JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) said Thursday it will invest $40 million over three years in Chicago’s underserved South and West sides in an effort to address the city’s poverty and violence in those areas through economic growth.
The bank’s investment will focus on job skills training, revitalizing neighborhoods, investing in small businesses and improving financial health.
The bank has 5.8 million retail customers in Chicago and 360 branches.
“Chicago is one of America’s greatest cities, but not every resident shares equally in the city’s economic growth,” said Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “It is on us – leaders in business – to step up, collaborate with government and the community and develop solutions where we have resources and expertise to offer.”
The initiative by the nation’s largest bank is its second-biggest commitment to a single city, following an infusion of $150 million into Detroit.
JPMorgan faces a daunting challenge. Chicago is one of the most violent cities in the country, and the neighborhoods it is targeting through this latest initiative have been declining for decades. Previous philanthropic efforts in these communities have foundered.
Chicago continues to be the nation’s leader in volume of killings and shootings. There were 789 homicides in Chicago last year, and there were 468 homicides through August of this year.
Like its investments in Detroit and other cities, JPMorgan will focus on four drivers of inclusive growth: preparing people for in-demand careers, helping small businesses expand, revitalizing neighborhoods and improving financial health.
“We look to see where we can move the needle and make the biggest difference, relying on data and the expertise of our people to strengthen our investments,” said Peter Scher, head of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan in a statement. “In Chicago, we will take what we’ve learned in other cities to invest in the communities that have been left behind.”
JPMorgan’s approach to allocating resources is more data-driven. It allocates about $250 million for philanthropic efforts. JPMorgan also measures whether the projects it funds are delivering the promised impact. For instance, whether participants in workforce initiatives get and keep jobs and whether small businesses receiving investments can make new hires and pay off their loans.
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