JPMorgan Chase & Co announced this month that it is investing over $2 million in a program to give grants to Chicago non-profit organizations. These grants are part of the bank’s $40 million commitment to create economic opportunities in Chicago’s South and West sides.
The more than $2 million will go to six non-profit organizations that help small businesses in distressed neighborhoods, as well as women and minority entrepreneurs. Among the list of grant recipients are 1871, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Blue1647, Women’s Business Development Center, World Business Chicago and Sunshine Enterprises.
JPMorgan also invested in IFF Chicago, a real estate consultant, lender and developer that helps non-profits in low-income communities.
Programs that receive grants are designed to help close the business sector’s diversity gap and connect entrepreneurs with access to capital and resources, the firm said in an announcement.
The $40 million investment, announced by the bank in September, is JPMorgan’s second-biggest commitment to a single city, following an infusion of $150 million into Detroit. It also follows a similar model it applied to Detroit where JPMorgan focused on economic growth to address poverty and violent crime.
“We all know that Chicago is a segregated city and there’s not the same accesses and opportunities in some neighborhoods as others,” said Charlie Corrigan, vice president of JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
To create economic opportunities in these neighborhoods, the firm said 95 percent of the $40 million will be distributed in the form of grants to community groups over three years to fuel job training, small-business growth and neighborhood rebirth.
So far Chase has allocated $5.7 million.
The bank is in talks with Chicago’s nonprofits and corporations to identify other philanthropic opportunities.
“We saw a lot of strong non-profit organizations in Chicago that are working with entrepreneurs and investing in the community. We thought we could play a meaningful role in helping those investments come to neighborhoods,” said Corrigan.
It plans to announce another $4 million or so in grants by the end of this year, bringing the total to more than $10 million invested in Chicago.
Chase’s Chicago and Detroit investments reflect a shift in the bank’s approach to philanthropic giving over the past five years in order to have a proportionally big impact with its annual giving, according to Corrigan.
JPMorgan works with local nonprofits to channel financing to entrepreneurs and homeowners who struggle to get bank loans. They also fund grassroots programs that provide job training or help strengthen small businesses led by women and minorities.
Besides funding, the firm tries to apply its expertise and resources to the process to ensure the fund is turning meaningful change in the neighborhood.
The firm hopes the collaboration it sees between the public, private and nonprofit sectors could be built into a model that can be applied to philanthropy in other cities.
“We try to take a look at what’s happening in the landscape overall and how can the grant to this organization both help people in Chicago and also hopefully prove a model that can be replicated or expanded,” said Corrigan.
Non-profit organizations in Chicago hoping to partner with JPMorgan Chase can contact the local philanthropic team via email Chicago.firstname.lastname@example.org.