JP Morgan Chase donates $40M to South, West sides

Thursday, September 14, 2017
JP Morgan Chase donates $40M to Chicago's South and West sides
JP Morgan Chase announced it will be investing $40 million over the next three years in Chicago's South and West sides.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- JP Morgan Chase announced Thursday it is investing $40 million into Chicago's South and West sides over the next three years.

JP Morgan Chase invested $100 million in Detroit, revitalizing the city after its financial collapse. That donation stands as the bank's largest financial commitment to a city, and Chicago is now its second largest.

The money gives hope to those communities and the entrepreneurs in them.

In South Shore, Majani was once a dream and is now a reality, serving up soulful vegetarian cuisine.

"It's been a dream come true for us, seeing the dining room fill up and folks here laughing and enjoying each other. It's priceless for us," said Chef Tsadakeeyah.

It's possible because of JP Morgan Chase, which finances small business loans through a nonprofit called Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, or CNI.

"When no one else believed in us, CNI believed in us. And we are forever grateful for that," Tsadakeeyah said.

"We provide loans to small businesses up to $50,000 and our capital comes from banks. And in our situation, JP Morgan was one of those banks," said Erica King, Chicago Neighborhood Initiative.

JP Morgan Chase officials sat down Thursday with Chicago organizations, discussing where $40 million will go over during the next three years. There are four areas of concentration.

First, the money will help prepare students and adults for jobs. At Instituto, which Chase has backed for more than a decade, there are several programs including job training.

"Trust us, we can give you the tools and resources to improve the well-being of your families. And that's very important," said Alex Garza, interim president and CEO of Instituto.

The other three areas are investing in neighborhoods, creating financially healthy families by teaching them about finances, and growing small businesses.

"With each of the investments we'll track how many people are getting trained, how many people are getting employed, how many small businesses are growing their businesses, and importantly, hiring from the community," said Whitney Smith, JP Morgan Chase.

In other words, investing in the community and the community's dreams.

"It's just a pleasure to be able to serve our community," said Chef Nasya, Majani.

"If you have the ability to pursue your dreams and have the financial ability, it's priceless," Tsadakeeyah said.

Chase has invested in Chicago for years, generally about $8 million a year. This latest investment reflects a 50 percent increase.

It's not just about the money; Chase employees are on boards and volunteer in some of these projects as well.