Jacques: New investment to grow opportunity for Detroiters

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is returning to Detroit Wednesday with some good news for Detroiters. 

The banking giant is announcing a new $50 million investment in the Motor City that builds off the $150 million commitment it’s already made in Detroit since 2014. 

Detroit has proven a model for the company’s community philanthropy, and the success of money invested here has spurred similar programs in other cities, such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Paris. 

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, left, and Mayor Mike Duggan have partnered on the company’s investments.

“Obviously we are thrilled with the progress we’ve seen,” says Peter Scher, JPMorgan’s head of corporate responsibility. “We wouldn’t continue to invest if it didn’t look like we were having an impact.”

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That impact has largely been directed to affordable housing initiatives, small business development and job training -- and most of it has specifically helped city residents who are still struggling despite the comeback of downtown.

This new investment, which will be a mix of gifts and low-interest loans, will have a similar mission. 

“The disparities are still wide in the black community,” says Scher, who will also be in Detroit for the announcement. 

The company cites a recent study from Detroit Future City, which found only a quarter of city residents are considered middle class. Detroit also ranks at the bottom of the largest 50 cities for its share of middle-class residents.

Through its philanthropy, which includes significant collaboration with local civic leaders and nonprofit groups, JPMorgan Chase wants to help cut through existing barriers to opportunity. 

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, left, and Mayor Mike Duggan both stress the importance of collaboration.

The latest $50 million will head to four main areas that have proven effective the past five years:

  • Improving access to home ownership and affordable housing through work with community partners: $20 million 
  • Boosting black entrepreneurs: $12 million 
  • Investing in job training and the future of work: $10 million 
  • Building on financial health initiatives, including access to financial counseling: $8 million 

Dimon will appear Wednesday at two different events with Mayor Mike Duggan, who has worked closely with JPMorgan Chase, along with other officials involved. The events will take place at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Randolph Technical High School, which is part of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

“Too many people are being left behind, and we need to build an economy that works for everyone,” Dimon said in a statement. “Our new investment in Detroit will help the system work for more people – giving more Detroiters access to the tools they need to succeed, stay and benefit from Detroit’s continued recovery.”