Credit: Daily Dot
To many, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is the company they turn to for their banking. The company achieved the titles of the largest bank in the United States and the sixth largest in the entire world through a series of acquisitions over the past century, making them a dominating force in the world of banking. But with such a large company, there are bound to be problems.
The company has been a part of their fair share of scandals in just the past fifteen years. In November of 2009, J.P. Morgan was charged to fulfill a $722 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The settlement was established to put an end to a probe of derivative sales that pushed Birmingham, Alabama nearly to the point of bankruptcy. This lawsuit was only one of over a dozen that were filed against the company in 2008 and 2009. In July of 2014, 83 million customer accounts were hacked in a brutal cyber-attack, and was not settled until mid-August. These problems (among others) led to a distrust for the company.
The Art of Giving Back
But in spite of their improprieties and business complications, the company has done some good for this nation. The bank’s philanthropic organization, the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, has assisted in boosting the economy and growing communities since its inception. This is their mission—to enable citizens to contribute to the rewards of the growing economy.
The foundation believes that “reducing inequality and creating widely-shared prosperity requires collaboration of business, government, nonprofit, and other civic organizations, particularly in the cities and metropolitan regions that power economic growth.”
To achieve this goal, the foundation makes investments and creates partnerships with others in the pursuit of four priority areas: jobs & skills, small business expansion, financial health, and neighborhood revitalization. The effort to reduce poverty and increase opportunity in urban areas began when the foundation made a $100 million, five-year commitment to the city of Detroit. The donation has allowed businesses to flourish, and the Detroit’s Entrepreneurs of Color Fund to triple in size.
Their work extends to rebuilding the West and South Sides of Chicago. In recent years, artist Theaster Gates has been making monumental strides with his Rebuild Foundation by revitalizing Chicago’s South side. The Rebuild Foundation is responsible for opening a number art facilities and initiatives established to inspire the black community. J.P. Morgan Chase recently donated $300,000 to assist the Rebuild Foundation’s renovation of the St. Laurence School, which will be used to provide a space for artists, education programming, and a number of other resources.
“Artisan entrepreneurs on Chicago’s South Side have the talent, drive, and innovative ideas they need to succeed—and now they also have the space and institutional support that all entrepreneurs need,” Gates says about the donation. “We’re thrilled to partner with J.P. Morgan Chase to bring life-changing, hands-on training and mentorship to small business owners in this part of the city.”
Working for More
While upwards of $25 million a year is quite the substantial donation, it is only a minute portion of the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation’s philanthropic efforts. The foundation donates an average of $250 million a year, and that number is planned to increase to $1.75 billion over the next five years. With the huge gains mega-corporations such as J.P. Morgan Chase are making with a new tax bill, the foundation plans to give back to the world in massive ways.
Donating their own funds is a large part of the foundation’s goal, but J.P. Morgan also hopes to foster philanthropy in others. For those looking to give back to their own communities, J.P. Morgan serves as a resource for grant applications. It can be difficult to start a charitable organization with a lack of funds, and J.P. Morgan hopes to offset some of that cost. Individually, we can’t fix the world, but together we can join forces to help each and every community, animal, or individual that needs it.