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Extending Our Model in Chicago Extending Our Model in Chicago Extending Our Model in Chicago
Scaling the Model for Impact

Extending Our Model in Chicago

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Chicago is a city at a crossroads. The city is home to many growing industries with middle-skill job opportunities, yet in recent years some underserved neighborhoods have experienced unemployment rates topping 30 percent.

The number of people living below the poverty line in [Chicagoland / the region / the Chicago region] has increased 34 percent since 2000, and more than 60 percent of Chicago families are financially insecure, with less than $2,000 in savings. The concentrated poverty, racial inequality and violence afflicting many of the city’s underserved neighborhoods are symptoms of the larger problem: Too many Chicagoans are being shut out of the rewards of a growing economy.

In 2017, our firm made a $40 million, three-year commitment to extend our model for economic growth to Chicago, where we have been working for over 150 years. We are taking the lessons we’ve learned around the world and applying them in Chicago’s underserved South and West sides for several reasons: We know that this is a great American city that is struggling with complex challenges, and we believe the conditions exist there for our firm to make a real impact. Most importantly, Chicago’s civic, business and nonprofit organizations have a proven track record of collaboration, which lies at the heart of our model’s success.

In Chicago we are extending our model by investing in four core pillars of opportunity:

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Small Business

Research shows a lack of capital flowing into businesses on the South and West sides, so we are supporting efforts to connect underserved entrepreneurs in these areas with the capital and networks essential for success. One example is the expansion of the Women’s Business Development Center’s ScaleUp program — which delivers business services, mentorship, technical assistance and access to capital to female entrepreneurs — into the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

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Financial Health

We are supporting efforts such as The Resurrection Project (TRP), which is helping Chicago families through personalized financial coaching and asset-building services like Lending Circles. Through our support, TRP has served nearly 2,000 individuals — including 150 families who have collectively saved $180,000 in lending circles — with an average improved credit score of 28 points and an average increase in savings of $2,227.

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Neighborhood Revitalization

Alongside private and public partners, JPMorgan Chase is making investments to drive more inclusive growth in Chicago. For example, as part of our Partnership for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods (PRO Neighborhoods) initiative, JPMorgan Chase is supporting The Chicago Collaborative, a partnership between three community development financial institutions (CDFIs): Community Investment Corporation, Chicago Community Loan Fund and Neighborhood Housing Services. To date, The Collaborative has preserved nearly 600 units of affordable housing and is also providing capital to help potential homeowners and investors rehabilitate formerly vacant properties in low-income communities.

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Jobs and Skills

Chicago is home to growing industries with high demand for middle-skill jobs, yet clearly many Chicagoans are not being equipped with the right skills and credentials to get on these well-paying career paths. We are supporting efforts to change that. One example is a robotics technician training program operated by Building Self Determination (BSD) Industries, a subsidiary of the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation. In addition to a $500,000 investment, a team from our JPMorgan Chase Service Corps skilled volunteerism program put its expertise to work to help BSD strengthen its financial model and operations.

We are also expanding the size of The Fellowship Initiative (TFI), our firm’s national program to prepare young men of color for college and career success. The first class of 39 fellows in Chicago graduated in 2017, with 100 percent high school graduation and college acceptance rates. This year, the number of Chicago fellows will grow to 60.

Students at Fast Lane Automotive

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Partnership Spotlight

Applying our Integrated Approach in North Lawndale: Students at Fast Lane Automotive, part of NLEN’s diesel mechanic training program, learn the ins and outs of engine maintenance.

North Lawndale was once a thriving home to industry, but today more than 43 percent of its 40,000 residents live in poverty and a quarter of working-age residents are unemployed. In this neighborhood, JPMorgan Chase is working with our partners to create greater economic opportunity.

For example, we are partnering with the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) to provide local residents with a tangible pathway to a well-paying career — while also helping build a pipeline of trained mechanics for Chicago’s growing transportation sector. With support from JPMorgan Chase, NLEN is expanding its Moving Forward program, an eight- to 12-week rail and diesel mechanic training program run in partnership with the Chicago Transit Authority. The program focuses on formerly incarcerated individuals, who face particularly challenging barriers to employment.

In collaboration with Accion Chicago, a nonprofit community lender, we are also giving North Lawndale’s small businesses a boost. Accion Chicago closed nearly 400 loans in 2017. In addition, we are helping empower North Lawndale residents to manage their daily financial lives. For example, our support allowed Mercy Housing Lakefront, a nonprofit provider of safe and affordable housing, to begin offering financial coaching for over 180 families living in the area. Mercy is helping its residents to build assets, repair credit and meet their individual financial goals.

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