We recently published a piece about how JPMorgan Chase’s giving has shifted dramatically over the years, with high-profile urban investments focused on Chicago, D.C. and Detroit.
Perhaps the bank’s new push on poverty was partly an effort at redemption after the financial crisis, but it’s become much more than that lately. JPMorgan Chase has really latched onto workforce development because the funder believes this is an area where it can truly make a difference. But it's also keenly interested in community economic development and nurturing local businesses.
While JPMorgan Chase is headquartered in New York City, its biggest philanthropic initiatives have been other U.S. cities—with Chicago receiving $40 million, D.C. receiving $10 million, and Detroit receiving $150 million.
But, as we've reported here and there, the bank also makes grants in its hometown of New York City. And it's interesting to look at what types of groups are currently receiving the bank’s local support.
The South Bronx has been a mainstay of JPMorgan Chase giving for quite a while, now, but Brooklyn got in on the action in a recent $500,000 grant round, too. The current focus of JPMorgan Chase in New York is bolstering small businesses in these boroughs. Such businesses are critical to local economic development, creating jobs and bringing stability and hope to communities. The bank’s workforce development strategy comes into play because it's given recent grants for training people to work in these small businesses.
For example, JPMorgan recently gave $250,000 to Brooklyn Workforce Innovations to train low-skilled New Yorkers for small business jobs along Brooklyn’s waterfront—an area where there's a lot of activity right now. Small businesses in Industry City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has over 300 businesses, are in focus, here. Another bank grant went to a multi-nonprofit collaboration that’s working with small business owners in the Bronx to improve staffing, training and job quality.
“Small business owners create the majority of jobs in New York City and we have to figure out better ways to capitalize on the opportunities that they provide to employ New Yorkers,” said Jeanique Druses, vice president of JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy. “Small business owners have mentioned in numerous studies that one of their top challenges is hiring. With these grants, we are directly addressing that challenge.”
Globally, small business expansion is one of the funder’s four priority areas. It’s barely been a year since JPMorgan Chase more than doubled the size of its Small Business Forward program and committed $75 million to this cause through 2019. It remains to be seen how much support will ultimately flow to beneficiaries in New York City.
Also on the local scene, JPMorgan Chase recently hosted a business workforce development conference in Manhattan. This is also where the new Brooklyn and Bronx grants were announced.