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.
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.
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.
“Boeing has a long history in Chicago, and we’re proud to be engaging in this important conversation with JPMorgan Chase so we can effectively address the issue of unemployment impacting our local communities. Driving innovation and investing in workforce development in the Chicagoland area is key to this effort — we are proud to lend our resources to help.”
“By bringing together a broad coalition of civic, corporate and community partners to create jobs and invest in neighborhoods, we can drive change that will last for generations. Today we have the opportunity to build a powerful coalition with JPMorgan Chase that will create economic opportunities in communities across Chicago.”
“Central to our firm’s model for driving inclusive growth is the recognition that solving community challenges requires collaboration among partners. Our efforts in one West Side community with many existing strengths — including strong leadership, untapped talent and valuable transit infrastructure — illustrate what this integrated model looks like in practice.”
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.