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US-based financial firm JPMorgan Chase & Co stated on Thursday that it will be expanding its philanthropic investments in Chicago’s South and West sides, in an effort to open economic opportunity to restore some of the city’s neighborhoods.

The bank said that it plans to invest $40 million over three years in the areas that would be able to support key drivers for a wide-range economic development in Chicago, such as small business assistance, real estate development, and jobs training program.

The three-year plan by JPMorgan is its second largest commitment to a particular city since Detroit, with a 50 percent boost to the firm’s contributions in Chicago, the bank on average has invested about $8 to $9 million per annum.

In fact, the nation’s largest financial firm already did the first part of the $40 million investment.

Back in August, it made a two-year commitment worth $500,000 in Arthur M. Brazier Foundation, a non-profit organization in Chicago, where it aimed to expand economic prospect through robotics technician training and support program.  

The firm’s investment initiative is formed in the image of its renewal program in Detroit in 2014, where it initially invested $100 million for five years to revitalize the economy, and which is showing promising results so far.

The encouraging results also had the bank announcing in May that it will be raising its overall investment in Detroit to $150 million by 2019.

JPMorgan Helping Chicago with its Economic Struggles

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Economic growth is the company’s way of trying to deal with the city’s poor condition and violence as they saw that the lack of opportunity was the main reason for Chicago’s gun violence, intensive poverty, as well as continuous racial and economic discrimination.

In order to accomplish this, JPMorgan will be needing support from strong local partners, preferably non-profits that have good relationships with local businesses and political leaders.

The bank’s head of corporate responsibility Peter Scher stated that if they are working well together already, then they could concentrate on helping them with the skills that they have.  

The city’s overall economic struggles may seem not as much as Detroit’s but the South and West sides of it have been under pressure for decades due to the same problems, such as redlining policies by banks which kept minority homeowners and small business owners from getting loans.

Manufacturing sector fell in the city as well, while unemployment rate of above 30 percent was one of the most serious conditions that hit its neighborhoods. The widespread gun violence is the worse out of Chicago’s economic issues and it is the most severe incident in some areas where unemployment is highest.

JPMorgan’s chief executive Jamie Dimon said that it is on them to step up, collaborate with government and the community to create solutions where they have the resources as well as the expertise to offer.

Dimon also hoped that their investment will help the city and make opportunity available to every citizen in Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also stated that by combining civic, corporate and community partners to invest in neighborhoods will create change that will last for a long period of time.

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