JPMorgan pledges $40 million to Chicago for economic growth in underserved areas

Robin Cousins Chicago

The New York bank is funding projects to revitalize neighborhoods and promote job training and economic growth

JPMorgan Chase has pledged $40 million over three years to Chicago to fund projects in under-served communities in the city's South and West sides.

Jamie Dimon, the bank's chairman and chief executive, said in a recent interview with CNBC that "not every citizen shares equally in the city's economic growth." The money will go to support projects that boost economic and job training opportunities and revitalize neighborhoods.

In a statement, JPMorgan said, "A lack of opportunity is a root cause of Chicago's gun violence, concentrated poverty and persistent racial and economic inequities."

This is the second Chicago investment that JPMorgan has announced in just over a month.

In August, the bank made a $500,000 two year investment in the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation to help expand Chicago residents' access to economic opportunity through a robotics technician training and support program.

The $500,000 was the first part of the $40 million investment announced Thursday.

JPMorgan makes about $250 million in annual philanthropic investments globally. It recently increased an existing charitable grant to Detroit, where it has now pledged $150 million on loans and grants for community development projects, workforce development and small business expansion.

"It is on us – leaders in business – to step up, collaborate with government and the community and develop solutions where we have resources and expertise to offer. We believe in Chicago's future and are hopeful our investment will help the city thrive and make opportunity available to every Chicagoan," said Dimon.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "Today we have the opportunity to build a powerful coalition with JPMorgan Chase that will create economic opportunities in communities across Chicago."

JPMorgan, through a variety of mergers, has a long history in the Windy City. Dimon spent seven years of his career in Chicago as CEO of Bank One before it merged with JPMorgan in 2004.

Some have wondered whether the 61-year-old executive has political ambitions. On Tuesday, at CNBC's Delivering Alpha conference, CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Dimon about the extra time he was spending in Washington, where Dimon chairs the Business Roundtable.

Dimon said, "I think a lot of business people have said you have to get more involved. You can't advocate all this kind of stuff, you know, without thoughtful policy. And I really believe it."

He added he believed he "should try to help the President be successful."

"I don't understand the concept that somehow you don't try to help the citizens of that country when you're asked to help."

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