AFP Interview Series: Nominee JPMorgan Chase

The United States’ largest bank is investing millions in the future of Detroit


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For 80 years, JPMorgan Chase has funded millions into the revitalization of Detroit, supporting the longevity of Motor City’s landmark establishments during financial hardships. Today, the multinational investment bank is focusing on the future by backing the ever-growing community of food entrepreneurs and technology startups. We spoke with John Carter, JPMorgan Chase’s Michigan Market President, about their future financial endeavors, including the $150 million-dollar contribution to Detroit Recovery Program, which aims to provide help to those suffering from a number of health issues. JPMorgan Chase’s investments have not only grown Detroit’s small businesses and emerging market, but have also drawn in outside financial contributors and created a united mission to rebuild Midtown. 


Give Detroit: How has JPMorgan Chase's partnership with Southwest Solutions benefited Detroit?

John Carter: Our association with Southwest spans many years and projects. On the left side of the city, Southwest has been the closest and most strategically aligned community partner JPMorgan Chase has had for more than a decade. Because of this relationship, we have been able to contribute to the revitalization of the southwest Detroit community, which is advanced, but much like the rest of Detroit, remains a work in process.

With a $500,000 contribution to the Property U.S. Detroit Program, how will this investment change the landscape for small and growing businesses in metro Detroit?

The pillars of our investment for the past five years are focused on the development of small business activity in Detroit. JPMorgan Chase’s contribution is a continuation of the effort to make this community more vibrant and successful. In the last 18 months, we formed the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, which specifically targets small micro businesses that are started by minorities and have entrepreneurial instincts. The program has grown dramatically, as we’ve funded nearly 60 small businesses — with more than half of them being women-owned, two-thirds of them being located in neighborhoods — and have created 1,000 jobs. We're really proud of that.

JPMorgan Chase began contributing to the Detroit Recovery Program in 2014 and later in 2017. What progress have you seen so far in your efforts and what are your goals for Detroit in 2019?

JPMorgan Chase has contributed $50 million in economic development funding, donations, and grants to community development financial institutions. In turn, these institutions have attracted almost another quarter billion dollars of capital for the projects developing throughout the city. Concerning small businesses, JPMorgan Chase has assisted over 2,000 entrepreneurs, and provided job training and skill development for over 15,000 young adults. The five-year anniversary of our commitment to invest $150 million comes up in May of 2019. We've been in Detroit for 80 plus years as a responsible corporate citizen. We're intending to expand our efforts in 2019 and beyond.

Prior to Detroit Startup Week, and the Detroit Startup Conference in June, JPMorgan donated $1 million to Midtown’s tech startup TechTown for their Retail Boot Camp Program. Does JPMorgan Chase believe Detroit could become a hub for technological development?

There’s an abundance of technological entrepreneurship happening in Detroit, so much that it has become an area concentrated with startups. In Detroit, there is technology sure to be integral to the future of many industries, including our transportation businesses, universities, and healthcare systems. The whole concept behind Boot Camp is endorsing the next phase of our economy, and we're seeing a lot of ideas that are promising for the near and far future of Detroit. In some respects, the city is already a technological center; our engineering talent is some of the best in the world.

JPMorgan Chase has funded millions in Eastern Market, a quintessential space to the landscape of Michigan. Why does JPMorgan Chase believe it is as important to invest in Detroit's older landmarks as it is to build the emerging market?

To date, we've invested $2.5 million in Eastern Market, and last week, we announced that we will be donating another $1 million. Much of our share has been directed toward Shed 5, and more specifically, the Commercial Kitchen. One of the burgeoning industries in Detroit is food and food services. As we continue to evolve into a culinary destination, our community of food entrepreneurs grows. Many times, the biggest hurdles for these individuals is acquiring the necessary equipment to prepare food. The Commercial Kitchen is essentially a shared resource that allows them to produce their product.

While the Commercial Kitchen is a programmatic investment, JPMorgan Chase views Eastern Market as one of Detroit's gems; it's the oldest wholesale food distribution operation in the United States. Our backing is entrepreneurial and growth-oriented because we see a new industry emerging, an industry that can employ a lot of Detroit citizens.

JPMorgan is contributing $25 million to Invest Detroit, with efforts focusing on developing the early stages of real estate projects. Do you believe Detroit will continue to draw in new residents?

With Invest Detroit, we've made subsequent investments that have leveraged our top dollars — those being the piece of the capital structure in many of our projects.  JPMorgan Chase will continue to be an investor in Detroit, and in turn, we will help draw capital to other projects.

What is JPMorgan Chase’s vision for the future of Detroit?

In addition to conducting business in Detroit for 80 years, we have been leading corporate citizens. JPMorgan Chase sees Detroit as a very iconic place that has nurtured and developed a number of significant things in our country, starting with the Civil Rights Movement, Motown, the Arsenal of Democracy, and the auto industry. The vision we have is not to recreate the Detroit that existed 60 years ago, but to be part of the redevelopment of a very dynamic, special place that was one of the great cities in the United States.  

What does the Outstanding Corporation Award mean to you and JPMorgan Chase?

We're honored to receive the award because we know it is an important recognition. What I would say, what my company would say is we stand on the shoulders on a lot of other wonderful corporate citizens in this town who have made meaningful and significant commitments like we have. This is a very prideful community and we have deep loyalty to the way we believe our city should.


For more information, visit jpmorganchase.com


Related: AFP Interview Series: Nominee Detroit Feedback Loop

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