JPMorgan Chase: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: JPMorgan Chase gives funding to colleges and universities around the globe, but it does not have a designated higher ed program. Instead, most of its higher education grants go through its Workforce Readiness program. Awards have also been distributed through its Small Business Forward program. On a smaller scale, it also gives funds to universities through matching funds from employee donations. The company’s website lists a large directory of local employees who may be worth contacting. Geographic restrictions apply on a state-by-state basis.

IP TAKE: JPMorgan Chase's support for industry-related research and skills-building efforts in higher ed all serve its main goal: enabling more young workers to be globally competitive. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted. 

PROFILE: The “Global Philanthropy” arm of the massive financial services firm JPMorgan Chase is motivated by a sense of the company’s “fundamental responsibility to help our clients and our communities navigate a complex global economy and address their economic and social challenges.” The firm has given away hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofits worldwide in recent years, with a five-pronged focus on Workforce Readiness, Financial Capability, Small Business Development, Community Development/Affordable Housing, and Employee Engagement and Volunteerism.

One of the most important funding streams for higher ed grantseeksers is JPMorgan’s focus on Workforce Readiness. Stemming from the conviction that “addressing the skills gap can be one of the most powerful tools for reducing unemployment and expanding economic opportunity,” JPMorgan Chase established New Skills at Work in 2013, a “$250 million, five-year initiative” that seeks to “inform and accelerate efforts to develop demand-driven skills training so that workers and industries have the skills to compete and prosper in a global economy.”

Of that commitment, Chase allocated $75 million to a sub-program, New Skills for Youth, which aims “to expand high-quality, career-focused education programs that lead to well-paying jobs and long-term careers” for young people. This initiative was launched in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, and more information about the application process and timeline is available here. One of the several awards at the six-figure range distributed as part of this effort is the Foundation for California Community Colleges, which received $100,000 “to support a series of Strong Workforce Town Halls, as part of [its] newly-launched California Community College Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation and a Strong Economy.”

Job training is also key to New Skills for Youth. To that end, JPMorgan Chase also invested $5 million into a Summer Youth Employment initiative, designed to “create work placement programs, mentorships, and skills development opportunities” and increase young people’s employability in the long term. At the secondary level, JPMorgan also has a Fellowship Initiative that provides support in academics, college prep, mentorship, and other areas to individual young men of color.

Separately, JPMorgan has also established an on-campus presence in some instance. The JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center (EOC) works on “economic forecasting,” and was established in 1986 as part of Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business. In a recent year, a $175,000 grant went to the ASU Foundation, though it is not clear whether those funds were directed to the EOC specifically. Along with Syracuse University, the firm also co-founded SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. JPMorgan has worked on a number of initiatives with the Institute, often in collaboration with other organizations. Of these, one of the most recent efforts was the development and distribution of “leading practices guides designed to help companies build or enhance veteran employment programs.”

On a more modest scale, JPMorgan Chase has a Good Works program, which "organizes hands-on and skills-based volunteer opportunities, grants, and a matching gifts program,” the latter of which includes universities. Funds allocated through that program generally fall in the $50 to $500 range.

Higher ed grants are also distributed through the foundation’s Small Business Forward Program, a five-year, $30-million initiative launched in 2014 that “supports small businesses by connecting them to critical resources to help them grow faster, create jobs and strengthen local economies.” In a recent year, JPMorgan Chase gave a substantial grant to the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) at UC San Francisco to “promote biotech innovation in San Francisco” by enabling it to hire an entrepreneurship program manager and to “fund internships at the center to assist students from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in their efforts to enter the biotech industry.” The University of Missouri-Kansas City Free Enterprise Center has also received funding through the same program, which allowed it to purchase 3D printers and other technology for product development; JPMorgan has supported other, similar programs such as the Consulting and Business Development Center at University of Washington Foster School of Business.

At the moment, JPMorgan Chase is not accepting any unsolicited proposals. That said, a list of local staff, including contact information, is available here, and it may be worth getting in touch to make a brief introduction. Before sending that email, however, be sure to verify that you meet the basic criteria and are not outside the geographic scope of JPMorgan Chase’s giving area, which varies by state and can be verified at the bottom of its eligibility page.

PEOPLE:

  • Dalila Wilson-Scott, Head of Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase and President, JPMorgan Chase Foundation
  • Peter Scher, Head of Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase
  • Beth Plewa, Senior Program Associate, Career Readiness Initiative, Council of Chief State School Officers (for information about New Skills for Youth)

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