton Roads is the 35th urban program office for LISC—a national nonprofit that has invested more than $20 billion to advance economic opportunity across the country. Announced in late 2019, the new program is part of a joint effort with Sentara Health to invest $100 million in local "social determinants" of health, like affordable housing, small businesses, and programs that prepare people for living wage jobs.
"When we catalyze opportunity for residents and communities, we help people live longer and healthier lives," said Maurice A. Jones, president and CEO of LISC.
Morris' experience is clearly aligned with those goals, Jones said. While working at the city of Norfolk, she led multi-faceted "resilience" efforts—from addressing the threat of rising sea levels to developing strategies to deconcentrate poverty. Earlier, she focused on workforce development, entrepreneurship and business growth as an assistant to the city manager.
"Christine understands how to build and grow a local infrastructure of programs, partners and investments, all working together to benefit families and communities," said Jones, a lifelong resident of Virginia. "She is the ideal person to lead our efforts in the region."
Morris has also worked in the private and philanthropic sectors. She spent nine years in leadership roles at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and helped launch the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation. Additionally, she served as a vice president at EDTEC, Inc., a community development consulting firm; worked as a policy consultant to the National School Health Education Coalition; and was a program manager at the National School Boards Association.
"Everything LISC does is designed to broaden the pathways to opportunity so that all families—no matter their race, class, age or background—have the chance to participate in our robust economy and build a good quality of life," Morris said. "I've been working on these issues for my entire career, and I'm excited to help LISC drive positive, sustainable change here in Hampton Roads."
This is LISC's second office in Virginia. It complements LISC's long-standing program in the Richmond area, which has invested more than $140 million in housing, businesses, health, safety and jobs, and it builds on the extensive support of Rural LISC for community-driven development and services throughout the Commonwealth.
Morris' initial efforts will be to open a physical office in Hampton Roads and hire staff, with early-action grants and investments to follow. Beginning on Jan. 13, she can be reached at email@example.com
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 1979, LISC has invested $20 billion to build or rehab 400,500 affordable homes and apartments and develop 66.8 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. To learn more, visit www.lisc.org.
Colleen Mulcahy, for LISC