JPMorgan Chase, one of the most prominent financial institutions in the nation, announced a $75 million, five-year commitment in philanthropic capital and low-cost loans to the Greater Washington region, including Baltimore, that will primarily target Black, Hispanic and other underserved communities.

   Baltimore-based organizations will receive a cumulative $20 million. Likewise, $20 million will support organizations based in the predominantly Black sections of Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C., and the remaining $35 million commitment will be split across the region to include cities like Richmond, Va, according to the Jan. 25 announcement.

   JPMorgan executives joined city leaders to make the big announcement and deliver remarks on how the multi-million dollar investments will impact the local community in a brief press conference held on Jan. 26 in West Baltimore’s Kirby Lane Park.

   “Baltimore is such a vibrant community and it is one of such enormous opportunity,” JPMorgan Chase Vice Chair Peter Scher said. “We, as a bank see enormous opportunity in this region, which is why we continue to invest and grow our business, but we also see the challenges in this region as well.”

   Scher went on to highlight the numerous disparities in housing, wealth, healthcare and education that continue to plague Baltimore City, explaining how the company’s well-being is tied to the growth of the community. 

   JPMorgan Chase has been involved in Baltimore for more than two decades, Scher said, adding that the company will open its first community center branch in West Baltimore later this year.

   A good deal of the multi-million dollar investment will aim to fulfill three core purposes as outlined by JPMorgan: create a more equitable Greater Washington region, connect women to wealth-building opportunities in the region and close the housing affordability gap.

   “If we’re going to be the best version of ourselves, we know in Baltimore that we have to listen to Black and Latina women because they have been doing the work, and have been bearing the brunt of it, and showing us the way for a long time,” said Scott, who was joined by a few city council members and Faith Leach, Deputy Mayor for Equity, Health and Human Services. “I am excited about this collaborative’s efforts to increase access to entrepreneur and apprenticeship opportunities for women of color in West Baltimore. In particular, I look forward to supporting the collaborative’s efforts to foster change in the real estate development landscape.”

   As part of JPMorgan Chase’s “Advancing Cities Challenge,” an annual competition that sources innovation to drive systemic change in various towns, the firm sourced proposals for projects designed for and by Black and Latina women to address racial and gender wealth gaps, says a statement released by the company.

   Advancing Early Education and POWER: Prioritizing Our Women’s Economic Rise were two of the six winning collaboratives awarded $5 million to advance solutions for women who have particularly been disproportionately impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19.

   The Advancing Early Education collaborative will increase access to education, skills and training opportunities in the early education field for Black and Latina women specifically in Wards 7 and 8 in D.C., thanks to JPMorgan Chase’s $5 million three-year commitment. Martha’s Table, LIFT DC, Venture Philanthropy Partners, American University and Trinity Washington University will be responsible for launching the initiative. 

   POWER is a collaborative led by Latino Economic Development Center in partnership with the City of Baltimore, University of Maryland (Baltimore Community Engagement Center), Black Women Build Baltimore, Baltimore-D.C. Building Trades and Baltimore Community Lending.

   The $5 million investment to the organization will provide small business development resources, workforce skills training, affordable real estate development and homeownership opportunities for Black, Hispanic and Latina women in West Baltimore.

   Dekonti Mends Cole, vice president of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase, and the Latin Economic Development Center executive director and CEO Emi Reyes were at the press conference to discuss the POWER collaborative’s significant role.

   JPMorgan Chase has announced an additional $2 million award to Parity Homes that will create 200 new homeownership opportunities for low-income households along with a construction apprenticeship program.

   Equal Justice Works and the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development will receive a combined $3.45 million from the banking company to increase access to legal services and tenant resources for low-income Black, Latino and Hispanic residents of public housing. Wealth building, affordable housing and home ownership are among other intended outcomes of the investment.

   “I’m standing behind this podium, not because of my individual efforts or intellect, but because dozens of people believed in something larger than themselves,” said Parity Homes CEO and founder Bree Jones. “With this funding, Parity [Homes] will be able to create four new job opportunities and grow our team so that we can keep pace with the overflowing demand that we have for our homes.”

Demetrius Dillard
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