JPMorgan Chase & Co. is continuing its COVID-19 relief efforts, this time with a huge commitment to small businesses and residents in Dallas.
Today, the global financial services company announced it has committed $670,000 to those hit hardest in the area from the pandemic—specifically female entrepreneurs and those in danger of losing transportation to get to work. JPMorgan Chase said in the announcement it hopes the philanthropic investments will stabilize the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
“We are making investments to support vulnerable Dallas residents so they can continue to provide for their families in this time of crisis,” Susie Leinbaugh, head of Chase Business Banking in Dallas, said in a statement. “JPMorgan Chase has a long history in DFW. We are committed to standing with our employees, our customers, and our community in tough times.”
Here’s how the money was distributed:
• Supporting Small Business: $450,000 went to JUST, a nonprofit that supports female entrepreneurs to create more resilient communities in Dallas and Austin.
• Financial Health: $150,000 was given to On the Road Lending, a Dallas-based financial nonprofit that helps people improve credit, avoid predatory lenders, and purchase fuel-efficient, reliable cars with low-interest loans.
• Jobs and Skills: $50,000 to assist in technology needs for interns through Dallas-based Education is Freedom and $20,000 to Dallas-based Per Scholas so it can deliver remote workforce training to students.
JPMorgan Chase was motivated in part by research done by the JPMorgan Chase Institute. It found that 46 percent of Dallas small businesses are operating with 14 or fewer cash-buffer days. Another study showed that new woman-owned small businesses in Dallas earn around 58 percent of the revenues generated by those that are male-owned.
JUST, for instance, provides low-income, hardworking women access to capital, coaching, and a supportive community. The intent is to alleviate poverty by helping women grow stronger businesses, build confidence, form better money habits, and increase their social capital. It’s a learn-do model: Beyond the repayment of a loan, JUST’s improved client outcomes will lead to its entrepreneurs increasing their savings.
The nonprofit moved into Dallas in the fall of last year with numerous local partners, including the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. At the time, CEO and Co-founder Steve Wanta told us he was on a mission to rewrite the “story of opportunity” in Texas, one woman at a time.
But, the COVID-19 pandemic caused more than 80 percent of JUST’s clients to lose all sources of income.
JUST initially responded by creating an emergency relief & recovery fund, which was seeded by $200,000 from JPMorgan Chase—a move that Wanta said “catalyzed the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts.” He and his team were able to make 470 interest-free, $1,000 emergency loans to help families throughout this time.
Wanta told us last year JUST’s model was very much an in person program: “Problems like poverty we believe are fundamentally human problems that require human solutions,” he said. “So as much as we use technology, we think the real magic is people meeting with people.”
With the health outbreak, JUST realized it needed to offer a hybrid of that model. That’s why JPMorgan Chase invested the additional $250,000 for JUST to build a digital solution.
“It is hard to overstate the critical role played by JPMorgan Chase to stand alongside JUST and our entrepreneurs,” Wanta said. “Their rapid response and significant philanthropic investment allowed us to get hundreds of thousands of dollars into the hands of our clients even before stimulus checks would arrive. They define what it means to be a partner.”
With On the Road Lending, which makes affordable car loans and provides financial coaching resources, JPMorgan Chase aims to help those who are struggling with unemployment or loss of income. More than 85 percent of the nonprofit’s borrowers work for small businesses that have been hit by the economic crisis, causing many to find alternative sources of income. This makes a car a key asset for recovery.
“We are working with these borrowers to keep them in their cars and are helping them avoid the devastating consequences of lost income, lack of access, and deteriorated credit,” On the Road Lending CEO Michelle Corson said in a statement. “Funding from JPMorgan Chase is helping them keep their cars, which is an important lifeline for accessing employment, healthcare and healthy food.”
This isn’t JPMorgan Chase’s first big commitment to North Texas, though.
Last October, The Real Estate Council Community Fund received a $6 million investment from JPMorgan’s Partnerships for Rising Opportunity in Neighborhoods program. Then, in November, JPMorgan committed more than $1 million to support military veterans in North Texas.
Dallas-Fort Worth houses one of JPMorgan Chase’s tech centers, where the majority of technology work gets done in support of the business. CTO Lori Beer previously told Dallas Innovates the company was bullish on the local tech center’s success over the next year, even saying that Dallas is critical to the company’s overall strategy.
“We are just so delighted to have such a significant presence in Dallas, and we see that continuing to grow,” she said. “That is tied back to the way we can align with our communities the scalability of talent, the growing tech ecosystem we see in Dallas—it’s incredible for us to be there.”
JPMorgan Chase has around 12,400 employees in Dallas-Fort Worth; it’s one of the region’s top employers. There’s a world-class campus at Legacy West in Plano, and last year, construction began on a 2-story building in Plano to expand employment.
“We are proud that our firm has been well equipped to quickly step up and provide significant resources and support because we entered this crisis in a position of strength,” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon wrote in a memo to stakeholders. “This is a direct result of the actions and investments we’ve made over many years to build a strong, resilient company. We believe it’s our responsibility to be there for the people who rely on us in times like this.”
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