Part II: Corporate Investment and Volunteering Help Fuel Detroit’s Renaissance

This is the second in a three-part series about how investment and volunteering are supporting Detroit’s urban renewal. Read part one here.

One year ago, it was clear there was an urgent need to help Detroit’s economy, it’s residents and businesses needed to recover. That’s why JPMorgan Chase made a five-year, $100 million investment in the city. Over the past year, we’ve seen the impact our investment has made and how it’s supporting other efforts to fuel the city’s comeback. It’s an investment that is leveraging all of our resources, capabilities and the expertise of our people to help create economic opportunity.

As the city recovers, it’s clear that nonprofit organizations are providing invaluable support to the city and its residents. They are providing critical services, everything from job training to housing services. But many of these institutions in Detroit—and across the United States—face tremendous challenges acquiring the expertise, data, workers and other resources they need to achieve their missions. Fortunately, corporations are realizing the important role of nonprofits and are investing a wide range of resources to aid their effectiveness.

This month, JPMorgan Chase will send its second team of 12 top performing executives from several lines of business and locations, including New York, London, Mumbai and Taguig City to work with local Detroit nonprofits to help them improve operations and better serve the community. Each team will lend their expertise in accounting, finance, debt management, business strategy, and operations to help the local organizations.

The Detroit Service Corps will be divided into three sub-groups and each group will work with one of four Detroit organizations: Youth Development Commission, The Eastside Community Network, Accounting Aid Society of Detroit and the Detroit Land Bank Authority. All of these nonprofits work to address some of Detroit’s most pressing issues, including access to personal finance assistance, blight reduction and workforce development. This year teams will be asked to solve a wide variety of problems including analyzing ways to increase earned revenue for a community network, expanding capacity to help connect the city’s youth aid organizations, and evaluating accounting software to integrate inventory of abandoned proprieties.

One JPMorgan Chase employee who participated in the last year’s three-week Service Corps program was familiar with Detroit’s past. Will Harbaugh grew up just 30 minutes outside of the city and worked there for five years at the beginning of his career. For Harbaugh, now an Executive Director and Global Business Manager for JPMorgan Chase who lives in New York, Detroit still holds a very special place in his heart.

Together, Harbaugh and his team members, Erin Robert and Fernando Eyzaguirre, delivered a set of recommendations to Michigan Community Resources (MCR) in order to frame MCR as the gold standard in data gathering and governance and help other local nonprofits adopt similar practices. The team also provided technical assistance for urban planning and better ways to connect nonprofits to one another in Detroit.

MCR’s CEO, Jill Ferrari, left the experience extremely satisfied with the team’s work and remarked that they were able to provide an invaluable perspective to the organization’s work in Detroit from the lens of an investor, which helped shape MCR’s product so that it can be used effectively by nonprofits to attract new businesses.

This is just one example of the impact the Detroit Service Corps is having on the city’s comeback. In the months and years to come, JPMorgan Chase will continue to send groups of dedicated, top-performing employees from around the globe to help Detroit’s nonprofit community tackle blight, aid community development and facilitate small business growth.

It also demonstrates that our commitment to Detroit goes beyond just writing a check. We’re enabling employees to use the skills and expertise they have acquired to help Detroit, while developing leadership skills that will serve them well in their careers.

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