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Leah Hamilton

Leah Hamilton ’04: Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), NYC

Leah Hamilton

Prior to Columbia, Leah Hamilton spent seven years in the entertainment industry, before deciding to pursue a career in community development and a dual MBA/Master of Social Work degree. “I looked for an internship that would provide experience in community development while challenging me to apply the financial analysis skills I had gained in the core MBA courses,” she says.

Hamilton spent the summer at LISC, an intermediary for corporations and foundations, that aims to transform distressed communities into healthy ones. LISC provides technical and financial resources to help Community Development Corporations become sustainable institutions and has the capacity to carry out a range of community revitalization activities.

Hamilton helped develop the NYC/LISC Education Facilities loan/fund pool, which will accelerate the development of quality and affordable school space in NYC. “I saw first hand how powerful public-private partnerships can be in addressing the most pressing needs of our city’s diverse communities,” she says.

Hamilton drafted a business plan which included creating a financial model with risk assessment and mitigation strategies, produced outreach materials for investors, assisted in structuring underwriting and assessment criteria, and researched other similar loan pools. Her supervisor commented that this work “propelled us to move farther and faster than we were moving in creating this new program.” Hamilton is currently working with a community development corporation in the Bronx. “I get to interact with everyone from political leaders to after-school program participants. It shows me everyday how broadly applicable my new skills can be to improving the overall economic and social health of a community.”

Back to other summer experiences


2014 Social Enterprise Conference

Millennials Rising: What's Next for Sustainability?

When: October 31, 2014,
8:30 am-6:00pm

The Marriott Marquis
1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
Between 45th and 46th Streets
New York, NY 10036

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The annual Social Enterprise Conference at Columbia Business School brings together thought leaders from across private, nonprofit, public, and academic sectors to share best practices, debate critical issues, and collaborate on innovative concepts to inspire change. Through interactive sessions, keynote speakers, workshops, a pitch competition, and networking opportunities, the conference presents guests with the opportunity to partake in the most important business and societal conversation of this new era. For updates on speakers and sessions, please visit the conference website.

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Summer Fellowship Program

Microfinance models help women of Burkina Faso

Read about the experiences of our summer fellows as they help create social and environmental value.


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