Virginia commerce secretary leaving to lead nonprofit
Maurice Jones, Virginia’s secretary of commerce and trade, is leaving the McAuliffe administration to lead the New York-based nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
Jones will become president and CEO of LISC on Sept. 6, replacing Michael Rubinger. His last day as secretary will be Sept. 2.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who is LISC’s long-time board chair, said in a statement that Jones’ experience working in federal and state government as well as in the private sector align with LISC’s mission to rebuild America’s struggling communities.
“Maurice is highly experienced as a manager and in addressing the challenges of community development,” Rubin said. “He is also a policy expert with a strong strategic mindset, and has been a business builder. He understands the myriad difficulties facing low-income families. The board is excited to have such a compelling and talented leader.”
Jones, 51, joined McAuliffe’s administration in 2014. Before taking that post, he was deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for almost two years. He also has been publisher of The Virginian-Pilot.
Jones also served as commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Social Services, deputy chief of staff under Gov. Mark Warner, a Treasury Department official under President Bill Clinton, a lawyer in Richmond at Hunton & Williams and a partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners, a firm that invests millions of dollars in the Washington, D.C., area in helping low-income children.
According to LISC, Jones helped manage a then-new initiative called the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) fund when he worked for the Treasury Department.
It was during his time at the CDFI fund, which helps nonprofits leverage their capital to bolster their communities, that Jones say he came to admire LISC’s commitment to fighting poverty and blight.
“For me, this is a remarkable opportunity to lead one of the country’s outstanding change-agents,” Jones said in the statement. “LISC has staff all across the country who spend every day connecting with community leaders, policymakers, capital providers, and, of course, committed residents who together want to solve some of the nation’s toughest problems. I could not be more excited about this work.”
Jones was raised by his grandparents in a rural Southern Virginia community. He received a full merit scholarship to Hampden-Sydney College and later earned a master’s degree in international relations at Oxford University and a law degree with the University of Virginia.
“In many ways, coming to LISC brings me full-circle,” he said. “I vividly remember, as a child, watching my grandparents working themselves to the bone so I could have a better life. Now I feel blessed to be in the position of creating opportunities for a new generation.”
LISC has invested more than $16 billion to help neighborhoods recover from decline and abandonment. Last year the organization worked with community partners in 31 areas and invested $1.3 billion to build and preserve affordable housing and support projects in health, safety and job creation to revitalize neighborhoods.
The Virginia LISC office is based in Richmond.