It’s probably a given that Jamie Dimon will never be nominated for a “Humanitarian of the Year” award. Although the long-time CEO of JP Morgan Chase gave away about $320,000 through his personal charity in recent years, that seems like a drop in the bucket for a man worth $1.4 billion and a compensation package that was worth $31 million in 2018 (up $2 million from the previous year.)
Still, JP Morgan Chase has been doing some good work in communities of color with Dimon at the helm, particularly in the beleaguered city of Detroit. In 2014, the bank invested $150 million in the city, much of it in the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund. A partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Detroit Development Fund, the fund provides loans of between $50 and $150,000 to Detroit’s minority entrepreneurs. Set to expire in 2019, the fund has now been extended through 2022 as the result of an additional $50 million investment by JP Morgan.
A Significant Impact
The bank’s original investment had a “significant impact” on the city (which is 80 percent African American.) According to a JP Morgan press release, the money has helped over 15,000 Detroit residents gain access to financial services, and provided job training to 14,000 more. Additionally, an estimated 21,000 jobs were “created or maintained.”
The investment also provided funding for a number of citywide programs, including Focus Hope, an advocacy and outreach organization that provides free career training for Detroit’s would-be entrepreneurs. It also helped fuel the startup incubator TechTown Detroit and an environmental nonprofit, The Greening of Detroit.
“Our new investment in Detroit will help the system work for more people — giving more Detroiters access to the tools they need to succeed, stay and benefit from Detroit’s continued recovery,” Dimon said in the press release. “A good education, the skills to secure a good job, a home, and the capital and assistance to start and grow a small business are some of the tools to creating opportunity and a society where everyone benefits,” he said.
A Slow Recovery
Detroit was hit particuarly hard by the bank-fueled financial meltdown of 2008. Already reeling from the 40-year decline of the American auto industry and the exodus of the city’s middle class, Detroit experienced an amazing 25 percent drop in population between 2000 and 2010, and its unemployment rate soared to 30 percent (some sources say it was acutally closer to 50 percent.) In 2013, the city filed for bankruptcy, the largest American city to do so in history. It has struggled to stage an economic comeback ever since.
But things have been improving in the once thriving metropolis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the city is about 8 percent today. Home values, which fell to record lows after the financial crisis, are, for the first time in a decade, beginning to climb. And while the city is far from out of the woods — about 35 percent of Detroit households still live in poverty and a looming housing crisis threatens the city’s working poor — the outlook is brighter than it has been for some time.
Based on its success in Detroit, JP Morgan Chase has now extended similar investments to provide access to job training and education in several other cities,, including Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
At The Carmoon Group, we work with women and minority business owners to help them realize their strategic goals. Our area of expertise is insurance and risk management, but our commitment to MWBEs goes far beyond that limited role. As a minority-owned business, we take our responsibility to mentor and advise others very seriously. Just let us know what we can do to help. Call us any time between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., or reach out online and we will get back to you at a convenient time.