By Steve Daniels, chicagobusiness.com
JPMorgan Chase wants to do for Chicago’s South and West sides what it has begun to do for Detroit. The nation’s biggest bank, and also the largest in Chicago, is committing $40 million over the next three years to help rebuild and re-energize parts of the city torn by violence and unemployment.
The program, announced today, is modeled on a larger-scale effort Chase began three years ago in Detroit. There, the bank committed $100 million to a comprehensive program to address Detroit’s economic woes. Earlier this year, Chase boosted that pledge to $150 million to build so-called affordable housing, fund small businesses and train workers.
Chicago is the next chapter in a wholesale revamping of the $250 million Chase spends globally each year on philanthropy. Instead of the traditional, wide-ranging civic support that companies of Chase’s size traditionally have offered, Chase CEO Jamie Dimon decided five years ago to focus nearly exclusively on creating economic opportunity in parts of the country that are badly lagging. “We’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work,” said Peter Scher, Chase’s head of corporate responsibility, in an interview.